Tag Archives: DNR

Will the gray wolf, an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process?

Image of gray wolves credit Voyageurs Wolf Project http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

In the latest round of gray wolf delisting news, a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. The plaintiff’s complaint states:

The Department of Natural Resources refuses to comply with
unambiguous state law requiring it to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. This refusal violates the constitutional and statutory rights of hunters throughout the State of Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court order DNR to obey the lawful commands of the Legislature that created it and immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping wolves.

The state law the complaint refers to is 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states:

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. 

A recreational hunt is not in the best interest of people or gray wolves.

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Thus, the DNR is mandated by the law to manage a wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  The plaintiff’s want the DNR to immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping on wolves. And hunters get use dogs to track and trail wolves. That’s bad for gray wolves. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves..

Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season. On Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board met virtually for a special meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. The public was invited to weigh in and the following was my comment on it.

Hunters want to run their dogs on wolves during prime breeding season.

January and February is prime breeding season for wolves. As a volunteer Wisconsin DNR wolf tracker I’ve witnessed how wolves behave this time of year. Holding a wolf hunt during this time would be disastrous for grey wolves and the wolf hunter’s dogs. Here’s why. During January I’ve followed wolf tracks and witnessed the entire wolf pack moving along the border of their territory

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Following wolf tracks in January revealed how they behave during breeding season. Every member of the pack followed the alpha pair as they scent marked along the road. The road was a mile long and the alpha pair scent marked every tenth of a mile. At the end of the road I found a tiny snow-covered pine sapling with rust colored urine on it. The rust colored urine indicated the alpha female was in estrus. A tracker knows that sign reveals wolves are in prime breeding season. All of these signs from the alpha pair took place on the border territory indicating this was an aggressive act meant to declare territory.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if you threw wolf hunters into the mix running their dogs on wolves during wolf prime breeding. I’m against this, and I’m sure other Wisconsinites, if given the facts about grey wolf prime breeding season, would not be in favor of a hunt at this time of the year either.

Senator Rob Stafsholt, a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, is pushing for an immediate wolf hunt.

Rob Stafsholt has become a representative, and now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district and is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement  Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt. So now instead of accepting the NRB decision a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc has filed a lawsuit to immediately open a wolf hunt in February during prime breeding season. I asked Collette Adkins what she thought of the lawsuit.

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

 

Furthermore, the The Plaintiff, Hilgemann, President and CEO and a member of Hunter Nation, “would like to exercise his constitutional and statutory rights to hunt wolves…” Lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc.

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

But what about the rights of the volunteer DNR wolf trackers? Trackers count wolves during the winter months.  What will happen to wolf trackers when hunters run their dogs thru the woods at the same time? How can trackers get an accurate count if a hunter”s dogs disperse wolf packs? 

The Biden administration ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s delisting of gray wolves.

Just one week after President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily asserted today that the previous administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org press release.

Is the lawsuit frivolous, baseless and without merit; not worth the judges time?

In the end, it is up to a judge to determine whether or not the plaintiff’s case is baseless or not. Will an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process? Will DNR get to update the wolf management plan allowing the public to weigh in?

Update as of 02/15/21 a judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation Inc’s lawsuit and the ruling ordered DNR to open a hunt immediately. The NRB just opened a wolf hunt starting on 02/22/21 setting a quota at 200 wolves. The following is part of my interview with WPR. Click the listen now button in the link: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1761701

In short, a more inclusive, scientifically sound, culturally sensitive and publicly supported wolf program would be much more likely to garner success in removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Adrian Wydeven, Good stewardship is key to removing wolf from endangered list

Public is Invited to Comment at a Special Natural Resources Board Meeting: As GOP Legislators Push to Establish a Trophy Wolf Hunt

Photograph credit John E Marriott

This Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Im a wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, was glad to hear the DNR is holding off on a wolf hunt. WPR I oppose a recreational hunt on wolves because we have to take a look at the species and manage the species for its health. I would like to see an updated wolf management plan that includes broad public input along with an updated survey on public attitudes toward wolves. And so would many Wisconsinites. Wisconsin’s Green Fire released a report outlining its recommendations for wolf management. Source.

The following news article is from Wisconsin Public Radio 

Adrian Wydeven, a former DNR biologist, now serves as co-chair of the wildlife work group for Wisconsin’s Green Fire. He said in a briefing on the report before the DNR’s announcement that the group is proposing the agency maintain the wolf population.

“Until a new wolf conservation plan is in place, we encourage (them) to maintain the population near current levels, which are estimated to be between 866 to 1,034 wolves,” said Wydeven. 

He said it’s important the wolf population not be drastically reduced until a new management plan is developed.

Fellow group member, Peter David, a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said during a briefing on the report that they’re also making recommendations that the state have separate wolf committees and wolf stakeholder groups in the development of a wolf management plan.

“That’s really in the best interest, I think, of the Wisconsin public,” said David. “It also, frankly, I think, serves the tribes better to separate out some of the best science recommendations and those social recommendations and keep those distinct from each other until some sausage has to be made with them in the end.”

The group is also recommending changes to state law to ensure the agency has authority over the wolf harvest and wolf management. They also want to ensure that tribal rights and interests are considered in management plans since the wolf is culturally significant to Wisconsin tribes.

Wisconsin hunters killed 528 wolves in the three seasons a hunt was held in the state before the animal was placed back on the endangered species list.

In the following, press release from WDNR, the public is invited to submit comments.

Press Release from Wisconsin Natural Resources Board announces special meeting Jan. 22

Contact: Laurie Ross, NRB Board Liaison
Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov or 608-267-7420
DNR Office of Communications
DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually on Friday for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021.

The virtual meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, originating from the Public Meeting Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-2 as listed on the agenda.

The public can watch the Special Meeting via Zoom here. If the meeting is at capacity and you are unable to join, the Special Meeting will also be livestreamed here.

Although the public will not be allowed to attend the meeting in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public is encouraged to participate. The deadline for remote public appearance requests and written comments is 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

Please submit written comments on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021 here. More information on how to testify before the Board is available here.

The NRB will also meet virtually for the upcoming board meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 to consider several proposed emergency rules and donations. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7-8 as listed on the agenda. More information is available here.

Snare Traps Indiscriminate Killers, Land Mines Concealed in the Wilderness

…Snare Trap is a device concealed underground and baited with tantalizing attractive scents capable of causing great suffering for its victims. A male Timber wolf in northern Minnesota became the latest victim of a snare trap. He became caught in a snare trap meant to catch and ensnare small game. The snare meant for small game, became wrapped tightly around the muzzle of the male wolf. Can we even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that occurred as a result of this man-made killing device. How could the male wolf have known the tantalizing scents concealed a land mine known as a snare trap and set in his home range. The more an unsuspecting woodland creature tries to pull out of the device, the more the noose tightens around the body part caught in the trap. Certain death from starvation became the fate of the male wolf as the noose became tightly wrapped around his mouth. Several people saw the male wolf north of Duluth Minnesota, and tried to help.

I spoke with a volunteer at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation out of Duluth, Minnesota. They said, “several people saw the wolf and tried to help him.” The Wildwood’s volunteer told me Kelly Looby was able to get within a few feet of the wolf, a photographer, even making eye contact with him. She kept following the wolf, but he seemed very wary of humans, and disappeared and reappeared several times.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

Wildwoods reported the wire snare was wrapped tight around the wolf’s nose, and embedded into the nose. He clearly could not open his mouth at all. The male wolf was very thin, as was told to them by volunteer and eyewitness Kelly Looby.

“He might have been able to lick up some snow and sniff roadkill, but he had not been able to eat,” a volunteer from Wildwoods said. “He had been starving, and was a skeleton of fur and bones.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

No one knows how long the male wolf suffered. He was first sighted near Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior’s North Shore earlier in the week, then north of the city in Duluth Saturday February 10th. Wildwoods reported they just didn’t have the equipment needed to catch him. Many people tried to catch him but he was too fast.

In the end the Duluth police made the heart wrenching decision to put him down at 2 pm Saturday afternoon. Wildwoods was able to examine the wolf. They reported that underneath his thick winter coat he was skin and bones.

“Humans caused the initial pain and suffering of this beautiful wolf by creating the snare, and in the end taking his life to end his suffering.” said Kelly Looby.

Photo courtesy of Wildwoods

Wildwoods told me they were able to gain the equipment, a net gun, through donations after this tragedy. With this net gun they will be able to capture and treat victims of snare traps in the future.

“Snares are cruel trapping devices, causing pain, injury and death. Animals caught in snares can suffer from grotesque swelling and hemorrhaging of the head, can be hanged to death by jumping over a nearby fence or branch in a desperate attempt to escape, and can suffer from exposure, dehydration, and starvation. Snares are grossly indiscriminate, capturing any animal of the right height or size unlucky enough to pass through the snare – including pets, imperiled wildlife species, deer and raptors.” ~Melissa Tedrowe HSUS Wisconsin State Representative

Minnesota DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook states the following: Snares may be used by licensed trappers for taking all species of protected wild mammals that may be taken by the use of traps. In the forest zone, snares are allowed on public land and on private land with permission of the landowner.

Take action to ban snare traps in Minnesota

Howling For Wolves Wolf Day at the Capital 2018 in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

When: Wednesday, April 11

Where: Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul, MN

In 2017, Howling For Wolves successfully passed legislation which approved funding for, and the establishment of, Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention grants administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This program allows applicants to receive reimbursement for the cost of using nonlethal methods which protect the lives of both livestock and wolves.

In 2018, with your active prescence and actions, a ban on all wildlife snaring can become law in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

We are talking to Minnesota politicians and rallying for the wolf at the State Capitol. Our goal is to protect the wolf for future generations. This is a FREE event.

Volunteers are needed before and on Wolf Day. Write us at volunteer@howlingforwolves.org to join the pack!

RSVP here that you will attend the Wolf day. This is important for us to know you will come, so we can plan in advance.

Howling For Wolves supports current state legislation that would eliminate recreational snaring of all wildlife: House File 2160, authored by Representatives Fischer, Loon, Kunesh-Podein, Rosenthal, Ward, Slocum, Allen, Dehn, R., and Hornstein and its companion bill, Senate File 1447, authored by Senators Hoffman, Wiger, and Dibble.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul – hope you like what you see.” ~Aldo Leopold

Photos used in this story courtesy of Kelly Looby and photo of dead wolf credited to Wildwoods.

Second Hunting Hound Killed in Black Bear Pursuit Training

Eighteen days into the 2-month-long period for training hunting dogs to pursue black bear in northern Wisconsin, the WI DNR confirmed that a Plott hound hunting dog had been killed by wolves in Ashland county, Wisconsin as the bloody dog-on-wolf conflict continues.

From July 1st through the end of August, hounders are allowed to train their dogs to pursue free-roaming wild black bear. The WI DNR posts wolf caution areas when there has been a conflict with wolves on public land. There is an interactive map that allows anyone to see the locations of verified wolf conflicts from 2013 to the present day. Bear hounders are urged by the DNR not to run their hounds through these areas. Yet some hounders, abreast of the latest information, continue to run their dogs through these wolf caution areas.

Caution Area is established to warn hunters or others who may be recreating in an area where conflicts between wolves and a dog or group of dogs have been documented. Individuals accessing these areas are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train or hunt wild game with dogs or allow pets to run off leash, especially in areas where multiple conflicts have been documented. From the WI DNR website

Wolves often use the same den sites from year to year. Wolf pups are born in April and are only 2-3 months old when bear-hounding training begins. Wolf pups usually spend most of their days near the den site or a rendezvous area. Wolves are protective of their families and see other canids, coyotes and dogs, as threats to their pups. Running hounds through known wolf den or rendezvous areas needlessly endangers the lives of both the hounds and the wolves.

Wisconsin Wolf Depredation program compensates hounders $2500 if one of their hounds is killed by wolves during the bear hounding training and hunting periods, even if hounders run their dogs in the wolf caution areas posted by the WI DNR. Wisconsin is the only state to compensate hound hunters for their dogs. In 2016, compensation was paid out for 37 bear-hounding dog depredations. A few anti-wolf politicians claim this was due to the increase in Wisconsin’s wolf population, but wildlife biologist, Adrian Wydeven, points out that in 2012, when the wolf population was similar in numbers to 2016, there were only 7 hounding dog depredations.

Dog owners are reminded to exercise caution in wolf occupied areas, especially those using their dogs to hunt. Conflicts between hunting dogs and wolves are most common during the bear training and hunting season. From the WI DNR website

Why the drastic increase in hound depredation payouts in 2016? Perhaps the loosening of regulations regarding bear baiting and hunting. In 2015, Wisconsin eliminated the class B bear license, allowing an unlimited number of residents and non-residents to participate in bear baiting, running hounds on bear, and pursuing bears. Also, hunters can bait bears 6 months out of the year – April 15th through the end of bear-hunting season in the middle of October. No one knows how many hounds are running through the forests or how many bait stations are set out in the north woods.

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Wisconsin residents, wildlife, and hunting dogs deserve better. It’s time to demand that our politicians practice humane treatment of wildlife using best available science in policy.  It’s even better to remove politicians from making natural resources decisions.

For more information on new research about baiting of Wisconsin’s Black bear go to: Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin

Who’s really to blame for the conflict between bear hunters and wolves in Wisconsin’s north woods? 

Why the name “Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin?”During Wisconsin’s wolf recovery years I helped monitor wolves as a volunteer winter wolf carnivore tracker in Douglas County Wisconsin. I’ve been helping with wolf recovery since 1998. I’ve witnessed the conflict between bear hunters and wolves while radio trapping wolves in the Chequamegon national forest. They’ve hated wolves for decades, and I’ve seen how this sport wears on the people & wildlife living in the north woods. Common sense dictates that; if bear training & hunting license requirements are removed conflicts occur between dogs and wolves. That’s a fact as plain as the nose on your face. If you run dogs on bear through wolf rendezvous sites; conflict will happen. Wolf pups are three months old when bear hunters start running their dogs on bear starting July first. 

On July first, the unregulated training of dogs running on bear begins. It’s a battle between bear dogs and wolves in the north woods of Wisconsin. 

But politicians spin the bloody-dog-on-wolf-fights as a wolf problem. 

Common sense dictates otherwise; bear hunters backed by political & special interests are the main cause. For decades I’ve witnessed how bear hunters, running dogs, take more and more advantage; it’s time to take a thorough accounting of this cruel sport and demand accountability. Who’s really to blame for the conflict between bear hunters and wolves? 

Help Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin legislatively remove this problem before more bear hunting dogs lose their lives. 

wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com 

Photo by John E Marriott 

Graphic by WODCW 

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Winter wolf monitoring 2016-17 meeting scheduled for June 8th

WDNR public wolf count meeting for reporting the results of the winter monitoring period has been scheduled. Information is below.
 
Date – June 8th, 1:00-3:30pm
 
Location – 4700 Rib Mountain Dr, Wausau, WI
 
Content – The Wildlife Management Program will provide information collected during the 2016-17 wolf monitoring period

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin will be in attendance at this important meeting. 

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee is not fair and balanced 

In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process. 

Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014 

At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014

I was was interviewed on June 2014 regarding DNR secretary kicking off wolf hunt opponents Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. She later said she didn’t care for Stepp’s remarks.

“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee meets once a month to recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog

One of Secretary Stepp’s hand picked WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee Members is Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA) Earl Stahl. Stahl is for delisting wolves and holding a wolf hunt. 

On 12/26/16 Stahl made his stand clear in a Opinion Editorial for the Wisconsin State Farmer “Wisconsin agreed to the original delisting of wolves with the understanding that the population would be capped at 100. The delisting allowed wolves to migrate from Minnesota and the U.P. in spite of the fact that the Wisconsin DNR documented wolf packs in the state in the 1960s and late 1970s.” Earl Stahl 

Seems clear to me that this DNR Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee member, Earl Stahl, thinks wolves are a problem and they only way to manage them is with a wolf hunt.  This is how DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp manages an endangered species. There is no transparency in Secretary Stepp’s DNR Wolf management process. 


Please write to or make a phone call to WI DNR secretary Stepp: 

Email Address: DNRSecretary@Wisconsin.gov 

Primary Phone:

(608) 266-2121

Secondary Phone:

Work Address:

101 S Webster Street 

Madison, WI 53703

Work Mailing Address:

PO Box 7921 

Madison, WI 53707-7921

Ask secretary Stepp to include the public in Wisconsin’s Wolf Management. Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Wolf recovery began in Wisconsin during the late 1970s. Wolves do not need to be hunted to manage them.  Bring back transparency in wolf management. 

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Featured image by John E Marriott photography

Opinion Editorial: Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals…

A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity...According to an Opinion Editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal Read on:

Stop payouts to bear hunters for dead dogs

Wisconsin State Journal editorial

Here’s an easy assignment for state lawmakers who oppose wasteful spending and who favor personal responsibility: Stop paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to irresponsible bear hunters whose hounds are killed by wolves.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals. A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity.
So far this year, a record 28 hunting dogs have been killed by wolves, the State Journal just reported. That could cost the public some $70,000 in unjustified payments. And bear season is just beginning.
Most of the dogs that have been killed were being trained for hunting on public land. Owners release their dogs to track and chase bears up trees, where the bears can be easily shot.
That’s not much of a challenge, which is why most hunters don’t use dogs to tree bears. Bear hunting with dogs is expensive and cruel to the animals that are hurt.
Wisconsin has more than doubled the number of bear hunting licenses it issues over the last decade. But only 10 percent to 15 percent of the bears taken from the woods were killed by hunters using dogs to tree them, according to the DNR.
That begs the question: Why does Wisconsin even allow bear hounding. Many states don’t.

State wildlife experts aren’t sure why more dogs are being killed this year. Wisconsin’s wolf population has grown, but not significantly in the areas where the dogs are being attacked.
Wisconsin has relaxed its hunting regulations. A license is no longer needed to train dogs in the summer, which is when wolves are raising their pups. That may cause wolf packs to be more aggressive about protecting their territory and young when they spot a hunting dog nearby.
Another factor is Wisconsin’s liberal law on baiting bears. While some states limit baiting to 30 days a year, Wisconsin permits the practice for about 145 days.
Besides killing hunting dogs, some wolves have attacked livestock. In total, about 58 domesticated animals (including the dogs) have been killed or injured by wolves this year, mostly in northern Wisconsin.
The state compensates farmers for lost livestock at market value. That seems fair, since farmers aren’t creating the conflict, and the cost is less than for dogs. The DNR, for example, reimbursed a farmer $800 for a calf last year.
Despite some difficulties, the return of the wolf to Wisconsin after near-extinction is welcome. The DNR counted nearly 900 wolves last winter. The wolves help control deer and other animals that damage crops, and they restore ecological balance to our forests.
The state shouldn’t pay hunters who lose hounds to wolves after disregarding rules and the DNR’s advice. The Legislature should stop the offensive payouts to a minority of bear hunters who don’t deserve compensation for risky behavior.

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Featured image John E Marriott Photography
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Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is working to legislatively ban bear hounding in Wisconsin for more information and how you can help click HERE 

Wild Animals Belong In Our Hearts & Minds

Lack of ethical science in our government wildlife agencies is prevalent today more than ever. Or is it? Is there science in wildlife management?  Is this science lacking empathy for the creatures they manage? Let’s look at the leading expert of chimpanzee behavior, Dr. Jane Goodall, who refused to call her subjects by a number. Dr. Goodall gave every single chimpanzee she observed a name and refused to call them an it. Please take a minute and view the video on this topic called, “Being With Jane Goodall”

Our government agencies that are in charge of wildlife lack empathy. This is true, because how else can they justify the millions of wild animals they have removed or harvested in the name of management. Government wildlife technicians have some sort of wildlife degree that quality them to do the work. But are they expected to act with a lack of empathy in order to manage these wild animals? They view these wild animals as non-beings and refer to them as it’s for the purpose of management.

It’s a cold reality and never more apparent than in today’s conservation ethic. This is obvious with our WDNR allowing wolves to be chased down by large packs of free ranging dogs with out any rules, regulations and little or non existent enforcement. Wolf hounding is not only barbaric, it takes us back to a centuries old method of killing wolves; that has no place in a civilized society. In Wisconsin they quite literally throw dogs to wolves.

Wolves, a once endangered species is now relegated as an it, and harvested as a game animal without any thought of them as a sentient-being with a family. Where did this cruel attitude towards wild animals start? This has been considered the norm for far too many decades and even for centuries.

The following is one widely accepted definition of wildlife conservation.”Wildlife conservation is an activity in which people make conscious efforts to protect earth’s biological diversity. Does managing for biodiversity mean that human beings have the right to manage other beings as things to “harvest?”

“Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold, “A Sand County Almanac.”

The land ethic is a community, that we all care about and live in. Wild animals are sentient-beings, that live within communities just like human beings do. Using the word  harvest is a way to psychologically remove the emotional responsibility; for killing a living breathing being.

Ethical Hunting has been used as a method to feed our families for centuries, but that has changed in today’s society. Hunting in today’s world has become recreational, for fun and entertainment. Hunting is now just something to; do out of doors, and  in nature to recreate. This is all managed by our government agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Managements Division that; have become hardened & cold towards the lives of the creatures they are suppose to be conserving.

Our government agencies go through the motions of acquiring scienctic knowledge but they lack the emotional integrity to fully apply the science. And this becomes “the heartless” anti-wildlife management we see today.
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The photo is a postcard from Dr. Jane Goodall sent to me in 1998 in response to a letter I Sent to her regarding Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program. 

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