Tag Archives: endangered species

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is asking for public comments regarding the next steps to establishing an early wolf hunt.

Wisconsin gray wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually on Monday for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin for February 2021.

Deadline For Written Comments: 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14 Please submit written comments here.

There’s a lot of problems with starting a wolf hunt right now in February. That’s in the middle of the wolf breeding season. That’s never been done before.”

Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

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. On Thursday February 11th a Jefferson county judge sided with pro wolf hunters and ordered the WDNR, NRB to open a wolf hunt immediately. There will be an appeal. But in the meantime, with a couple weeks left in February before the wolf hunting season ends, will there be time to set a quota which must be approved by the Natural Resources Board along with public input. Thus will the attempt to usurp the democratic process by a few disgruntled pro wolf hunters fail?

Colette Atkins is an attorney with the Center for Bilogical Diversity, based in Arizona. The group filed an amicus brief in support of the DNR’s decision to hold off on a hunt until next fall. Atkins told WPR it’s unfeasible and potentially impossible for the DNR to do the work of implementing a wolf season within the next 17 days.

“(The DNR) committed to having a wolf hunt in 2021 that would start in November,” said Atkins. “The Legislature made a conscious decision to have that start in November. There’s a lot of problems with starting a wolf hunt right now in February. That’s in the middle of the wolf breeding season. That’s never been done before.”

Please submit written comments here on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Requests for public testimony will not be accepted. The deadline to submit written comments is 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

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.

Rachel Tilseth WDNR Volunteer Wolf Tracker & founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

The following is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 12, 2021
Contact: Laurie Ross, NRB Board Liaison 
Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov or 608-267-7420DNR Office of Communications 
DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board 
Announces Special Meeting Feb. 15

Deadline For Written Comments:
11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

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

The virtual meeting will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, 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.

Please submit written comments here on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Requests for public testimony will not be accepted. The deadline to submit written comments is 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

The NRB will also meet virtually for the upcoming board meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 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.

Wolf Management: Can Wisconsin get it right this time around?

First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice,… One of the guiding principles of Compassionate Conservation

Photograph credit John E Marriott

That’s the million dollar question many Wisconsinites are asking. Will Wisconsin get it right this time around? The grey wolf was officially off the Endangered Species List on January 4, 2021 and pro hunt legislators and hunters began the push to re-establish a recreational wolf hunt in February 2021! Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for thier brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted NO to an early February wolf hunt.

The following is from NPR article on today’s NRB hearing.

Board member Marcy West questioned whether a hunt would be worth risking the state’s relationships with tribes and other organizations, as well as state management of the wolf. 

“I just really have a concern that we have to prove right now that the state is credible in managing the population,” said West. 

Much of the concern discussed by the board revolved around the state’s obligations to Wisconsin tribes.

Representatives of the Red Cliff, Menominee, Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River and Lac du Flambeau tribes urged the board not to hold a wolf hunt this winter. Several referenced a 1983 court ruling known as the Voigt Decision that affirms tribal rights to hunt, fish and gather in ceded territory under treaties with the federal government. Under the ruling, the state must consult with tribes on natural resource management.

“In making any decision about wolves, the department must abide by the requirements to consult and collaborate with the tribes as set forth in court decisions and agreements,” said Mic Isham, executive administrator with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Tribal officials said the hunt would have a detrimental impact on the wolf population in Wisconsin. Tribal members, including Red Cliff tribal elder Marvin Defoe, said they view the wolf as a brother and that the animal is significant to their cultural and religious practices. 

Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild… —Compassionate Conservation Ethics. Born Free Foundation

Watch the Wisconsin’s DNR Natural Resources Board special meeting. This is the webcast of the January 22, 2021 special meeting of the Natural Resources Board. To the right are links to this month’s Board agenda and the Board website. Below is a list of each item on this month’s agenda. To view the webcast for a specific agenda item, click on the text for that item, then scroll up if needed and click the X in the upper right corner. The Natural Resources Board and Department of Natural Resources are committed to serving people with disabilities. If you need Board information in an alternative format, please email or call: Laurie J. Ross, Board Liaison Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov 608.267.7420 — Read on dnrmedia.wi.gov/main/Play/731c92f70bb84be69b8f69ef1ccbb99c1d

Wolf recovery in Wisconsin began in the late 1970s, and after almost forty years, is still ruled by aggressive hunting conservation policies of; kill-them-to-conserve-them.

“Increasing human tolerance of large carnivores may be the best way to save these species from extinction,” said co-researcher William Ripple…Also, more large protected areas are urgently needed for large carnivore conservation.”

Just how bad is it?  

Six of the world’s large carnivores have lost more than 90% of their historic range, according to a study, BBC News. The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, was carried out by Christopher Wolf and William Ripple of Oregon State University. Range Contractions of the World’s Large Carnivores. Victor, a tiger freed from a poacher’s snare by WCS and government response team specialists, is released back into the wild. Photo by John Goodrich, WCS. Siberian Tiger Project. The researchers say re-wilding programmes will be most successful in regions with low human population density, little livestock, and limited agriculture. Additionally, regions with large networks of protected areas and favourable human attitudes toward carnivores are better suited for such schemes.”Increasing human tolerance of large carnivores may be the best way to save these species from extinction,” said co-researcher William Ripple.

Grey wolves were hunted in 2013 by the use of dogs. Wisconsin is the only state the allows hunters to track and trail wolves with dogs.

“Also, more large protected areas are urgently needed for large carnivore conservation.” When policy is favourable, carnivores may naturally return to parts of their historic ranges. BBC News

Wisconsin’s political-atmosphere regarding favourable policy is lacking; even down-right-hostile in its management of wolves. 

In Wisconsin, there are roughly around 1000 wild wolves sharing the landscape with people in the northern & central forest areas. Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBA) continues to push for a trophy hunting of wolves. In 2015 WBA worked at Loosening regulations for bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods.

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. In 2017 $99, 400.00 was paid for hounds killed in pursuit of bear, 2016 training & Hunting season, according to the Wisconsin annual wolf depredations payout summary. Did the Wisconsin wolf depredation program reimburse bear hunters who knowingly ran their hunting dogs through WDNR wolf caution areas

Considering the decades of conflict between bear hunters and wolves; is this becoming harassment of an endangered species. Isn’t this illegal? Especially when they are listed as an endangered species?

In January 4, 2021 the Grey wolf became officially off the ESL. Delisting of Wisconsin’s wild wolf means certain death for this iconic predator, as Wisconsin is the only state that allows hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wolf hounding fact sheet.

Fresh off the ESL Wisconsin’s grey wolf was brutally hunted , trapped and chased down by wolf hunter’s dogs in 2012-2014 until a federal judge ordered them back on the list.

Conservation of large carnivores over the last century has been one of: kill-them-to-conserve ethic. An example of this conservation policy Wisconsin law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 169; “If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department 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. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.”

Wisconsin’s large carnivores are being aggressively managed through hunting policies that are impacting black bears. In a research paper “Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore” Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin. This consumption of human food subsidies, baiting, is negatively impacting the black bear population in Wisconsin. An estimated four million gallons of bait is dropped in Wisconsin’s forests by bear hunters starting in April through mid September.

A young black bear cub at a hunter’s bait.

The researchers found that: “Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. Long-term supplementation can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity. Further, Wisconsin, humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. Researcers’ findings emphasize the need to understand what effects conservation and management strategies that feature human subsidies can have on wildlife, particularly how they alter behavior, population sizes, and demographic parameters.” 

Wisconsin, humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting…

One of the pro wolf hunt legislators pushing to re-establish the hunt was interviewed in a Wisconsin Public Television Show in 2010 regarding conflict between bear hunters and wolves

Is it possible to move conservation policy from a killing to conserve to a compassionate ethic? There’s a movement towards compassionate conservation that I hope Wisconsin can adopt. Compassionate conservation policy developed by Born Free Foundation “Guiding principles; First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice, and an acknowledgement that invasive interventions may harm individuals, populations, and ecosystems. Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild and in captivity Valuing all wildlife as worthy of conservation effort, whether native or introduced, whether common or rare, and regardless of perceived usefulness to humans.” 2017 Compassionate Conservation Convention is Being held in Sydney, Australia on November 20-24, 2017.

Wolf recovery in Wisconsin began in the late 1970s, and after almost forty years, is still ruled by aggressive hunting conservation policies of; kill-them-to-conserve-them.  Isn’t it time for Wisconsin’s wolf management plan to move forward into a new age; that supports increasing human tolerance of large carnivores. 

Trophic Cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.

Preview – Ma’iingan: Brother Wolf

This new film from Wisconsin Public Television captures enduring spiritual connections with Brother Wolf, the lasting bonds and responsibilities shared between native people and the wolf species, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the reintroduction and protection of the animals across reservation lands. Click here to view film on PBS website

People & Wolves Talk Show Presents: The Grey Wolf is a Part of Wisconsin’s Wild Legacy Series

A Wisconsin grey Wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to an estimated one-thousand grey wolves that are living throughout the northern & central forests. People & Wolves Talk Show will be presenting a series about the history of the grey wolf in Wisconsin. The shows will include several segments, that include: the history of the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program, the grey wolf and the endangered species act, wolf delisting & Wisconsin legislature’s mandated wolf hunt, the volunteer wolf tracking program and present day grey wolf issues of concern. People & Wolves Talk Show host Alexander Vaeth and producer Rachel Tilseth are excited to begin production!

People & Wolves Talk Show “We educate so you can advocate.”

The series about Wisconsin’s wild grey wolf will be livestreaming from People & Wolves Talk Show Facebook page.

People & Wolves Talk Show works with dedicated professionals to document the conscious relationships between People & Wolves. People & Wolves Talk show shares stories of people working to coexist with wild wolves. Wild grey wolves are now struggling for survival worldwide. People & Wolves Talk Show works with filmmakers, scientists, academics, journalists, writers, fine artists, Wildlife photographers and musicians, that share a common interest to produce, to share educational stories of People & Wolves.

This week the Trump Administration announced plans to remove endangered gray wolf protections by end of the year.

Photograph credit: photographer David Yarrow “Wolf-in-Chicago” theme.

This has been anticipated by several organizations, including Wisconsin’s Green Fire , that held a webinar last week. The webinar program featured a trio of expert panelists envisioning a future for wolves in Wisconsin. Panelists: Adrian Wydeven, WGF Wildlife Co-Chair; Jodi Habush Sinykin, Midwest Environmental Advocates; Peter David, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, “Opportunities for Collaboration: A Shared Vision for Wolves in Wisconsin by Wisconsin’s Green Fire http://www.wisconsingreenfire.org

Don’t panic jet yet, instead get educated; Because there are organizations Such as Wisconsin’s Green Fire , that are working to protect Wisconsin’s wild gray wolf and bring science & citizen input back into wolf management.

There is a law on the books from the Walker Administration 2011 Act 169 that mandates a hunt on gray wolves when they are not listed.

Don’t despair just yet, because this isn’t the Walker Administration anymore where; Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves known as wolf-hounding. There’s a new administration now. Under the Evers’ administration the WDNR values science & citizen input. Listen to Wisconsin’s Green Fire webinar to find out more.

There are ways to circumvent Act 169 and bring back transparency & citizen input in Wisconsin’s wolf management.

There’s work to be done! As with dirty politics there’s always extremists, fringe hunters and politicians at the ready, causing misinformation for their personal gain. Listen to scientific experts! We will be presenting the facts through our People & Wolves Talk Show. Listen & join the conversation.

Stories of People & Gray Wolves Talk Show & Media

A Wisconsin Gray Wolf. Photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin.

Since we are talking about sharing stories of people & wolves I’ll share one of my memories. I spent every summer & winter as a volunteer wolf tracker, helping to monitor Wisconsin’s Gray wolf under the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Recovery Program. Every chance I got, in between my teaching job, I went north to Douglas county Wisconsin to track wolves. One summer, just before dusk, I spied several turkey vultures roosting in trees beside the road on the edge on the cedar swamp. So I parked my car far away so I wouldn’t disturb the roosting vultures. I was curious as to why so many vultures were roosting together. This could mean there was a carcass near. I headed over to the spot where the vultures were roosting. As I approached there was the distinct smell of rotten flesh, and the sound of bones being crunched. These sounds were of gray wolves munching on bones and hidden by trees on the edge of the cedar swamp. That was a fantastic find. I don’t remember the exact year, maybe if my memory serves me right, I could estimate that it was around the year 2008.

The Gray wolf is a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy!


Our blog is at: http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Authors

Author and founder Rachel Tilseth

Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, filmmaker and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors. More about Rachel at Meet the Filmmaker

Author Brunella Pernigotti

I live in Turin, Italy. I’m a teacher, a writer and a photographer. I published a novel and a book of tales and have to my credit about ten one-man exhibitions of photos. I’m a member of the board of a no-profit association of Turin, “Tribù del Badnightcafè”, that organizes cultural and artistic events. Besides I created a group of volunteers to help women who are victim of domestic violence.Brunella Pernigotti

Author Lindsey Botts

Author Lindsey Botts
Lindsey is a wildlife enthusiast, conservationist, and outdoor lover. He aims to tell stories about the intersection of society and nature with the goal of showcasing how conservation can help both live cohesively.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media & Film’s mission is to bring our readers news that is factual and accurately reported; News that is unbiased and fact-checked for accuracy.

People & Wolves Talk Show: We educate so you can advocate.

We work with dedicated professionals to document the conscious relationships between People & Wolves. We share stories of people that are working to coexist with wild wolves, that are now struggling for survival worldwide. We work with filmmakers, scientists, academics, journalists, writers, fine artists, Wildlife photographers and musicians that share a common interest to produce and share educational stories of People & Wolves Talk Show.

Brunella Pernigotti is our People & Wolves Host in Italy

Foto Antonio Iannibelli italianwildwolf.it

I can tell that only after two years of useless hikes made at 4 am, often with a temperature of -17 degrees Celsius, I could see my first wolf. ~Maria Perrone

Meet our newest People & Wolves Talk Show Host USA

People & Wolves Talk Show (P&WTS) is live-streamed on Facebook. P&WTS will be producing more shows soon. Keep up to date on here wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com and on our Facebook pages.

https://www.facebook.com/Talk-Show-di-persone-e-lupiLupi-Italiani-364159360973889
https://www.facebook.com/heartofwolfadvocacyfilmproject

People & Wolves Talk Show will also be livestreaming from YouTube as well as on Facebook.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media & Film’s mission is to bring our readers news that is factual and accurately reported; News that is unbiased and fact-checked for accuracy.

People & Wolves Talk Show

We educate so you can advocate. We work with dedicated professionals to document the conscious relationships between People & Wolves. We share stories of people that are working to coexist with wild wolves, that are now struggling for survival worldwide. We work with filmmakers, scientists, academics, journalists, writers, fine artists, Wildlife photographers and musicians that share a common interest to produce and share educational stories of People & Wolves Talk Show.

The Gray wolf is a part Wisconsin’s wild legacy! Let’s add worldwide to that statement!

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin TM (WODCW) was founded by Rachel Tilseth in 2011 to bring education and awareness for promoting wolf recovery.

WODCW Blog: http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Email Address: wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com 

Founder: Rachel Tilseth

WODCW is copyrighted 2011

Federally Protected Gray Wolf Illegally Shot & Killed in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Wardens are on the case investigating the illegal killing of a Gray wolf. The Gray wolf in the photograph was found dead on a driveway in Washburn county on February 22, 2020. So far all that is known is the wolf was shot and killed on private property. Gray wolves in Wisconsin are a federally protected endangered species . If you have any information related to this crime please call the WDNR’s tip line 1-800-847-9367 to confidently share your information.

Gray wolf was illegally killed and found by David Sohns on his driveway in Town of Springbrook, Washburn County on February 22, 2020. Photograph by David Sohns and shared on Facebook.


People convicted of killing a federally protected wolf can face up to six months in jail and/or a $25,000 fine, according to the WI DNR . Penalties can include the loss of a hunting license.


Wisconsinites remain heavily divided over how to manage state’s Gray wolf population.

This is a comprehensive look a Wisconsin’s wolf management problems. Adrian Wydeven, a retired Wisconsin wolf biologist, and Adrian Treves an ecologist weigh in on how badly the state legislators, in haste, jumped to a wolf hunt In 2011; instead of allowing a democratic process that would have involved public input to unfold regarding wolf management. In the end, these legislators created a one sided wolf management plan based on wolf hunting. And Mike Wiggins chairmen of the Bad River tribe discusses what the wolf means to indigenous peoples. I recommend you read the entire article before jumping to conclusions. Because of course there are some anti wolf opinions included.

Article reposted from www.wisconsinwatch.org

As wolves recover, calls in Wisconsin to end endangered species listing grow
Conflicts with farmers and hunters continue as the state’s wolf population has risen from extinction in 1960 to more than 900 animals today

By Rich Kremer (Wisconsin Public Radio)

A Wisconsin wolf photo credit USF&WS

Nearly 60 years after gray wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin, the population has rebounded dramatically, to more than 900 in the state. But the conservation success story has turned into a nuisance for hunters, farmers and others whose animals are increasingly encountering wolves — with deadly consequences.

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues. Sign up for our newsletter for more stories and updates straight to your inbox.

In November 2018, wolves killed Laurie Groskopf’s 11-year-old hunting dog in Oneida County. That was nine years after wolves killed another of her dogs.

“These animals were trailing bear at the time, and one was trailing bobcat,” Groskopf said. “They were attacked by wolves without any provocation and killed. And for us, it’s been really, really traumatic.”

Wisconsinites subsidized Groskopf’s loss. She received $5,000 through an obscure Department of Natural Resources program that compensates animal owners for losses to wolves. But Groskopf said the payments — $2,500 for each dog — could not make up for the loss of pets she treated as family.

Article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

Nearly 60 years after gray wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin, the population has rebounded dramatically, to more than 900 in the state. That is thanks to decades of protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to hunt or harm listed species.

But the conservation success story has turned into a nuisance for hunters, farmers and others whose animals are increasingly encountering wolves — with deadly consequences. That is why some are calling for the federal government to delist wolves and resume legal hunting.

Groskopf has lost two hunting dogs to attacks by gray wolves, which the federal government lists as an endangered species in the western Great Lakes region. She said $5,000 in payments from a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wolf damage compensation fund could not make up for the loss of animals she treated as family.
“I would say to people who are against controlling the wolf numbers, ‘What gives you the right to decide that my life is going to change substantially because you think wolves belong in my neighborhood?’ ” Groskopf said.

The wolf encounters are running up a tab on taxpayers. Over 34 years, the DNR has paid $2.5 million and counting in damage payments to hunters and livestock owners. Meanwhile, the compensation program appears to be falling short in one of its goals: making hunters and farmers more tolerant of wolves to reduce illegal killings of the protected animal.

The DNR has documented at least 260 illegal gray wolf killings since 1985, including 10 between April of 2018 and April of this year.

People convicted of killing a federally protected wolf can face up to six months in jail and/or a $25,000 fine, according to the DNR. Penalties can include the loss of a hunting license.

Those wanting to legally hunt the animal could get their wish. President Donald Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year proposed lifting endangered species protections for wolves, calling their rebound “one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history.”

But Trump faces opposition from some conservation and animal rights groups that argue wolf populations have not recovered enough to survive hunting. And even if he succeeds in lifting protections, Wisconsin will continue to pay those who lose animals to wolves. That is because a 1999-2001 budget amendment enshrined the payments in perpetuity — regardless of wolves’ protected status.

Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford, Wis., is photographed on May 28, 2019. The state paid him $400 for a wolf-ravaged calf that would have otherwise fetched up to $900 on the market. “I’d rather see that money going toward management and control rather than buying a dead animal because we’re paying for it with our taxes,” he said.
Even some of that program’s beneficiaries question its usefulness.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

“I’d rather see that money going toward management and control rather than buying a dead animal because we’re paying for it with our taxes,” said Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford. Johnson said the state paid him about $400 in 2014 for a wolf-ravaged calf that would have otherwise fetched between $700 and $900 on the market.

The debate is only the latest in the ever-changing — and sometimes confusing — history of wolf management in Wisconsin and beyond. And it comes as Wisconsinites are divided on wolf issues.

Mike Wiggins, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission board member and chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said his community sees the wolf as a brother whose fate is intertwined with the community’s.

“And it’s been pretty remarkable to see their return,” he said. “I’ve probably had four or five occasions to see wolves in the wild, and it’s just an amazing, thrilling kind of occurrence that lights up the land, lights up everything with electricity. It really is a wilderness kind of experience, and it’s a gift.”

A 2014 DNR survey found that residents held attitudes toward wolves that were more favorable than unfavorable — by a small margin within wolf range, and by a larger margin outside the wolf range in northern and central Wisconsin. The survey also found that a majority supported a regulated hunting and trapping season.

Wolves declared extinct

Gray wolves have roamed Wisconsin since the glaciers melted about 10,000 years ago — coexisting with Native American tribes that highly respected the hunting animal, according to the DNR. As many as 3,000 to 5,000 wolves were here when the state’s European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, but that would not last. Wisconsin offered a bounty on wolves from 1865 to 1957, spurring widespread hunting that decimated populations.

By 1960, wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin; similar trends played out in other parts of the country.

Groskopf said wolves are everywhere she hunts and trains her dogs. She operates a website, Wisconsin Wolf Facts, to raise awareness of the problems she said wolves have created for farmers and hunters.
In 1974, the Fish and Wildlife Service added gray wolves to the list of federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act. By 1980, the DNR counted a fragile population of just 25 wolves in northern Wisconsin, as a few packs moved in from across the Minnesota border.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

The animals’ listing status has since changed repeatedly, often in response to legal challenges. And the federal government allowed Wisconsinites to hunt wolves earlier this decade.

On Jan. 27, 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the list of endangered species in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and parts of adjoining states. That also allowed the killing of wolves attacking livestock. The same day, Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill to create a wolf hunting season.

While wolf hunting advocates supported the bill, retired DNR wolf researcher Adrian Wydeven called the bill “egregious” because it mandated a season structure and methods for hunting wolves, including allowing the use of dogs to track them. He said traditionally the Legislature gave authority to DNR to create those types of rules through a lengthy, public rulemaking process.

“I think it was kind of like legislative overreaction that we finally get a chance to control this wolf population,” Wydeven said. “We’re going to do it as intensely as possible while we can do it.”

Mike Wiggins, chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, speaks during a public meeting at Northland College in Ashland, Wis., on Sept. 25, 2019. His community considers the wolf a brother. “And it’s been pretty remarkable to see their return,” he said.
The hunt drew opposition from animal rights groups and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which represents tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Wiggins, of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said he wanted to sue, but ultimately, the commission chose not to litigate.

Wisconsin held wolf hunting seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014, until the federal government re-listed wolves in the western Great Lakes area as endangered following a federal court ruling. In those years, hunters killed 528 wolves, according to the DNR. Another 176 were killed through the renewed authority to use lethal force in response to attacks on livestock and other domestic animals.

If Trump succeeds in removing wolves from the protected list, hunting would again be allowed in Wisconsin, Scott Walter, a DNR large carnivore specialist, said in an email. But it would not happen right away. The agency would need to draw up state rules such as creating quotas and a permit application process, he said.

Damage payments begin

Although wolves rarely attack humans, an ancient fear of the predators persists among some people.
In 1983, the state established an income-tax checkoff that allows residents to donate to support federally protected species. It earmarked 3%, or up to $100,000 a year, to pay for damage caused by wolves and other animals under federal protection.

Wisconsin doled out its first wolf damage payment in 1985. A Douglas County farmer received $200 for killed sheep. Two years later, the state paid $2,500 for a hunting dog named Ranger, the first payment for “personal property” under the program.

Retired DNR section chief Randy Jurewicz said the idea of paying for hunting dogs was hotly contested within the agency.

“Paying for livestock made a lot of sense to almost everybody,” Jurewicz said. “These are animals that are being raised, being sold, it’s the Wisconsin way of life, and that made sense.”

Compensation for dogs killed by wolves was controversial, he said, in part because some believed hunters were knowingly putting their dogs in harms’ way.

“What kind of ruled was the fact that we had so few wolves in the state that, really, just a little bit of real serious negative feelings toward them would have eliminated them,” he said. “People just would not have tolerated them.”

DNR wildlife biologist Brad Koele now administers the wolf damage payments. After struggling with determining the market value for each dog, he said the agency set a limit of $2,500, which Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association president Carl Schoettel described as “fair and appropriate,” adding, “It is devastating for a pet owner to have their companion viciously eaten by wolves.”

To date, payments have averaged $2,324. The DNR paid a total of $806,451 for hunting dogs as of Oct. 3.

To limit dangerous interactions between wolves and dogs, the DNR offers an interactive map showing areas where dogs have recently been killed.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

But Groskopf said wolves are everywhere she hunts and trains her dogs. Groskopf operates a website, Wisconsin Wolf Facts, to raise awareness of the problems she said wolves have created for farmers and hunters.

“Eventually, there’s so many of them that you’re going to run into them,” she said.

The goal of the payments was, in part, to build tolerance among farmers and hunters for the increased wolf population. But illegal killings continued. A 2018 study by DNR research scientist Jennifer Stenglein found 9.4% of all radio-collared wolves were illegally killed between 1979 and 2013.

Adrian Treves, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, thinks the DNR has undercounted the number of illegally killed wolves. In 2017, he co-authored a study that found up to 37 percent of wolves the DNR reported as being killed by vehicles had metal fragments consistent with gunshot wounds. Wydeven disagreed with that finding.

Although wolves rarely attack humans, an ancient fear of the predators persists among some people. Treves said lifting federal protections and allowing lethal control would send a “policy signal” to would-be poachers that they could kill wolves without consequence.

Wolves rebound; new rules written

In anticipation of a federal push to remove wolves from the Endangered Species List, the DNR released a wolf management plan in 1999 that set rules for trapping, relocating and killing wolves that attacked livestock and pets once the state assumed management authority.

If wolves were to be delisted, it also meant farmers, pet owners and hunters would stop getting payments for animals killed by the formerly protected predators. But that budget amendment, introduced by former state Sen. Kevin Shibilski, D-Stevens Point, ensured the reimbursements would continue.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year proposed lifting endangered species protections for the animal, calling its rebound “one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history.” Courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
“I don’t remember how or even whether I authored and introduced an amendment,” Shibilski said. “But I certainly remember the debate, the ongoing conversation about how we live with wolves on the landscape.”

Shibilski, a former bear hunting guide, said the wolf damage payments are about safeguarding wolves.

“If you don’t behave responsibly and reimburse people for actual losses, you risk enabling bad actors out there, vigilante wildlife managers who are trying to kill predators wantonly and end up raising all kinds of havoc in our wolves, and that’s been happening,” he said.

Shibilski pointed to an incident this spring in which a wolf, three dogs, coyotes and other wild animals were killed by poisoned meat scattered throughout Florence, Marinette and Bayfield counties. Authorities investigated the poisonings, but no charges have been filed.

Livestock losses continue

Of the $2.5 million in damage payments, Wisconsin has paid more than $1.3 million for cattle, calves and missing calves — sums that have increased as wolves rebounded.

Farms that see the most wolf-livestock conflict tend to be located near large blocks of public land like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, according to Dave Ruid, a supervisor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services program, which investigates such livestock killings.

Michigan also pays for missing calves on farms with confirmed wolf attacks, but Minnesota does not.

Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford, Wis., shows a photo of a calf that wolves killed in 2014. “There wasn’t much left of it — the head and the two front shoulders, and everything else was gone.”
But the majority of DNR’s livestock payments did not require physical proof that wolves killed the animal. Under DNR rules, farmers who have had livestock killed by wolves can also get paid for any additional missing calves beyond the expected annual 2.3% mortality rate.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

In 2011, the DNR issued a record 257 missing calf payments, with 103 of those going to members of the Fornengo family, who raise beef cattle in Burnett County. The family, which declined comment, filed missing calf claims with the DNR under Fornengo Cattle Co. and T&T Ranch between 2009 and 2019. The DNR later enacted a rule that limited livestock producers to no more than five missing calf claims for every confirmed kill — but it was only in effect for two years.

As of October, the DNR paid nearly $720,000 for missing calves throughout the program’s existence, with $239,865 going to the Fornengo-owned cattle operations between 2011 and 2019.

Ruid said the owners agreed to allow the USDA to install a 6.5-mile electric wire at the farm at government expense. He said wolves are constantly testing the fence, and the farm has had confirmed livestock killings since its installation.

Farmer: Too many wolves

Johnson, the Medford farmer, has not lost an animal to wolves since 2014. The Fish and Wildlife Service put up flags — brightly colored and hung along a roped-off perimeter — on his land to scare them off. Still, Johnson believes farmers should be allowed to kill animals causing problems on farms. When wolves are around, the cattle are scared and do not want to eat — even their breeding cycles are affected. That is why he wants the federal government to lift protections for wolves. He would like to see no more than 350 wolves roam the state.

Wydeven criticized the state Legislature’s swift passage of wolf hunting requirements in 2012, the last time the federal government lifted protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region. “I think it was kind of like legislative overreaction that we finally get a chance to control this wolf population,” he said.
Wydeven, the former DNR wolf researcher, said 350 refers to the DNR’s 1999 wolf management plan, which was based on the premise that the population would only reach 500 animals in Wisconsin. Currently, it is nearly double that.

“So, 350 was logical and reasonable as a potential goal back in the early 2000s, but now considering we know the carrying capacity is quite a bit higher, that doesn’t really make sense anymore,” Wydeven said. “And it wouldn’t make sense to try to drastically reduce the wolf population down to that level.”

A research paper co-authored by Erik Olson, Northland College assistant professor of natural resources, suggests the changing status has led to inconsistent management, declining public support for wolves — and possibly more illegal killings.

Walter, the DNR large carnivore specialist, agrees.

“The continued tennis match back and forth that revolves around wolf management is increasing frustrations by constituents, by those farmers and others that are being impacted by wolves and by legislators who are listening to those constituents,” Walter said.

After two decades of consistent and rapid population growth, the state’s wolf population has leveled off — even without hunting, Walter added.

“And I think it’s becoming clear that wolves have essentially occupied all the suitable range where they can go about their daily lives unfettered by the heavy hand of humans

Article reposted from www.wisconsinwatch.org

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy —Yellowstone Story Film Project…

The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project:

“We’ll watch wolf packs in the park and we get to learn about every individual and their personalities. And the younger ones, the older ones, and the ones you know are the good hunters for instance, and the ones that play the support roles and learn their personalities. Then we’ll watch them for years. Then there’s an elk hunt and a wolf hunt right outside the park. These wolves will leave because it’s a free meal for them to eat a gut pile that an elk hunter left on the landscape. Then, that wolf might get shot over it. And it’s heartbreaking for us to see this animal, it’s not like our pet, but we get to learn its personality like as if it was a pet. And it just breaks our heart and makes you wanna speak up and do something about it.”

 

To learn more about Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project click here.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2018-2019, Wolf Monitoring Report is out…

Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

Did you know that a wolf hunting and trapping season is required by law when Wisconsin’s Gray is not listed on the Endangered Species Act. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 was approved by the Governor Scott Walker-R in April 2012. This statute authorizes and requires a wolf hunting and trapping season. Numerous season and application details were described in the statute. Out of all the states that hunted wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves”.

Act 169 authorized the Department to delineate harvest management zones, set harvest quotas, and determine the number of licenses to be issued to accomplish the harvest objective.

Six-hundred and fifty-four gray wolves were killed during Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons that took place in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Thankfully, a federal judge in December 2014 threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list. This decision banned further wolf hunting and trapping in three states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

The state of Wisconsin’s misguided wolf management plans, regarding hunting and trapping, is important information to note as the USF&WS is working to revise a role to delist the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Area. USF&WS held a Public comment period that closed on July 15, 2019 with over 900,000 commenters apposed Trump Administrations Plan to remove wolf protection.

Help protect Wisconsin’s Gray wolf from a required hunting and trapping season: contact you members of Congress by clicking here to get their contact information.

The 2018-2019 Wolf Monitoring Report is out…

Once a year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources publishes a Wolf Monitoring Report 2018-2019 that was conducted using a territory mapping with telemetry technique, summer howl surveys, winter snow track surveys, recovery of dead wolves, depredation investigations, and collection of public observation reports.

In April 2019 the statewide minimum wolf population count was 914-978 wolves, a 1% increase from the previous year. There are roughly 978 gray wolves living throughout Wisconsin’s northern and central forests, minimum winter count, according to the WDNR Wolf Progress Report 2018-2019. All of this points to a wolf population that is self regulating or leveling off according to land carrying capacity.

Wolf Mortality…

A total of 41 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4-5% of the minimum 2017-2018 late winter count of 905-944 wolves. Detected mortalities represented 4-5% of the minimum 2017-2018 late winter count of 905-944 wolves.

Once again, according to the Wolf Progress Report, vehicle collisions (44%) and illegal kills (24%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities and were slightly higher than rates detected the previous year. Human caused mortality represented 94% of known cause detected mortalities overall.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wildlifehabitat/wolf/documents/wolfreport2019.pdf

Wolf Depredation…

During the monitoring period, Wildlife Services confirmed 68 wolf complaints (wolf depredations) of the 121 investigated. While the number of confirmed livestock incidents increased from 37 in 2017-2018, the number of farms affected decreased from 31 the past 2 years.

The use of flandry, red strips of material, is used as deterrent to keep wolves away from livestock.

There’s always work to be done when it comes to protecting livestock and wolves…

Watch the interview of Brad Koele WDNR Wildlife Damages Specialist. I interviewed Koele on June 11, 2015 at the WDNR Wolf Population meeting held in Wausau Wisconsin.

Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent that saves lives! Foxlights have been used by Wisconsin farmers. I gave an interview to Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Danielle Keading on June 21, 2016.

Tilseth sold 25 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS-Wildlife Services in northern Wisconsin and said they deter wolves from coming near livestock.

“It can be seen from a mile away,” she explained. “It operates with a six volt battery giving up to 12 months of nonstop protection. A light sensor automatically turns it on when it’s at dusk and turns it off during the day.”

These lights are just one of the abatements available to livestock producers in Wisconsin.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wildlifehabitat/wolf/documents/wolfreport2019.pdf

Once again it has been proven in scientific fact that Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is keeping White-tailed deer populations healthy.

White-tailed deer are the primary prey species for wolves in Wisconsin. White-tailed deer density estimates increased 7% statewide from the previous year estimate, but the majority of that increase was in wolf management unit 6 considered to be mostly unsuitable for wolf pack development. Wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range, contain 76% of the minimum winter wolf count. Deer density estimates remained stable at 25.3 deer / square mile of deer range in primary wolf range.

Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin’s misguided wolf management plans, regarding hunting and trapping, is important information to note as the USF&WS is working to revise a role to delist the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Area. USF&WS held a Public comment period that closed on July 15, 2019 with over 900,000 commenters apposed Trump Administrations Plan to remove wolf protection; proving the public wants gray wolves on the landscape! The Gray wolf is part is a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy!

Help protect Wisconsin’s Gray wolf from a required hunting and trapping season: contact you members of Congress by clicking here to get their contact information.

Who has more common sense & self-restraint: the hound hunter or the gray wolf? The conflict continues…

Just this week in Wisconsin a hound hunter ran his dog through a wolf rendezvous site, and two gray wolves killed his dog. He went into the area looking for his dog and witnessed two timber wolves holding onto the dead dog. He not only disturbed wolf pups, causing the death of his dog; he then walks right into the rendezvous site where wolves are already in defense of pups adding fuel to the fire! I’ve been a volunteer wolf tracker for 19 years, and this takes the cake! It wins the award for stupid! He’s posted it on his Facebook & claimed the two wolves went after him. I’ll tell ya something about wolves that if they were after him as he claims, they most definitely could of finished him off fast. But they did not. They did not touch a hair on his head. Because they are smarter than him, apparently! And proving they have more self-restraint than he does!

His post is now being shared on Facebook and being exaggerated, commented on, ranted on, & on, angrily & all because of a lack of common sense! It’s a wolf-hate-fest!

Photograph is of hound hunter’s dog. Dog was running on Bear right through gray wolf rendezvous site. It’s a well known fact, that wolves keep their young pups at rendezvous sites while they go hunting.

Gray wolves keep their three month old pups at rendezvous sites while they go hunting. Conflicts arise when bear hunters run their dogs through rendezvous sites. Gray wolves are forced to defend vulnerable pups from free ranging packs of hunting dogs.

Bear Hunters and Wolves

In the 1960s Wisconsin started allowing the use of dogs in the pursuit of bear. At that time there were maybe a handfull of wolves in Wisconsin if any. Wolves were not a threat to bear hunters because they were all but wiped out of Wisconsin by the 1960s.  It all changed for bear hunters when Wisconsin Wolf recovery began in the late 1970s.

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves isn’t new. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television piece from 2010.

A Brief History on Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf

In 1967 and 1974 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the eastern timber wolf a federally endangered species. In 1975, wolves were listed as a state endangered species as they began to recolonize along the Minnesota border. Wolves crossed over into Wisconsin from Minnesota and established territories on their own. Today, Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is listed on the Endangered Species List. Final Rule to Delist – – Due to a Federal court decision, wolves in the western Great Lakes area (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) were relisted under the Endangered Species Act, effective December 19, 2014.

Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Current Population

The 2017-18 overwinter minimum wolf count is 905-944, a 2.2% decrease from the 2016-17 minimum count of 925-956. The 2018-19 overwinter minimum wolf count is 914-978, a 1% increase from the 2017-18 minimum count of 905-944. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf appears to be self regulating.

Carrying capacity is an ecological term for the number of a given species that an ecosystem can sustainably support. Social carrying capacity, however, refers to the number of a species that people feel is appropriate.

Wisconsin Black Bear Hunters use dogs to track and trail bears. Conflicts arise when a hunter’s dogs run through Gray Wolf’s rendezvous sites where pups are kept. Rendezvous sites are:

Rendezvous Site Identification and Protection source WDNR Endangered Resources

Active Season for Rendezvous Sites: mid-May – mid-October

Habitat: Rendezvous sites are generally open areas of grass or sedge adjacent to wetlands. The sites are characterized by extensive matted vegetation, numerous trails, and beds usually at the forest edge. Rendezvous sites are often adjacent to bogs or occur in semi-open stands of mixed conifer-hardwoods adjacent to swamps. Sometimes abandoned beaver ponds are used as rendezvous sites.

Description: Rendezvous sites are the home sites or activity sites used by wolves after the denning period, and prior to the nomadic hunting period of fall and winter. Pups are brought to the rendezvous sites from dens when they are weaned, and remain at rendezvous sites until the pups are old enough to join the pack on their hunting circuits. Rendezvous site may be associated with food sources such as ungulate kills or berry patches. Generally a series of rendezvous sites are used by a specific pack. Rendezvous sites are mostly used from mid-June to late-September, but use may start as early as mid-May and may continue to early or mid-October. Some intermittent use of rendezvous sites may continue into the fall. It appears that the average number of rendezvous sites used by wolf packs is 4-6.

Although den and rendezvous sites each serve separate functions for wolves, they are sometimes used interchangeably. Excavations sometimes occur at rendezvous sites and these may be used as den sites in the future. Sometimes rendezvous sites may represent old den site areas. Therefore, a site used as a rendezvous site one year, could be used as a den site the next year or vice versa. Due to the transient use of rendezvous sites, special protections are not necessary. If recent excavations are observed indicating possible use as a den site, protocols in place for den site protection should be followed. Source

“Most Wisconsin citizens want at least some wolf presence in the state, but those who feel strongly, at either end of the spectrum, drive the argument.” Lisa Naughton, UW-Madison geography professor.

Wisconsin DNR puts out the following when there is a wolf depredation on hunting dogs:

When wolves attack dogs in hunting or training situations on public land, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will create wolf caution areas to warn hunters that a specific pack has attacked a dog or group of dogs. Bear hunters are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train hounds or hunt bear with hounds near any caution area, especially if near an actual kill site.

When a wolf depredation takes place on a Bear hunter’s dog he is compensated $2,500.00 per dog. Wisconsin’s wolf depredation program began in 1982, and soon afterwards bear hunters running dogs in pursuit of bear began receiving payouts. The payouts for wolf depredations were paid in the effort to help compensate hunters, livestock owners and residents living in wolf recovery areas.

We must mitigate the decades old conflict between bear hunters and wolves…

In 2015 Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBA) worked at loosening regulations for bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear. It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting license. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. 

I started working on the Wisconsin wolf recovery program as a volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker in the year 2000. I lost track of how many “no-wolf” bumper stickers were encountered in a day of tracking in the the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This conflict between bear Hunters and wolves is decades-old.

It’s time we begin to address the conflict, especially with the possible delisting threats on the horizon. This would mean Wolf management would fall into state hands.

Contact your Wisconsin State Representative. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf needs your help.