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.

Politicians have no Idea of the Gray Wolf’s Intrinsic Value to the Land…

… the party in power only values economic growth, and caters to special interests where the big money is concerned. In the featured photograph is a young gray wolf that was one of the last to die in Wisconsin’s wolf hunts that took for three years from 2012 to 2014. This young Gray wolf was taken by a wolf hunter using the barbaric practice of Wolf-Hounding; an age old hunting practice that pits large packs of dogs against a gray wolf.

This young male gray wolf was born far too late, his fate sealed by a hunter’s desire for an opportunity to shoot a trophy wolf for a pelt to be used as a rug by the fireplace or a mount for a game room.

It was a few decades ago that Wisconsin’s Gray wolf was placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program was born. When I became involved in the program in the year 2000 there were only 66 gray wolf packs in Wisconsin. Today’s Gray wolf population estimates are 945 individuals. I never imagined that Wisconsin would become so reckless in its management of the Gray wolf, but they did. In 2011 just a couple of months before USF&WS delisted them, Wisconsin legislators rushed through Act 169 designating grays wolves as a game animal to be hunted.

This is how the state of Wisconsin manages an endangered species just off the list. Is that not reckless?

Like naughty school boys, without batting an eye, or having any idea of the Gray Wolf’s intrinsic value upon our planet, politicians work to return management of Gray wolves to states like Wisconsin; where the party in power only values economic growth., and caters to special interests where big money is concerned.

Senator Barrasso is working to revise or rewrite the Endangered Species Act to accommodate extractive industries, such as oil & gas, mining and lumber. The majority in power is clearly trying to rewrite the Endangered Species Act in favor of big monied special interests that want the land (animal’s land it protects) and this would place endangered species in even more danger of extinction. Please be the voice for the Gray wolf. #ExtinctionIsForever

#GetInvolved like Ani Conrad from California! Post your selfie today!

Harassment of an endangered species in the north woods of Wisconsin began July first

Hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in the norths woods of Wisconsin run their hounds right through wolf rendezvous sites (where wolf pups are kept).  Wolf pups are only about three months old when hunters begin running their dogs on bear. They run hounds through known wolf caution areas; even though WDNR sends out alerts to avoid those areas. In 1982 Wisconsin started a wolf depredation program.  Wolf depredation program pays $2,500.00 per hunting dog. In 2016 thirty-seven bear hunting dogs were killed in the pursuit of bear. Several bear hunters received multiple wolf depredation program payments, and even ones with criminal charges; such as poaching a black bear. 

That’s not even the worst of it. 

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. 

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. A few Wisconsin legislators claim these deaths were due to the high wolf population of 866 in 2016, but there’s a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye. Adrian Wydeven, former Wisconsin DNR Head Wolf biologist, wrote in a opinion editorial: Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate, written on November 12, 2016 and suggested that:  “Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).”  

There’s a decades-old conflict between bear hunters and wolves taking place every year in Wisconsin’s north woods. 

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. 

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.  

Watch the following video by Wisconsin Public Television 2010

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.

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

WDNR puts out wolf caution areas:

“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.” 

The following is a spreadsheet of wolf depredation program payouts to bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear in 2016:


Harassment is the act or an instance of harassing, or disturbing, pestering, or troubling repeatedly; persecution according to Webster’ dictionary. Let’s add the topic of the harassment being an endangered species, such as; Wisconsin’s wild wolf. 

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


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Featured image by John E Marriott

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About The Author

Rachel Tilseth is the author and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin founded 2012 to get the dogs out of the wolf hunt. Tilseth has been involved in Wisconsin’s wolf recovery since the year 1998. Tilseth is an artist, art educator & grandmother living in the north woods of Wisconsin. 

Urgent: Action needed for wolves in the Great Lakes & Wyoming

A new bill is being drafted in the House of Representatives; a bill to provide for the preservation of sportsmen’s heritage and enhance recreation opportunities on Federal land, and for other purposes. This bill is yet another attack on the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan & Wyoming.

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act’’ or the ‘‘SHARE’’ Act.

Many animals are harmed (through suffering and killing) to serve human interests and values without due consideration of other animals’ interests and intrinsic value. ~Compassionate Conservation 

The following demonstrates that congress’ intends to delist wolves: 

TITLE XVI—GRAY WOLVES


Sec. 1601. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY
WOLVES IN THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES.

Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.

SEC. 1602. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY
WOLVES IN WYOMING.

Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review.

Please take action for wolves by contacting your House of Representatives 

Click here to contact your House of Representative

Let your congressman know that you do not want him to sign onto this bill; That wolves need to remain on the Endangered Species Act. 

This bill would turn over the management of wolves to:


Wisconsin can no longer afford to go back, back to the old way of thinking; the killing of wildlife in order to conserve them. For example; Wisconsin spent decades on wolf recovery, recovery of an imperiled species that was hunted to near extinction; then in a shocking twist, the state of Wisconsin legislature mandated a trophy hunt of wolves fresh off the Endangered Species List; 
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. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169, wolf hunt. 

Please take action for wolves today!

A grave reminder of things to come for Wisconsin’s wild wolf: a species in peril…

Photograph is of a young wolf killed by a hunter that used dogs in the Wisconsin wolf hunt 2014. 

I wrote the following opinion editorial in September of 2014 just before the third Wisconsin wolf trophy hunt was about to commence. Nothing is more shocking than using dogs to hunt down wolves.  Wisconsin is the only state that allows this barbaric sport; Throws dogs to wolves. Wisconsin’s wolf is currently on the Endangered Species List, but for how long? Politicians are working to delist wolves in The Great Lakes region, essentially giving back management of an imperiled species to states, such as Wisconsin, that have a track record of mismanagement. As delisting threats are looming in congress the following opinion editorial is a reminder of things to come. Read on :

Column: Still plenty of problems with the wolf hunt by Rachel Tilseth, September 29, 2014 in Wausau Daily Herald

It is about time states are held accountable for their cruel treatments of wolves, a recently endangered species. Delisting wolves federally put them in the hands of states that haven’t learned from past mistakes. This surely is the beginning of the end for wolf hating state agencies in charge of wolf management.
Wisconsin’s DNR is in the same category as Wyoming’s by demonstrating the same, ‘hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.’ This is all because DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s handpicked Wolf Advisory Committee (WAC) is stacked with wolf haters.
Several scientists wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services cautioning that vital information is missing from DNR wolf slaughter statistics.
Stepp booted several important scientists from her WAC that could have prevented vital information from being left out of DNR wolf slaughter Statistics in the first place.
Oh, but wait there’s more.
Now Stepp wants the DNR to find out if dogs are really killing wolves in the woods. So listen to this, Stepp’s solution is (to paraphrase) to ask wolf hunters to let federal wildlife officials watch them skin their wolf.
This latest blow for the health of Wisconsin wolf population makes it apparent Stepp’s leadership skills are below standards, to the point of a complete loss of ethics. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘ethics’ as ‘A branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.’
The western schools of ethics break it down into three concepts or codes. The first being virtues such as justice for one. Then the second is duty such as morality. Thirdly that the principle of conduct for the benefit of the greatest number.
We now have a DNR administration completely unable to monitor or enforce if dogs are killing wolves. It is illegal for hunting dogs to engage and kill wildlife. Remember that US Fish and Wildlife Services are supposedly monitoring how well DNR can manage its wolves. After all, wolves were extinct or extirpated from our woods a few short decades ago and certainly could happen again if not managed wisely.
Stepp’s WAC committee is run by citizen pro-wolf hunters that lack a moral compass. It is important to know that these fringe hunters are crafting this wolf hunt to suit their own agendas. Asking the wolf hunters to voluntarily submit to an inspection is outrageous and almost comical. Do you really think any hunter whose dogs just killed a wolf will volunteer for this sham?
This can be compared to asking a serial killer to volunteer to present his human kill to a medical examiner. Where is the professional conduct in this? Where is the justice for the illegally killed wolf/wolves?
The public perception is that dogs are killing wolves and that’s illegal. And rules to monitor this controversial method of hunting should have been in place for the first wolf hunt. We are now approaching the third wolf hunt season.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Stepp must resign for dereliction of duty, because she willfully refuses to carry out her duties as DNR Secretary.
Citizens want wolves in Wisconsin and do not approve of the use of dogs in the wolf hunt. Public input must be respected.

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Letter to the Editor: Job interview questions for Tom Tiffany 

By Lisa MaKarral

September 27, 2016

To the editor:
1. Mr. Tiffany, you received $75,000 from Gogebic Taconite to push their mining bill through, gutting Wisconsin’s long- held environmental laws and regulations. Have you ever met a pristine wilderness or ecosystem that you didn’t want to strip mine or frack, a tree you didn’t want cut down, or a wetland you didn’t want to fill in, if the price is right?
2. You’ve received thousands of dollars from hunting lobbies. In exchange, you’ve pushed for Wisconsin to become the only state that allows hunting wolves with hounds, one of a very few states allowing harassment of bears and other wildlife with hounds (in training) and the only state that pays hounders for their dogs killed by wolves during the harassment of said wildlife. Wisconsin taxpayers pay hounders $2500.00 for each dog attacked and killed by wolves, regardless if that hounder runs his dogs through DNR-designated wolf areas. We also pay for the cost of veterinarian care if the dog manages to survive the attack. Heck, you don’t care if a hounder gets a dog from an animal shelter and deliberately arranges to get it killed for a check. We’ve had 40 dogs killed so far this year, or $100,000.00 in tax payer dollars, not including the vet bills of dogs injured. Mr. Tiffany, can you please tell me the difference between Michael Vick fighting and killing dogs and what you champion, besides Vick serving 18 months in prison for it and not sending you a check? 
3. Do you require hounders to take a drug test before receiving their blood payments?
4. You led the layoff of scientists at the DNR, since you don’t believe in climate change or much of anything in the way of science. CWD in deer has increased from 1.46 percent in 2008 to a record level of 9.4 percent today. How’s that anti-science thing working out for you and Wisconsin deer hunters?
5. How is it that a “small government” Republican like you has done everything possible to take local control away from our elected town and county boards in an attempt to fit the Northwoods into a one-size-fits-all puzzle, that includes Milwaukee and Madison?
6. Since 2010, you have voted to cut $24 million from public schools in the 12th district while supporting sending millions to private schools in Milwaukee, expanding voucher programs and giving a tax break to millionaires who already send their children to private schools. Is it a coincidence that an organization promoting voucher and religious schools has purchased $230,000 in ad time for you in this election year?
7. You stated you wear The League of Conservation Voters grade of an F as a badge of honor. How does your “badge of honor” fit into what we, living in our beautiful Northwoods, hold dear?
8. Besides questions 1 through 7, why else did you vote to gut Wisconsin open records laws?
I’m sorry Mr. Tiffany, you’re not a good fit for this position and we’ll have to go with the other candidate.
Source
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Featured image John E Marriott

WODCW Op Ed: Bear hunting with hounds is “risky behavior’ 

In a Wisconsin State Journal, Guest Column, Carl Schoettel, of Neosho, president of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, stated his opinion entitled;  Bear hunting with hounds isn’t risky behavior

Schoettel was responding to a Wisconsin State Journal Editorial written on September 9, 2016; Stop payouts to bear hunters for dead dogs, Schoettel stating that it: “was clearly written by someone who has never hunted in the north woods or perhaps even met a bear hunter. The commentary was misleading and wrong about interactions between hunters, dogs and wolves.”

Mr. Schoettel is naive to think that Wisconsin residents and taxpayers will sit idly by while bear hunters throw dogs to wolves.

Further, Schoettel states; “First and foremost, the editorial continually called bear hunters “irresponsible” and gave the impression hunters are violating state rules when they choose to hunt in wolf country. They are not. And hound hunters do avoid areas where recent wolf activity has taken place. In fact, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) puts out alerts to its members within hours of any confirmed dog depredations so hunters can avoid that area.”

I’ll address the first part of Mr. Schoettel statement about bear hunters being “irresponsible” and discuss the rules of training dogs to pursue bear.  First of all, state law was changed in 2015 to end a license requirement for the summer dog training season, and so it is difficult to know how many dogs are running through the woods in pursuit of bear. 

WI Bear Hunters Association was successful in getting training license requirements removed; no permit to train dogs in pursuit of bear leads to the simple fact; that, WI DNR has no idea how many bear hunter’s rigs are running through the north woods. Increase of dogs running in wolf range during pup rearing times is bound to cause conflicts between bear hunters and wolves. 

Starting in July bear hunters run dogs through wolf rendezvous sites in pursuit of bear causing conflicts between dogs and wolves. Wolf pups are barely three months old and need protection from packs of free ranging dogs in pursuit of bear. The conflicts between bear hunters and wolves continues with record numbers of hunting dogs killed in July and August of 2016.  Bear hunting dogs are equipped with radio telemetry or GPS devices that have a range of up to 10 miles and handlers are often miles away from their dogs. 

 Thus, the direct action of (WHBA) in ending the license requirement for the summer dog training season is seen as  “irresponsible” because it allowed for an undetermined number of hunting dogs in pursuit of bear. Therefore, what would you call a sport that refuses to be accountable; that doesn’t have any training license requirement for its members? WI DNR has no idea of how many dogs are running through the woods during training in pursuit of bear. Is this the cause of the record hunting dog deaths?

 Mr. Schoettel take responsibility for training your hounds in wolf country by bringing back the training license requirements that hold bear hunters accountable.

Mr. Schoettel states: “the DNR’s map of wolf packs shows that virtually the entire northern third of the state is “occupied” by the packs. The editorial would be calling for the end of all bear hunting if we had to avoid any area with a wolf threat. Ask any deer hunter and they will tell you that now they see more wolves than deer in the North Country.”

Mr. Schoettel is right that the northern third of the state has wolves living there, but fails to take responsibility for conflicts between bear hunters and wolves.  Next, Schoettel brings deer hunters into the debate by using unsubstantiated facts. The very idea that Mr. Schoettel scapegoats the wolf for the lack of deer is preposterous.  Every ethical Hunter that practices the rules and especially, rules of fair chase, knows that; a couple of winters back it was heavy snowfalls that killed off the deer herd NOT the wolf. The deer herds are now rebounding in Wisconsin.

Why wouldn’t any reasonable, hunter or resident of the state call for an end of bear hunting with the use of dogs?  At this rate of payouts, at $2,500.00 per dead dog, is astonishing.  Since July First, a total of 28 bear hunting dogs have been killed by wolves defending their pups from large packs of free ranging dogs in pursuit of bear; with a total price tag of $70,000.00.

 Mr. Schoettel states: “Wisconsin allows bear hounding because it has a long and proud tradition of supporting our hunting heritage. Wisconsin’s citizens were hunting bears with dogs long before wolves were reintroduced into Wisconsin. And in Wisconsin, hunters are protected by our constitutional right to hunt.”

Mr. Schoettel, wolves “reintroduced themselves” to their historic range by crossing over the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. People never physically “reintroduced wolves” into Wisconsin. They are not illegal (alien) wolves.

I’ll argue full heartedly against Mr. Schoettel’s defective reasoning that bear hounding has a long tradition of supporting hunting heritage, because it wasn’t until 1963 that this practice of hunting black bear with the aide of dogs began in the state.  Furthermore, there are those who do not agree with bear hounding as “fair chase” part of Wisconsin’s ethical hunting heritage. This practice of bear hounding is losing support by the state’s residents due to its relaxed hunting regulations, not to mention the conflicts between bear hunters and wolves.  I’ve seen an increase of letters to the editor over the past several months complaining about bear hounding in papers across the state.

 Mr. Schoettel states: “The editorial and a previous State Journal article reported that wildlife experts aren’t sure why more dogs are being killed this year. Well, I think a lot of wildlife experts will agree with our members that the answer is very simple: Wisconsin has a lot more wolves this year than just two years ago. Since an East Coast federal judge ended Wisconsin’s management of wolves in 2014, the wolf population has exploded.’

Although Mr. Schoettel is correct in stating the wolf population is up, he doesn’t have the correct reason for why bear hounding dogs are being killed.  To reiterate, the WI DNR has stated they do not know why there has been record hunting dog deaths this training season, because they do not know how many dogs are running through the woods.  WBHA was responsible for ending the license requirement for the summer dog training season. Therefore WI DNR has no records on how many dogs are running in the woods.

Mr. Schoettel states: “Bear hunting with hounds is not “risky behavior.” It is a constitutionally protected outdoor sport with centuries of history and generations of heritage behind it, and Wisconsin policymakers rightly recognize that.”

Mr. Schoettel is right in saying that Wisconsin policy makers rightly recognize the sport of bear hounding; or at least the current party in power with their very own appointed WI DNR Secretary, that backs them.  

I disagree with Mr. Schoettel’s fairy tale view of running hounds through the woods “isn’t risky business” as history is proving conflicts between bear hunters and wolves is very risky for dogs, wolves and taxpayers’ pocket books. 

I will end here with a quote by one of their own bear hounding advocates that make a point about abusing power;

The government is so out of control.  It is so bloated and infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power. Ted Nugent

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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