Tag Archives: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

Commentary: Killing is Not the Only Choice for Gray Wolf Management

I am posting a commentary By CHARLIE RASMUSSEN, communications director for the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), because it makes perfect sense when considering how the tribes Honor their obligations towards the Natural Resources of Wisconsin. I’m going to post the last paragraph of Rasmussen’s commentary first because it’s the perfect lead for the post:

“Looking ahead to this November ma’iingan season, Ojibwe bands have declared one-half, or 50% of the wolf quota established by the NRB. Wisconsin DNR officials must also account for the 99-wolf overkill that occurred in the runaway February season. The sum of 99 should be subtracted from the state’s share of wolves after the tribal declaration. When clerical errors have resulted in walleye overages by Ojibwe spearfishers, lakes are closed to harvest the following season to account for the overage. Tribal managers account for their mistakes. It’s well past time the state takes on a similar level of accountability.”

The following is the full commentary By CHARLIE RASMUSSEN:

In setting a 300-kill quota, the Natural Resources Board disregarded wishes from tribes and conservationists, and recommendations from the DNR experts.

Six months after Wisconsin wolf packs were left reeling from an unprecedented recreational hunt during the animals’ vulnerable breeding season, state officials are pushing forward plans to kill hundreds more wolves in 2021.

At its August meeting, a lame-duck-lead majority of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) made clear that its decision to set the wolf quota at 300 had nothing to do with science or stewardship.  Collaboration with Ojibwe bands is absent here as well—an affront to federal court decisions that make up the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Indians v. Wisconsin, or “Voigt” case, which requires the state to coordinate management with tribes in the 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories.

Wisconsin wolves lost protection under the Endangered Species Act on January 4, 2021. Then, in late February the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) presided over a chaotic wolf hunt in which recreationists killed nearly 100 extra wolves, soaring past a quota limit set at 119 animals. The unprecedented hunt with hounds during the wolf breeding season was so deadly that it had to be shut down after only three days. Fresh snowfalls made for efficient hunting as many tag-holders used dog packs to run down wolves, some of whom were pregnant, across wolf range in the state.

Now, despite calls from Ojibwe tribes to back away from yet another 2021 ma’iingan (Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for “wolf”) kill, as well as advice from Wisconsin DNR biologists to set a more moderate fall quota, the NRB demonstrated that its illegitimate holdover majority is bent on driving down the state’s wolf population. At a meeting in Milwaukee, members of the board scoffed at the state’s own scientific experts for recommending a 130-wolf quota. The board even went so far as to consider a kill goal as high as 504 before settling on 300 wolves. Faced with a science-based analysis, the NRB stumbled through talking points about the need to move the population toward a non-existent population goal in a 22-year old management plan, in order to manipulate the quota. Denying the tribes their share of a science-based quota—thereby undermining Ojibwe bands’ treaty rights—appeared to be a priority.

Killing is not the only choice when it comes to managing a quota of natural resources. Each sovereign entity, whether tribal or otherwise, decides how its share is used.  While the DNR Board may struggle to comprehend this judicious use, it’s a precept the DNR, the agency, understands. For Ojibwe bands, the current sovereign decision is that the best use of wolves comes in the form of live animals, on the land, helping to enhance and maintain healthy ecosystems upon which the tribes depend.  

Looking ahead to this November ma’iingan season, Ojibwe bands have declared one-half, or 50% of the wolf quota established by the NRB. Wisconsin DNR officials must also account for the 99-wolf overkill that occurred in the runaway February season. The sum of 99 should be subtracted from the state’s share of wolves after the tribal declaration. When clerical errors have resulted in walleye overages by Ojibwe spearfishers, lakes are closed to harvest the following season to account for the overage. Tribal managers account for their mistakes. It’s well past time the state takes on a similar level of accountability. 

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is an intertribal agency comprised of 11 Ojibwe bands in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Minnesota. GLIFWC works with member bands to both manage and preserve off-reservation treaty reserved resources. Please visit www.glifwc.org for more information.

Charlie Rasmussen

Charlie Rasmussen As communications director for the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Rasmussen works to help the intertribal agency’s 11 Ojibwe bands manage and preserve off-reservation treaty-reserved resources in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Minnesota.

*Image of gray wolf credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Ojibwe leaders are outraged as state officials pushed forward plans to kill hundreds more animals in November 2021 wolf hunt.

Ojibwe bands are evaluating their options and plan to respond with a wolf declaration shortly. For tribes, the best use of wolves comes in the form of live animals, on the land, helping to enhance and maintain healthy ecosystems

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

In a press release on August 13, 2013 Ojibwe leaders respond. “The DNR Natural Resources Board made clear that its decision to set the wolf quota at 300 has nothing to do with science or stewardship,” said Michael Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission executive administrator. “This reckless approach to ma’iingan management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection for wolves.”

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is an intertribal agency comprised of eleven Ojibwe bands in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Minnesota. GLIFWC works with member bands to both manage and preserve off-reservation treaty reserved resources. The Voigt Intertribal Task Force develops policy recommendations for GLIFWC-member tribes in the 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories. Ma’iingan is the Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for wolf. Please visit www.glifwc.org for more information.

Press Release from Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission August 13, 2021
Press Release from Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission August 13, 2021

Ojibwe Treaty rights

This reckless approach to ma’iingan management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection for wolves.

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

Webinar program featured a trio of expert panelists envisioning a future for wolves in Wisconsin.

Opportunities for Collaboration: A Shared Vision for Wolves in Wisconsin by Wisconsin’s Green Fire

Panelists: Adrian Wydeven, WGF Wildlife Co-Chair; Jodi Habush Sinykin, Midwest Environmental Advocates; Peter David, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

“The Western Great Lakes states could soon see the federal de-listing of gray wolves which have made a historic comeback in Wisconsin since they were eradicated in the mid-1900s. Current state legislation mandates a wolf hunt when the species is not listed under the Endangered Species Act and limits DNR, Tribes and the public from having input on when, where, how and if such harvests should occur. The most recently approved state wolf management plan from 1999 needs to be updated to include the latest ecological and social science in wolf conservation.” www.wigreenfire.org

“This program featured a trio of expert panelists envisioning a future for wolves in Wisconsin. We covered the history of wolves and wolf management in Wisconsin, why an inclusive and transparent process is essential to effective wolf management, what public perceptions of wolves can tell us about coexistence, and how our neighbor, Minnesota, is managing its resident wolf population.” www.wigreenfire.org

About Wisconsin’s Green Fire supports the conservation legacy of Wisconsin by promoting science-based management of Wisconsin’s natural resources.