Action Alert: Stop the War on Wolves Act 

Senators from Midwest introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves. The legislation would stop citizens right to challenge this legislation in a court of law. There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in three states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN).

The legislation would further strip citizens of the right to challenge these lethal programs in court. ~Earthjustice 

The War on Wolves Act would turn management of wolves back over to states that are clearly hostile to wolves. The state of Wisconsin’s wolf management plans include; 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.”  Source   Wyoming’s wolf management plans include; In Wyoming, this would allow the state to resume a hostile management program that allowed for unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state.  Source

Take action to stop the War on Wolves Act by calling your members of congress 

Tips on Calling Your Member of Congress

When you dial 202-224-3121 you are directed to an operator at the Capitol switchboard. This switchboard can direct you to both senators as well as representatives.
Once the operator answers, ask to be connected to whomever you are trying to reach. They will send you to your senator’s or representative’s office line, and a legislative assistant will answer the phone.
It is important to let them know why you are calling and what issue you are calling about. You will sometimes be able to speak directly to your senator or representative, but more often you will speak to a staff person in the member’s office. This person keeps track of how many people called and their positions on issues, and provides a summary to the member. Be assured that your call does count, even if you are not able to speak directly to your senator or representative.
It is usually most effective to call your own senators and representatives, as each is primarily concerned with residents from his or her district. However, you may occasionally find it useful to call other members, if they are on a certain committee or in a particular position to help get a bill passed.
*Although you may find it easiest to always call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your senators or representative, you can also find the direct number to any member’s office by consulting the Senate Phone List or House Phone List.


More information on the War on Wolves Act:

It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad
Lawmakers renew war on wolves HSUS
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So many have stepped forward for wolves..


There is a community of wolf advocates from across Wisconsin and the nation coming together to work for wolves. This warms the heart ❤️ and gives hope for the future. We are together as one large body ready to fight the War on Wolves. Anti wolf politicians, lacking core values; are striking at the heart of the environmental movement. But we are there Standing on the moral high ground to defend the earth; wilderness, wolves and wildlife.


Keep fighting on!

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin 



Letter to the Editor: Opposed to wolf bill

Source Daily Press (Michigan)
EDITOR:
Gov. Rick Snyder signed another law authorizing the trophy hunting and commercial trapping of Michigan’s wolves, even though residents rejected an almost identical measure in a landslide vote in 2014. In fact, 250,000 more voters supported wolf protection than voted for Gov. Snyder that year.
Science shows that hunting wolves is ineffective at preventing livestock conflicts, which continue to be extremely rare in Michigan. Wolf attacks on people are virtually non-existent, except in the movies. By controlling deer densities, wolves can reduce deer-auto collisions and browsing on commercially valuable forests — impacts that are in the tens of millions of dollars every year.
Michigan has not conducted wolf hunts since 2013, yet its wolf population estimates continue to decline. These facts didn’t matter to some Michigan legislators determined to deliver a wolf trophy hunt to their special interests.
By signing a measure that had previously been resoundingly rejected by voters and the courts, Gov. Snyder enabled a legislative process that is nothing more than an elaborate game of voter circumvention.
It’s an abuse of power that every Michigan resident should oppose.
Lydia Sattler
Michigan state director for The Humane Society of the United States
River Junction
  

Letter to the Editor: Wolf law subverts will of people

Source: The Daily Mining Gazette (Michigan) January 7, 2017
To the editor:
What gives politicians the right to function unilaterally and particularly when it is directly against the will of their constituents? Doesn’t this reflect, at the minimum, an erosion of our democratic process? Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature passed very swiftly (during the holidays) Bill 1187, which not only paved the way for trophy hunting and commercial trapping of Michigan’s wolves, but as well circumvents the people’s right to vote in the future by transferring full authority to the politically appointed Natural Resource Commission’s members, none of which have a background in science. Their decisions cannot be overturned by the voters in Michigan, despite a majority objecting (by 1.8 million) to two previous bills.
Despite rhetoric from politicians, livestock losses caused by wolves are low, especially when compared to other causes of livestock mortality.
Livestock owners are not required by law to implement non-lethal measures (livestock guardian dogs, flagging, animal rotation, detecting alarm systems) to minimize losses by wolves, and yet they are compensated for any losses caused by wolves.
Livestock losses caused by wolves are minimal. In 2016, there were about 24 verified conflicts. Most occurred at one of the approximate 900 working farms in the U.P.
Wintering deer yards have been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer, and then following a particularly harsh winter, mass starvation of the deer occurs. Weather and habitat loss, have the greatest impact on deer, not wolves. Severe winters increase adult mortality, reduce fawn survival and impact antler growth the following year in bucks.
The culling of wolves is based on non-science, greed, fearmongering and political agendas and is unacceptable.
The passing of this bill may be devastating to our wolf population in Michigan, but it will be even more devastating for the future of democracy.
Voters elect lawmakers to represent the will of the majority. Under the public trust document, states and lawmakers have a legal obligation to conserve wolves for the benefit of all citizens.
It appears that our current elected officials are more concerned with appeasing special interest groups rather than serving the interests of the people. Whatever happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?
How can we be confident with this type of leadership? Whatever happened to the democratic process?

Joanna Tomacari
Gwinn

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Featured image John E Marriott

Dear Senator Tammy Baldwin; As a Wisconsin resident, I am writing to implore you to keep gray wolves listed 

WODCW’s letter writing campaign yielded several fact filled letters urging Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin to withdraw her support of federal delisting. Unfortunately the senator did not withdraw her support of removing the wolf from the endangered species list in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming & Michigan. The federal wolf delisting action is a real possibility with this new congress. The following is one of these letters written to Senator Baldwin, read on:

Dear Senator Tammy Baldwin,
As a Wisconsin resident, I am writing to implore you to keep gray wolves listed as endangered species per the recommendations of U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell of Washington, D.C. The decision to once again delist gray wolves in Wisconsin and resume hunting and trapping should be based on science not politics. 
I’ve included some of my reasons for opposing this decision as well as quotes from two of the letters that were sent on Sept. 27 2014 and October 15, 2014 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer regarding this topic by wildlife biologist, Adrian Treves, director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab for the UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, B. Bergstrom, PhD, D. Parsons, MS, P. Paquet, PhD, R.P. Thiel, Certified Wildlife Biologist (Retired), and Jonathan Way, PhD. Their detailed analysis sheds light on the misleading statistics reported by Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) related to wolf hunt mortality rates; birth rates; unreported poaching; effects of year round, unregulated training of free-running dogs on wolves, night and day, year-round, with no rules or safeguards for law enforcement to implement; and inadequate recording and monitoring of wolf populations in general.
After reading the analysis of mortality levels of wolves before and after “harvest,” and reviewing the lack of adequate monitoring of populations, I am gravely concerned that delisting wolves from the endangered species list will result in severely diminished populations. In addition, the post-delisting monitoring (PDM) rules required by the Endangered Species Acts (ESA) of 1973 and published in the Federal Register require the USFWS to exert regulatory authority monitoring for not less than five years. C.M. Wooley, acting regional director for USFWS out of Minnesota, declined to implement PDM, saying, “The service no longer serves as a regulating entity to protect the wolf” nor has “a role in regulating gray wolves in any of the states of the Western Great Lakes.” This is clearly in violation of the ESA.
Other concerns regarding delisting wolves and the subsequent wolf hunts presented in the Sept. 27 and Oct.15 letters include:
The USFWS was given inaccurate and incomplete data by the Wisconsin DNR and was not able to determine wolf populations in Wisconsin. 

Other factors Indicating a potential cause for concern included a significant adverse change in wolf, wolf prey, or wolf habitat management practices or protection across a substantial portion of the occupied wolf range in the Western Great Lakes wolf population. (Including Wisconsin.)

Data on successful reproduction of Wisconsin wolf packs have not been presented publicly or presented to the independent scientific community for review. These data were provided in the past, thus interannual comparisons require them. These data are essential to proper estimates of population status because substantial population declines can occur at moderate levels of mortality if reproduction is impaired.

Wisconsin did not submit all wolf carcasses for necropsy as required. … Without these data we cannot assess if poaching has risen with initiation of harvest or deregulation of hound training in Wisconsin.

On July 10,2014, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals allowed training hounds on wolves year-round, night and day, without strict regulation anywhere free-running hounds are allowed, and without safeguards for wolves or hounds. The unregulated use of this novel training method cannot guarantee the safety of wolf pups or older wolves confronted by a pack of ≥6 hounds. This activity is currently unmonitored because the timing, location, and method of hound training are not currently regulated and there are no provisions for informing law enforcement when training is underway. Both of these potential threats could be severe and could require additional regulation by the ESA as ‘”to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’, ESA Sec. 3(19)) (Wisconsin is the only state in the US to allow dogs be used in wolf hunts.)

Facing unmonitored new threats (hound-hunting and hound-training), potential increases in an old threat (poaching), and changes in monitoring methods, we express strong scientific concerns about Wisconsin’s wolf management.

In sum, mortality data are not reported using the best available science and these data remain unclear more than 60 days after our first letter of concern and over two years after delisting. … Therefore we urge emergency relisting pending independent scientific review.

Most importantly, the wildlife biologists recommended in the Sept. 27 letter:
We recommend an independent scientific review by scientists from multiple disciplines who have peer-reviewed, scientific publications on wolf mortality, hound-hunting, or human dimensions of poaching.

The independent scientists should be chosen to avoid those with conflicts of interest or otherwise beholden to the USFWS or the WDNR. That panel should be authorized by the USFWS to inspect all data collected by the State of Wisconsin. 

In other words, Senator Baldwin, in order to obtain the best available science for making decisions regarding the management of gray wolf populations in Wisconsin, it is necessary to have knowledgable scientists from multiple disciplines who are free from conflicts of interest or other political pressures making recommendations for state regulations related to wolf management.
One last issue to mention, which is also addressed by Adrian Treves, (director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, UW-Madison) regards the justification of a wolf hunt based on a decreasing deer population:
Although consumption of deer has increased as the wolf population has grown, wolves are not driving deer numbers down to dangerous levels,” the biologist says. The biggest factor that affects our deer herd are winters and the hunting [season] harvest.

In closing, I’ve chosen to address the issue of delisting gray wolves in Wisconsin by quoting unbiased, wildlife scientists whose analysis and recommendations were presented in two letters from September 27, 2014 and October 15, 2014 to the USFWS. Using best available science, their recommendations reflect the management strategies that were envisioned when the Endangered Species Act was first created in 1973, These scientists are not beholden to politics, gun hunting organizations or environmentalists. They have used their knowledge of wolf biology to assess our current wolf management practices, and based on that knowledge, requested the gray wolf be relisted on the endangered species list in 2014.
I am asking you, Senator Baldwin, to please consider the scientific views presented by the wildlife biologists quoted in this letter when making your decision regarding delisting. I would also encourage you to read the letters in their entirety that are attached to this email. 
In addition, keep in mind that the majority of Wisconsin residents support a wolf population (2014) at least as large as the state has now, according to a survey released by the Department of Natural Resources. 
Thank you for taking the time to consider my opinions that reflect the best available science-based information I’ve presented.
I’m hopeful you’ll make the right decision to keep the gray wolf on the endangered species list and work with the USFWS and the Wisconsin DNR to provide better monitoring and management practices, which will allow transparency in evaluating gray wolf populations in the future. Currently, neither organization has provided evidence they have achieved this goal.

Sincerely,

Patricia Lowry

Madison 

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Wolves may generate cascading effects through changes in coyote distribution. 

These changes benefit hares and foxes, while also reducing the deer mouse population in some years. Journal of Mammalogy

Article Source: greatlakesecho.org Foxes join #TeamWolf versus #TeamCoyote

By Karen Hopper Usher 

It’s wolves vs coyotes vs foxes, and the effects of this competition are felt on down the food chain to deer mice, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy

Read full article click HERE: It’s what scientists call a “mesopredator release,” Flagel said. The mesopredator (medium-sized predator) is released from the conditions that keep it in check, and the effects are felt on down the food chain.

But now the wolves are coming back and there’s evidence of cascading effects caused by their return.

It shows the reversal of the effects of coyote taking over the eastern United States, Flagel said.

“What we’re seeing here is gray wolf recovery can benefit small carnivores and rabbits and hares by changing or redistributing coyotes, and also deer mice decrease in some years,” Flagel said.

This isn’t the first study that has looked at the impacts of wolves on our ecosystems, said David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “But anything that adds to enhanced understanding is beneficial as we’re making management decisions.”

And it’s not just wolves that are coming back in the upper Midwest, MacFarland said. Bears are also more common than they were.

“Large carnivore communities are doing better than they have in the past hundred years,” he said. Meanwhile, large carnivores in other parts of the world are in “significant peril.”
Scientific reaction to the study has so far been positive, Flagel said. He’s been presenting his findings at wildlife conferences.

Flagel’s team was the first do a study like this at such a fine scale, Flagel said, and that’s important because that’s where the wolf, fox and coyote interactions are happening. 

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Please take action to protect Michigan’s wolves 

Please take action for Michigan’s wolves. Call or tweet Michigan’s Governor ask him to Veto SB 1187.In the 2014 general election, Michigan voters soundly rejected two referendums on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s small population of wolves. But now, the Michigan legislature has rushed through another bill, SB 1187, to once again designate wolves as a game species to be hunted and trapped—in spite of that public rejection of an almost identical measure at the ballot box just two years ago. This bill is now on the desk of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Governor Snyder should veto SB 1187. Michigan citizens have stated in no uncertain terms that they do not support the recreational hunting and trapping of wolves. Your voice is needed now to protect Michigan’s wolves.


Tweet at Governor Snyder using any of the pre-written messages, urging him to veto SB 1187. Click on one of the following messages, and you’ll automatically be sent to Twitter to send your tweet!  

Links here: To tweet the Governor click here for instructions

For updates please go to: Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Facebook page click HERE

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Photography by John E Marriott

Urgent action alert: Michigan wolves need you now…

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Michigan wolf advocates: SB 1187 could be voted on in the Michigan House of Representatives as early as TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 13! Please contact you House member TODAY and ask her or him to vote NO on SB 1187! Here’s a graphic you can tweet or share. Find your Representative at http://house.mi.gov/MHRPublic/, which will direct you to their websites with social media contact info. Make the call now!

Michigan bill is basically identical to previous legislation that was nullified by referendum voters and the courts

Michigan wolf hunting would be reauthorized under lame-duck bill Source

LANSING, MI — A Republican senator has introduced lame-duck legislation that would reauthorize Michigan wildlife mangers to classify gray wolves as a game species if the animal is ever removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list after a 2014 law which allowed that was stuck down by an appeals court.
Senate Bill 1187, introduced by state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, on Dec. 1, comes nine days after the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a 2015 Michigan Court of Claims ruling that upheld the state Natural Resources Commission’s authority to open a hunting season on Michigan wolves.
The bill has bypassed committee and goes directly to the Senate floor. It’s not clear when it’s scheduled for a vote.

Jill Fritz, who led the campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said the bill is basically identical to previous legislative and ballot-initiated laws to allow wolf hunting that were nullified by referendum voters and the courts.
The bill would amend the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act and includes a $1 million appropriation for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a provision that would make it referendum-proof.
“This is an issue that’s been gone over and over and over again,” said Fritz, the director of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States.
“The people have voted on this already.”
“Why are they so eager to open a hunting season on this small population of wolves that by official Michigan Department of Natural Resources population estimates has declined since 2012?” she said.

Casperson’s office did not immediately return a call for comment about the bill. Casperson, whose term ends in 2018, lost a bid for the state’s 1st U.S. House congressional district to Jack Bergman in the Republican primary this year. He is current chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Casperson is a vocal advocate for wolf hunting who sponsored legislation that enabled Michigan’s 2013 wolf hunt after the species was temporarily removed from the federal endangered list. He later apologized on the Senate floor for introducing a resolution to hunt wolves that fabricated an incident about three wolves being shot outside an Upper Peninsula daycare center.

Nonetheless, he supports hunting to protect livestock from attacks and has framed the issue before as a disconnect between downstate and U.P. voters.
Twenty-three wolves were killed during the state managed hunt. There was no hunt in 2014, when statewide voters overturned the enabling laws.
In 2014, a federal judge overturned the last delisting of Great Lakes wolves. In a controversial opinion, the judge ruled the Endangered Species Act does not allow the government to declare a “distinct population segment” of a species recovered and then drop protection within that zone on a map.
Wolves are presently listed as endangered in Michigan and cannot be killed except in the defense of human life. There have been multiple bills in Congress since the federal order to strip wolf protection in several states.

In November, a three-judge state appeals court panel sided with the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign lawsuit, which argued the ballot-initiated law that re-enabled wolf hunting — the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, also known as Public Act 281 of 2014 — attached unrelated provisions like free hunting licenses for veterans in order to entice petition signers.
Judges said the law violates the “title-object clause” of the Michigan constitution.
Fritz said she and other wolf hunting opponents would be traveling to Lansing to speak out against S.B. 1187 on Tuesday. The bill dies if it’s not passed by both chambers on Dec. 15 and signed by the governor, although nothing would stop Casperson or another lawmaker from reintroducing the bill next year.

Bait and switch bites wolf hunting proponents

From the editorial board of The Times Herald November 26, 2016

For once, Michigan Legislators’ maneuvers to advance their agenda and satisfy special interests despite public opposition has backfired on them.
In 2014, Michigan voters rejected, by large margins, two proposals that would have legalized wolf hunting in the state. Despite voters’ opposition, the Legislature soon after passed a law allowing the Natural Resources Commission to designate gray wolves as game animals and Gov. Rick Snyder signed it.
To reinforce their disdain for voters, the law included a $1 million appropriation that blocked wolf-hunt opponents from taking it back to voters for another referendum. The conniving didn’t end there. First, the law makes no mention of hunting wolves, although everyone — politicians, lobbyists, opponents and critics — knew that was its point.
Second, just to make sure nobody could call it the classless, cynical ploy that it was, they wrapped the flag around it. The law includes a provision for free hunting and fishing licenses for members of the military.
Fortunately for wolves, bait-and-switch legislation isn’t legal. The state Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional this week.
The “title-object clause” of the Michigan constitution requires lawmakers to be honest and transparent. Lawmakers may not adopt a bill titled “scientific wildlife management,” for instance, when the contents of the bill are something else entirely. A bill named “Legalizing wolf hunting despite voter opposition” would have passed the test, though.
The clause also requires a law to serve a single purpose. A bill that legalizes wolf hunting and also gives away free fishing licenses violates that standard.
The Court of Appeals gives a victory to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, the group that sued over the 2014 law, and helps it slap lawmakers.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected called the bill as a Trojan horse, with legalizing wolf-hunting “cleverly hidden” among the law’s meandering provisions. There was nothing clever about it; everyone knew. Now the court has made explicit the Legislature’s perfidy.
The fight has moved to Washington, D.C., where lobbyists seek to overturn a federal court ruling that wolves were removed illegally from the Endangered Species List. Let’s hope Congress acts with honesty and transparency. Source

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Michigan coyote hunter on trail: charges stem from a YouTube video of hunting dogs attacking and killing a wounded coyote. Jury finds not guilty…

Update: Friday 4/29/16 (there is no justice for this coyote) 
Bessemer – After about two hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury cleared Jason Charles Roberts, 35, of Ironwood, of all charges in Gogebic County Circuit Court Thursday.  Source

Source: DNR’s Emery testifies in second day of coyote trial

By RICHARD JENKINS

 

GOGEBIC COUNTY Prosecutor Nick Jacobs, right, questions DNR Sgt. Grant Emery, second from right, Wednesday during the trial of Jason Charles Roberts. Also in the courtroom were, from left, Gogebic County Clerk Gerry Pelissero and Circuit Court Judge Michael Pope.

 
Bessemer – The second day of Jason Charles Roberts’ trial on animal cruelty charges in Gogebic Circuit Court consisted of testimony by Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Grant Emery Wednesday.
Roberts faces a felony charge of torturing an animal and misdemeanors for cruelty to an animal and failure to kill a wounded animal. The first charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison, while the others have maximum sentences of 93 days and 90 days, respectively.
The charges stem from a YouTube video of hunting dogs attacking and killing a wounded coyote.

Bessemer – The second day of Jason Charles Roberts’ trial on animal cruelty charges in Gogebic Circuit Court consisted of testimony by Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Grant Emery Wednesday.
Roberts faces a felony charge of torturing an animal and misdemeanors for cruelty to an animal and failure to kill a wounded animal. The first charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison, while the others have maximum sentences of 93 days and 90 days, respectively.
The charges stem from a YouTube video of hunting dogs attacking and killing a wounded coyote.
Gogebic County Prosecutor Nick Jacobs began his direct examination of Emery by establishing Emery’s basic resume, including his 17-year career as a conservation officer and his love of the outdoors.
“Conservation officers – it’s more than a job, it’s a way of life for us,” Emery said.
Emery testified the nature of his job gives him the discretion to determine when to issue citations and when to simply give a warning.
Jacobs followed this line of questioning by establishing the timeline of Emery’s investigation into the YouTube video.
Once Emery established what the prosecution viewed as the basic facts of the case, Jacobs began a series of hypothetical scenarios questioning what laws required of hunters related to the dispatching of game animals.
Emery told jurors hunters are obligated to immediately dispatch wounded game animals and make a reasonable effort to retrieve game.
“Immediate to me means without delay. The hunters code of ethics that we follow – we want clean, quick kills,” Emery said. “Killing an animal is violent, and we all understand that. Killing is violent – but quick and clean, that’s what we want.”
He acknowledged different styles of hunting allowed different standards for what constituted immediately killing the animal, using the example of waiting hours before pursuing a deer shot with a bow as an example.
Emery testified the standards largely depended on what the common practices of the hunting style were, later testifying some delays dispatching game was allowed if it enhanced the ability to retrieve the dead animal. Such as allowing a deer to “lie and die” when shot rather than pursuing it immediately.
Jacobs also asked Emery about testimony he gave during previous court appearances in the case.
Emery testified that while he previously testified dogs were allowed to kill game in Michigan and the owner of a hunting dog wasn’t obligated to dispatch an animal wounded by someone else, a recent review of the game regulations showed him both of those assertions were incorrect.
While dogs were allowed to be used in the tracking and pursuit of game, Emery told the jury his interpretation of the law after reviewing additional sections was that dogs killing game animals was prohibited.
He said while accidental kills were technically a violation, he likely wouldn’t cite hunters in those cases as there wasn’t an intent to have the dogs kill game.
Jacobs also entered several pieces of evidence into the record, including a copy of the video Emery obtained from Google – YouTube’s parent company – and accompanying documentation.
Roberts’ attorney, Roy Polich, objected to the inclusion of the evidence Emery obtained from Google. Polich made several arguments explaining his objection, including his belief that while Emery was able to establish the video sent by Google was indeed the video on YouTube that prompted the case, he couldn’t testify that it was an accurate depiction of the hunt.
Polich said while Emery believed the video was shot in February 2014 and showed illegal activity, there is no way to know the date of the hunt or what actually happened in the woods because Emery’s sole source of information is the video – which didn’t come to his attention until approximately a month after it was uploaded.
He compared the admission of the video to a photograph, arguing Michigan’s rules of evidence usually required the photographer or someone present when the photo was taken who can testify the photo is accurate.
“In this case, the first time this witness looked at (the video), by even the download date, was a month later. So, when was it taken? We don’t know. Where was it taken? We don’t know,” Polich said.
Gogebic County Circuit Court Judge Michael Pope ruled the video could be used as evidence in the case – saying among the date, location and events surrounding the hunt are things the prosecution has to establish during the trial – but ruled other information obtained from Google regarding unrelated material wasn’t going to be entered as evidence.
Jacob’s questioning also included showing the YouTube video, followed by Emery testifying on the video’s content.
Following Jacobs’ direct examination, Polich cross-examined Emery.
Among the areas Polich focused on during his cross was the change in Emery’s understanding of the law between previous hearings and Wednesday and if Wednesday’s interpretation of the law was an objective reading of the relevant text.
“Where does it say dogs are not allowed to kill game,” Polich asked after Emery read what he said was the applicable law.
Emery responded that it wasn’t listed as an allowed activity in the law.
“Why would you tell this jury and this court that (the section of law) says they can’t kill game,” Polich asked.
Emery responded that the prohibition on dogs killing game was his interpretation of the text.
“So not only you didn’t know about it … the last two times you testified, now you have a new interpretation of it.”
Emery disputed the idea it was a new interpretation, arguing he didn’t have a previous interpretation.
Polich also raised the change in understanding of the law regarding the responsibility of the dog owner.
He also pressed on the requirement that game be immediately dispatched, arguing the coyote in the video was alive for a much shorter time than game is allowed to be in other types of hunting.
“You already agree that it took (the dog that killed the coyote) less than a minute,” Polich asked. “So if we presume that there is no law that says a dog can’t kill a coyote – you know we’re just talking about (the immediate kill requirement) – was perhaps (the dog) the best method to quickly kill this coyote?”
Polich asked if given the circumstances of the hunt – which he said occurred in deep snow and where all the ammunition was used – the use of a dog to kill the coyote was more humane than any of the available alternatives. Emery disagreed with the idea that using the dogs was humane, citing possible alternatives including clubbing or stabbing the animal depending on what was available.
Polich’s line of questioning continued in an effort to show jurors that the use of dogs to kill game was as standard in coyote hunting as not immediately pursuing wounded deer while bow hunting.
The trial continues at 9 a.m. today.