A Chippewa County man accused of poaching numerous animals, including 18 gray wolves, was sentenced Tuesday under a plea agreement.
Kurt Johnston Duncan, 56, of Pickford pleaded guilty in September to seven poaching crimes following an investigation by Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.
Chippewa County District Court Judge Eric Blubaugh sentenced Duncan to:
Pay $36,240 total
$27,000 as reimbursement for the animals illegally taken
$9,240 in court fees and costs
Lifetime revocation of all hunting and trapping privileges in Michigan; including that he may not assist anyone else in any hunting or trapping activities. With this privilege revoked, he will not be allowed to hunt in 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
90 days of jail time; 30 of which will be held in aside should he violate probation.
18-24 months probation.
Forfeiture of all items and evidence seized by the DNR during the execution of search warrants, including, firearms and snares.
“This is a historical case for the division and department,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We hope this poaching case acts as a deterrent to criminals for committing future wildlife crimes such as this. Our officers did an excellent job working as a team and building this investigation so it could move quickly through the criminal justice system.”
On Sept. 24 Duncan accepted a plea agreement offered Chippewa County Prosecutor Robert Stratton. Duncan pleaded guilty to:
Three counts of the illegal take; possession of wolves.
Three counts of the illegal take; possession of bald eagles.
One count of illegal commercialization of a protected species (wolf).
Anyone witnessing a natural resources crime or having information about such a crime is encouraged to call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.
DNR officials caught the men responsible for two separate Upper Peninsula wolf poaching incidents in a span of 24 hours.
A 58-year-old from Greenland Township and a 67-year-old from Menominee Township, both confessed to the crimes in Ontonagon and Menominee counties, respectively, on Tuesday.
Their names are being withheld pending their arraignments in the respective county district courts. Gray wolves are a protected species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and as such, can only legally be killed in defense of human safety.
“Wolves are examples of important wildlife species that play a critical predator role in the ecosystems of the Upper Peninsula,” said Lt. Ryan Aho, a district law supervisor in Marquette.
“Our conservation officers did some great work in obtaining confessions from these two individuals who killed wolves collared for study purposes by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.”
The investigation began when DNR Wildlife Division personnel received a mortality signal from the collar of an adult female wolf in Ontonagon County.
Sgt. Marc Pomroy and CO Zach Painter went to the site located off Gardner Road in Greenland Township.
“We gathered some information at the scene, and we conducted suspect interviews the following day,” Painter said. “During those discussions, the suspect admitted he shot the animal with a rifle, which we seized as part of the investigation.”
The Menominee County kill came during the firearm deer hunting season when a mortality signal was received from a 1-year-old male wolf on Nov. 19.
“I retrieved the collar later that day from a place along River Road in Lake Township,” said CO Jeremy Sergey. “The collar was intact, covered in blood, but was not attached to a wolf.”
On Tuesday, the man from Menominee Township confessed to killing the wolf, months after the original crime. He was, however, an original suspect developed by the DNR in November, according to a news release.
Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, and the cost of prosecution. Source
Featured image information: A gray wolf shot in Ontonagon County Saturday is shown. A Greenland Township man has admitted to shooting the animal with a rifle. (Michigan)
The U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote the week of November 12 on H.R. 6784, a bipartisan bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules removing gray wolves from the threatened and endangered species list in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bill would also prevent further judicial review of these rules.
…Action Alert. Contact your representatives in the U. S. Senate today. Major anti wolf legislation is now being proposed in the U. S. Senate. Just recently in the House version of the defense bill that could weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act; Another provision in the bill that Republicans want to include would delist gray wolves found near the Great Lakes and Wyoming, while another amendment would block ESA protections for all gray wolves in the continental U.S.
The Senate is considering a ‘sweeping attack’ on the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups say. The bill’s author, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), is holding a hearing now. The legislation would empower governors to veto some of the current protections for imperiled species, and limit the ability of citizens to file lawsuits to protect threatened plants and animals. [read more]
The bill contains language for delisting of Gray wolves in the lower 48 states:
…the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife [read more]
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) would place endangered species in even more danger of extinction. Please be the voice for the Gray wolf. #ExtinctionIsForever
In 2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 legislation mandated a trophy hunt on the newly delisted Gray wolf. Wisconsin Act 169 allowed reckless management policies such as; Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.” Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet
In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
This reckless management of the Gray wolf was overturned as part of Humane Society of the United States lawsuit of USF&WS’s 2012 delisting. In December 2014 a federal judge put Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region back on the Endangered Species List. USF&WS appealed the 2014 ruling, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should remain on the endangered species list, July 2017.
Besides the horrific wolf management policies by the state of Wisconsin, problems exist within the way USF&WS determines criteria for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes Region in 2011. It’s seems USF&WS got its “hand slapped” by a judges ruling for trying to delist using the following:
“The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area.” USF&WS Press Release 2011
But then, on July 2017, the three-judge panel unanimously said the wolves should stay under federal protection. The judges wrote, “The Endangered Species Act’s text requires the Service, when reviewing and redetermining the status of a species, to look at the whole picture of the listed species, not just a segment of it.”
“The service had not adequately considered a number of factors in making its decision, including loss of the wolf’s historical range and how its removal from the endangered list would affect the predator’s recovery in other areas, such as New England, North Dakota and South Dakota.”
Just how reckless is Wisconsin in its management policies of the Gray wolf?
If the Gray wolf in Wisconsin gets delisted tomorrow; it’s a law that a wolf hunt must take place:
“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.” 2012 Wisconsin Act 169
A brief history on Wisconsin’s reckless management of it’s wolf population, 2012 through 2014.
Wisconsin’s Wolf Advisory Committee is not far and balanced. In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process (WDNR secretary at the time).
WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee met once a month during the legislatively mandated trophy hunt on Wisconsin’s Gray wolf. The WAC recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s (WDNR secretary at the time) hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog
Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014
At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014
“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”
Recap of the last two years in the never-ending political rhetoric designed to stir public sentiment against an endangered species.
Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest 2016. The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags. From WI DNR Press Release
The increase in buck harvest is hopeful news, because fringe hunters, along with some politicians are claiming that wolves are killing all the deer. This news puts a damper on republican Senator Tom Tiffany’s efforts to delist the wolf.
“A Great Lakes Summit in September 2016, was organized by two Republican lawmakers from northern Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow, who hope control of the wolf population returns to state governments.” MPR News
The 30 percent buck increase in the Northern Forest Zone (where the wolf lives) is good news as DNR’s own scientific data is proving wolves aren’t eating all the white-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin.
Yet, certain politicians in Wisconsin refuse to believe scientific fact.
As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs. Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs. But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species.
Are wolves killing more livestock?
Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock.
There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2015 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:
“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.” Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics
Wisconsin’s wild wolf is the most talked about animal of late. Politicians in Wisconsin have villianized the wolf, and are pushing to delist him. It’s no secret that one cannot trust politicians. Politicians are in competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; they’ve created propaganda to make the wolf look bad.
Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.
The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC. From WODCW’s Blog
In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was exterminated from our forest, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan, because we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.
Dumping cattle carcasses is illegal in Michigan and Wisconsin. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that leaving carcasses in the woods, especially in wolf range, will attract wild carnivores. It’s just plain and simple common sense practice to dispose of livestock properly. Properly disposing of dead livestock also helps prevent the spread of diseases.
It can also be a lesson well learned as in the following story told to me a couple years ago by a woman living in wolf range. I was talking with a woman that lives in the country with a resident wolf pack nearby. I asked her if she had seen any signs of them lately, and she said she hasn’t seen them, but knows they are nearby. Then, she told me her tragic story. They had two dogs, one young and one older, and recently lost the older dog because of a mistake they made. She told me that they dumped their food scraps in a pit in the woods down behind their house; That one day she came out to the garage to find the young dog cowering in the corner. Then, she heard the older dog let out a screech from the pit out behind the house. She ran to the pit, looked down into the woods, and there was no sight of the older dog. They looked but never found a trace of him. They did find wolf tracks though. I asked them if they reported the incident to the DNR and she said no because it was their fault. She said they stopped dumping food scraps in the pit in the woods behind their house. They understand their mistake and tragically too late for their older dog. They live in wolf range and are also farmers. They also respect wolves and understand their place in the ecosystem.
Recently…Research In Upper Peninsula Finds Dumped Livestock Is Changing Predatory Behavior
A study led by Tyler Petroelje, a wildlife researcher and doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, tracked the feeding behaviors of eight wolves from two packs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This research was part of a broader predator-prey study that investigated a variety of factors that affect deer populations in the region. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, the study suggested that dumping cow carcasses alters wolf behavior.
In the North Woods of Wisconsin and Michigan, a wolf’s natural diet typically consists of deer and beaver, Petroelje explained. But he found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of cattle carcasses from dump sites on nearby farm
Disposing of livestock carcasses is an important part of animal agriculture. Wisconsin law says that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.
Rendering, burial, burning and landfilling have been the typical means of disposal, but these are becoming less and less practical. Burial and burning create biosecurity hazards and threats to water and air quality. Rendering remains the best choice to protect the environment, public health, and animal health, but it is becoming more expensive and less available.
Cattle carcasses in particular are becoming more difficult and expensive to send to rendering because of federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal feed and pet foods, now prohibits using parts from cattle 30 months or older in any food for animals unless the spinal cord and brain are first removed.
We recommend composting carcasses to overcome these problems. Remember that composting is an active process.
Putting a carcass in the woods or on the back 40 to rot and/or be eaten by scavengers is not composting and:
• Risks disease transmission to your livestock and your neighbors’, and to wildlife.
• May contaminate water sources – including your well and your neighbors’ wells.
• Invites vermin and pests, including coyotes, that may transmit disease and prey on your livestock.
• Alienates neighbors and generally casts farmers in a bad light.
The Farm Bill (H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018), scheduled to be brought to the House floor next week that has amendments to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region. Amendment number 85:
Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) submitted an amendment to remove ESA protections for gray wolves across the continental United States. This would not only place gray wolves in peril, but also undermine the ESA by taking away the decision-making power from scientists, as the law mandates, giving it instead to partisan members of Congress. This amendment also blocks judicial review, meaning that citizens can’t challenge the delisting in court. Shielding agency actions from review by independent federal courts violates citizens’ rights under the ESA and is simply undemocratic. Animal Welfare Institute
Isle Royale is a remote wilderness island, isolated by the frigid waters of Lake Superior, and home to populations of wolves and moose. As predator and prey, their lives and deaths are linked in a drama that is timeless and historic. Their lives are historic because we have been documenting their lives for more than five decades. This research project is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world.
As wildlife ecologists prepare for next month’s 59th annual winter study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale in Michigan, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) today announced a surprising change in its usual hands-off management of the island wilderness on Lake Superior: proposed plans to introduce 20 to 30 new wolves over the next 3 years. (source)
“This is what I had hoped for,” says wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Scientists, including Peterson, who has studied the wolf-moose interaction since 1971, earlier advocated for a genetic rescue of the island wolf population as wolf numbers in recent years dwindled to all-time lows. Only two highly inbred wolves remained on the island this past year, which coincided with the park’s decision to study the possibility of bringing new wolves to the park. There was no sign that the pair reproduced this year, although they were spotted on camera in July. Science Magazine
Photograph by Rolf Peterson
Wolves have been successfully moved and reintroduced to other areas, most notably in Yellowstone National Park and in Sweden. But the Isle Royale wolf introduction would follow nearly 6 decades of study of the predator-prey interaction on an island, and could illuminate how that interaction unfolds in a changing climate. Isle Royale Park Superintendent Phyllis Green emphasizes that the planning is not about a single species. “The focus really needs to be on ecosystems,” she says.
Check out Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s new film project about wolf advocates, “The Yellowstone Story” Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…
Watch our pitch trailer
A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.
“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information. To support the film through a tax free contribution go to Plan B Foundation.
Congress’s Fiscal Year 18 spending bill has provisions that will remove ESA protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.
In Congress both the House and Senate versions include language that will remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Further, the provision would bar judicial review of the action. This language overrides a federal appeals court ruling last year that maintained protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes region.
Urgent: action is needed to keep Gray wolves protected.
Urge them to reject these harmful provisions being added in the spending bill, and to keep Gray wolves protected under the ESA.
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
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.