Tag Archives: Trophy Hunting

Controversial Wisconsin Natural Resources Board vote on November 2021 wolf hunt

WPR A Look At The 2021 Fall Wolf Hunt Quota Of 300 By Tim Peterson Air Date: Friday, August 13, 2021, 4:00pm

Wisconsin Public Radio speaks with reporter Danelle Kaeding and retired wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven to learn more about a controversial new quota set for a fall wolf hunt in Wisconsin.

Listen to Recording from Wisconsin Public Radio

And you can catch the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting on YouTube

John E. Marriott Photography credit

Opinion: Wolf politics in Wisconsin have been contentious for a long time

Gray Wolf photograph credit Voyageurs Wolf Project.

The following is a comprehensive piece on Wisconsin’s recent wolf hunt. The Fraught Politics of Wolf Hunts by Jill Richardson from Counter Punch Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In late February, Wisconsin held a wolf hunt. Hunters shot over 200 wolves — 82 percent morethan the quota allowed.

The hunt occurred during wolves’ breeding season. It’s likely some of the wolves were pregnant, but we don’t know how many. As a result, the effect on Wisconsin’s wolf population could be even greater.

Why did this happen? Because a right-wing group sued and forced the hunt to go forward ahead of schedule.

State law requires that a wolf hunt is held between October 15 and the last day of February in any year wolves are not listed as endangered. Early this January, wolves were de-listed. The state had planned to hold its first hunt in November, allowing time for the appropriate planning.

But a judge agreed with the right-wing group that, by the letter of the law, the state had to hold a hunt before then. So this February they did — at the last minute, without planning or public or tribal input, during wolves’ breeding season, using hounds.

As a result, with the hunting methods allowed (86 percent of the wolves were taken by hounds) and the reporting requirements (hunters have up to 24 hours to report a kill), the kills racked up too fast for the state to respond in time.

As a Wisconsin resident, I am sad this happened. This just increased the polarization on an already polarized issue.

Across the country, hunting can be a major source of conflict among environmentalists who oppose hunting, hunters who want to hunt, and farmers and ranchers who want to protect their livestock.

This happens to be the issue I’m writing my dissertation on — but my research is on a much more hopeful case study. I study collaborative, participatory approaches to wildlife management. When everyone is at the table together, they can find ways to achieve everyone’s goals.

For example, in several western states, the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife will cover up to half the cost of electric fences for ranchers to help keep their livestock safe from grizzly bears.

The fences give ranchers peace of mind and keep livestock safe from grizzly bears. As a result, fewer bears are killed by humans. Both ranchers and environmentalists benefit by working together.

Environmentalists and hunters differ in some ways, but they share plenty of common ground. Both are often strong advocates of public land. And in Montana right now, hunting groups are organizing against bills in the legislature to allow trapping wolves with neck snares or bait. No doubt environmental groups stand on the same side of those issues.

Even when people disagree on some pretty big things (should wolves be hunted at all?), they can still find some mutual understanding. For example, we can agree that it’s better if wolves don’t eat people’s pets or livestock.

Even when you disagree, it’s still worth hearing the other side out. My research shows that collaboration requires listening, respecting, and being kind to one another. Think about it: how much do you listen to someone else if they don’t listen to you? Not much, probably.

When one group uses force to get their way at all costs — as happened in Wisconsin — the other side becomes angrier. It makes consensus even harder to reach. Collaboration requires trust, and trust is much harder to achieve once it has been violated.

Wolf politics in Wisconsin have been contentious for a long time, and what just happened set us back even more. It mirrors the polarization in the entire country, and it’s a shame. But the research is clear: The solutions are there, when we’re ready to work together.

Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Action Alert: Wisconsin hunters will be killing pregnant female gray wolves starting Monday February 22, 2021

Photograph of gray wolves credit John E Marriott

I had hope that Wisconsin could manage gray wolves, but they have shown otherwise by such acts of barbarism towards the gray wolf.

Gray wolves need your help! Please take action by contacting The White House to let the Biden Administration know what’s happening to Wisconsin’s gray wolf just fresh off the Endangered Species List on January 4, 2021. You can email the White House through the following link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and you can call the White House (202) 456-1111. On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order that was issued last week. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list. Please share this action alert with other concerned advocates.

The appeal has been denied as of Friday February 19th now it’s even more important that advocates take action and let the Biden Administration know how Wisconsin’s gray wolf is being managed.

Rachel Tilseth, wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

January and February is prime breeding season for gray wolves. In her testimony, HSUS Wisconsin State Director Megan Nicholson addressed the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, urging them to reject the DNR’s proposed quota of 200 wolves and set a quota of zero.

“Opening an immediate trophy hunting season is scientifically unsupportable,” she said. “Allowing wolf trophy hunting and trapping at any level has dire consequences like destroying pack structure and leaving yearling pups to starve, and experts warn that allowing hunting at the excessive level outlined in the state’s current Management Plan is indefensible and could put wolves into significant jeopardy.”Nicholson added that holding a season in February will magnify harms to stable wolf packs and urged the board to take more time “to make informed and transparent decisions based on sound science, meaningful tribal consultation, and with the input of diverse stakeholders.”

Collette Adkins from Center for Biological Diversity said:

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

In an interview I told WPR reporter Danelle Kaeding my concerns about holding a wolf hunt in February. Wolf advocates have also expressed concerns over holding the harvest in the middle of the animal’s breeding season. Rachel Tilseth, wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, fears holding a hunt now will only lead to negative outcomes for both hunters and wolves.

“They’re very territorial. So now you throw dogs into that — what’s going to happen there? It’s going to be a bloodbath,” said Tilseth. “There’s going to be a lot of fighting. Also, how is that going to affect the population if the females are pregnant right now? That’s going to have an impact on the health of the population. They have never ran a wolf hunt during January and February so this is going to be quite the mess because wolves are very territorial right now.”

Dylan Jennings, public information director with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the wolf or Ma’iingan is a keystone species or relative for the commission’s member tribes and represents an iconic emblem of their clan systems or forms of government. Source WPR interview

Peter David, wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the court’s ruling was a tremendous disappointment.

“This hunt is not well-thought-out, well planned, totally inadequate consultation with the tribes,” said David. “And maybe the biggest concern of all is that this season is not so much a hunting season as it is a killing season. No justification, really, was given for what was the legitimate purpose other than killing wolves.” Source WPR Reporter Danelle Kaeding

Please take action to protect Wisconsin’s gray wolf

Our natural resources agency is sanctioning the hunting down of pregnant females with hound hunting dogs starting this Monday February 22 through Sunday the 28th. This act violates the public’s trust and shatters all ethical hunting standards. They are not serving or protecting Wisconsin’s wildlife. They’re slaughtering pregnant female gray wolves. I had hope that Wisconsin could manage gray wolves, but they have shown otherwise by such acts of barbarism towards the gray wolf. Please take action by contacting the Biden Administration. Please email the White House through the following link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

The following is important background information on what’s been happening to Wisconsin’s gray wolves since they were officially taken off the Endangered Species List on January 4, 2021.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wants to Kill 200 wolves in the Next Two Weeks

Lindsey Botts Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media Author

Photo credit John E Marriott
http://www.wolvesofdougladcountywisconsin.com

On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order that was issued last week. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list.

Dave Macfarland, wildlife researcher for the DNR, said the quota for 200 wolves was devised using two previous studies on wolf mortality. The studies concluded that wolf populations can be stabilized by killing up to between 22% – 29%. The DNR estimates that there are almost 1200 wolves in Wisconsin, which means the number is approximately 16% of the population. However, non-hunting activities, like car accidents; poaching; and depredation control, account for around 14% of wolf mortality. These two percentages combined get the DNR to the upper limits of what the reviewed studies say is a healthy wolf mortality rate.

“There’s going to be uncertainty”, said Macfarland in today’s broadcast of the special meeting. “And so the outcomes of this quota could result in population decline. They could result in stabilization. They could result in some level of increase. And that’s just inherent in populations of this size.”

The state divided the state into six management areas. The northern parts account for the largest percentages of wolves killed. The DNR is hoping to kill 62 wolves in zone 1, where Douglas County is located. This is the most of any of the six areas. In zone 2, which is the northeastern part of the state, the DNR hopes to kill 33 wolves. And in zone 3, which is situated just under zone 1, they expect to kill 40.

The decision to start the wolf hunt at the end of the season is a complete about-face from last month’s decision to wait until the fall. This would have given the DNR staff time to assess the population, devise a new wolf management plan, and solicit public feedback. However, a group of hunting advocates filed a lawsuit last week because they felt the hunt should be held as soon as possible because they fear that wolves may be relisted by the fall. This goes against the will of the overwhelming number of tribes that spoke out against holding a hunt so soon. And it goes against the will of most Wisconsinites, who do not favor holding a wolf hunt at all.

This move is controversial for many reasons including rushed timing, lack of an updated wolf plan, and clear political push, but one of the biggest issues is that it takes place during the breeding season, which means pregnant wolves will likely be killed.

The concern for holding a wolf hunt so soon and without thoroughly updated science has not gone unnoticed. In fact, one day after last week’s court order directly the DNR to hold a hunt, the DNR and Natural Resources Board filed an appeal seeking a stay that would halt the hunt. A decision on that is expected by the end of today.

One thing that has not been answered is whether or not the new wolf numbers will be factored into an updated wolf plan. The old plan from 1999 estimated that Wisconsin could hold 350 wolves. Since then, that number has been the goal. However, new science and counts say that the natural carrying capacity is actually closer to 1000.

What the department has to decide now is whether they want to be lead by science or lead by a misguided but vocal minority who want to suppress the wolf population down to as low as it can go.

Will the gray wolf, an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process?

Rachel Tilseth Author & Founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media

Image of gray wolves credit Voyageurs Wolf Project http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

In the latest round of gray wolf delisting news, a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. The plaintiff’s complaint states:

The Department of Natural Resources refuses to comply with
unambiguous state law requiring it to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. This refusal violates the constitutional and statutory rights of hunters throughout the State of Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court order DNR to obey the lawful commands of the Legislature that created it and immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping wolves.

The state law the complaint refers to is 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states:

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) 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. 

A recreational hunt is not in the best interest of people or gray wolves.

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Thus, the DNR is mandated by the law to manage a wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  The plaintiff’s want the DNR to immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping on wolves. And hunters get use dogs to track and trail wolves. That’s bad for gray wolves. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves..

Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season. On Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board met virtually for a special meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. The public was invited to weigh in and the following was my comment on it.

Hunters want to run their dogs on wolves during prime breeding season.

January and February is prime breeding season for wolves. As a volunteer Wisconsin DNR wolf tracker I’ve witnessed how wolves behave this time of year. Holding a wolf hunt during this time would be disastrous for grey wolves and the wolf hunter’s dogs. Here’s why. During January I’ve followed wolf tracks and witnessed the entire wolf pack moving along the border of their territory

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Following wolf tracks in January revealed how they behave during breeding season. Every member of the pack followed the alpha pair as they scent marked along the road. The road was a mile long and the alpha pair scent marked every tenth of a mile. At the end of the road I found a tiny snow-covered pine sapling with rust colored urine on it. The rust colored urine indicated the alpha female was in estrus. A tracker knows that sign reveals wolves are in prime breeding season. All of these signs from the alpha pair took place on the border territory indicating this was an aggressive act meant to declare territory.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if you threw wolf hunters into the mix running their dogs on wolves during wolf prime breeding. I’m against this, and I’m sure other Wisconsinites, if given the facts about grey wolf prime breeding season, would not be in favor of a hunt at this time of the year either.

Senator Rob Stafsholt, a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, is pushing for an immediate wolf hunt. 

Rob Stafsholt has become a representative, and now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district and is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement  Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt. So now instead of accepting the NRB decision a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc has filed a lawsuit to immediately open a wolf hunt in February during prime breeding season. I asked Collette Adkins what she thought of the lawsuit.

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

Wolf hunters in Wisconsin killed 528 wolves from 2012 through 2014 before a federal judge ruled in 2014 must be placed back on the endangered species list. Gray Wolf

Furthermore, the The Plaintiff, Hilgemann, President and CEO and a member of Hunter Nation, “would like to exercise his constitutional and statutory rights to hunt wolves…” Lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc. 

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

But what about the rights of the volunteer DNR wolf trackers? Trackers count wolves during the winter months.  What will happen to wolf trackers when hunters run their dogs thru the woods at the same time? How can trackers get an accurate count if a hunter”s dogs disperse wolf packs? 

The Biden administration ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s delisting of gray wolves.

Just one week after President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily asserted today that the previous administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org press release.

Is the lawsuit frivolous, baseless and without merit; not worth the judges time?

In the end, it is up to a judge to determine whether or not the plaintiff’s case is baseless or not. Will an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process? Will DNR get to update the wolf management plan allowing the public to weigh in?

Update as of 02/15/21 a judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation Inc’s lawsuit and the ruling ordered DNR to open a hunt immediately. The NRB just opened a wolf hunt starting on 02/22/21 setting a quota at 200 wolves. The following is part of my interview with WPR. Click the listen now button in the link: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1761701

In short, a more inclusive, scientifically sound, culturally sensitive and publicly supported wolf program would be much more likely to garner success in removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Adrian Wydeven, Good stewardship is key to removing wolf from endangered list

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

Wisconsin gray wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

A conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. On Thursday February 11th a Jefferson county judge sided with pro wolf hunters and ordered the WDNR, NRB to open a wolf hunt immediately. There will be an appeal. But in the meantime, with a couple weeks left in February before the wolf hunting season ends, will there be time to set a quota which must be approved by the Natural Resources Board along with public input. Thus will the attempt to usurp the democratic process by a few disgruntled pro wolf hunters fail?

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

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

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

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

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

The following is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Press Release

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

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board 
Announces Special Meeting Feb. 15

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

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

The virtual meeting will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, originating from the Public Meeting Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-2 as listed on the agenda.

The public can watch the Special Meeting via Zoom here. If the meeting is at capacity and you are unable to join, the Special Meeting will also be livestreamed here.

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

The NRB will also meet virtually for the upcoming board meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, to consider several proposed emergency rules and donations. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7-8 as listed on the Agenda. More information is available here.

Will the gray wolf, an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process?

Image of gray wolves credit Voyageurs Wolf Project http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

In the latest round of gray wolf delisting news, a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. The plaintiff’s complaint states:

The Department of Natural Resources refuses to comply with
unambiguous state law requiring it to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. This refusal violates the constitutional and statutory rights of hunters throughout the State of Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court order DNR to obey the lawful commands of the Legislature that created it and immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping wolves.

The state law the complaint refers to is 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states:

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) 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. 

A recreational hunt is not in the best interest of people or gray wolves.

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Thus, the DNR is mandated by the law to manage a wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  The plaintiff’s want the DNR to immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping on wolves. And hunters get use dogs to track and trail wolves. That’s bad for gray wolves. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves..

Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season. On Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board met virtually for a special meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. The public was invited to weigh in and the following was my comment on it.

Hunters want to run their dogs on wolves during prime breeding season.

January and February is prime breeding season for wolves. As a volunteer Wisconsin DNR wolf tracker I’ve witnessed how wolves behave this time of year. Holding a wolf hunt during this time would be disastrous for grey wolves and the wolf hunter’s dogs. Here’s why. During January I’ve followed wolf tracks and witnessed the entire wolf pack moving along the border of their territory

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Following wolf tracks in January revealed how they behave during breeding season. Every member of the pack followed the alpha pair as they scent marked along the road. The road was a mile long and the alpha pair scent marked every tenth of a mile. At the end of the road I found a tiny snow-covered pine sapling with rust colored urine on it. The rust colored urine indicated the alpha female was in estrus. A tracker knows that sign reveals wolves are in prime breeding season. All of these signs from the alpha pair took place on the border territory indicating this was an aggressive act meant to declare territory.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if you threw wolf hunters into the mix running their dogs on wolves during wolf prime breeding. I’m against this, and I’m sure other Wisconsinites, if given the facts about grey wolf prime breeding season, would not be in favor of a hunt at this time of the year either.

Senator Rob Stafsholt, a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, is pushing for an immediate wolf hunt.

Rob Stafsholt has become a representative, and now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district and is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement  Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt. So now instead of accepting the NRB decision a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc has filed a lawsuit to immediately open a wolf hunt in February during prime breeding season. I asked Collette Adkins what she thought of the lawsuit.

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

 

Furthermore, the The Plaintiff, Hilgemann, President and CEO and a member of Hunter Nation, “would like to exercise his constitutional and statutory rights to hunt wolves…” Lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc.

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

But what about the rights of the volunteer DNR wolf trackers? Trackers count wolves during the winter months.  What will happen to wolf trackers when hunters run their dogs thru the woods at the same time? How can trackers get an accurate count if a hunter”s dogs disperse wolf packs? 

The Biden administration ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s delisting of gray wolves.

Just one week after President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily asserted today that the previous administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org press release.

Is the lawsuit frivolous, baseless and without merit; not worth the judges time?

In the end, it is up to a judge to determine whether or not the plaintiff’s case is baseless or not. Will an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process? Will DNR get to update the wolf management plan allowing the public to weigh in?

Update as of 02/15/21 a judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation Inc’s lawsuit and the ruling ordered DNR to open a hunt immediately. The NRB just opened a wolf hunt starting on 02/22/21 setting a quota at 200 wolves. The following is part of my interview with WPR. Click the listen now button in the link: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1761701

In short, a more inclusive, scientifically sound, culturally sensitive and publicly supported wolf program would be much more likely to garner success in removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Adrian Wydeven, Good stewardship is key to removing wolf from endangered list

Public is Invited to Comment at a Special Natural Resources Board Meeting: As GOP Legislators Push to Establish a Trophy Wolf Hunt

Photograph credit John E Marriott

This Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Im a wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, was glad to hear the DNR is holding off on a wolf hunt. WPR I oppose a recreational hunt on wolves because we have to take a look at the species and manage the species for its health. I would like to see an updated wolf management plan that includes broad public input along with an updated survey on public attitudes toward wolves. And so would many Wisconsinites. Wisconsin’s Green Fire released a report outlining its recommendations for wolf management. Source.

The following news article is from Wisconsin Public Radio 

Adrian Wydeven, a former DNR biologist, now serves as co-chair of the wildlife work group for Wisconsin’s Green Fire. He said in a briefing on the report before the DNR’s announcement that the group is proposing the agency maintain the wolf population.

“Until a new wolf conservation plan is in place, we encourage (them) to maintain the population near current levels, which are estimated to be between 866 to 1,034 wolves,” said Wydeven. 

He said it’s important the wolf population not be drastically reduced until a new management plan is developed.

Fellow group member, Peter David, a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said during a briefing on the report that they’re also making recommendations that the state have separate wolf committees and wolf stakeholder groups in the development of a wolf management plan.

“That’s really in the best interest, I think, of the Wisconsin public,” said David. “It also, frankly, I think, serves the tribes better to separate out some of the best science recommendations and those social recommendations and keep those distinct from each other until some sausage has to be made with them in the end.”

The group is also recommending changes to state law to ensure the agency has authority over the wolf harvest and wolf management. They also want to ensure that tribal rights and interests are considered in management plans since the wolf is culturally significant to Wisconsin tribes.

Wisconsin hunters killed 528 wolves in the three seasons a hunt was held in the state before the animal was placed back on the endangered species list.

In the following, press release from WDNR, the public is invited to submit comments.

Press Release from Wisconsin Natural Resources Board announces special meeting Jan. 22

Contact: Laurie Ross, NRB Board Liaison
Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov or 608-267-7420
DNR Office of Communications
DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

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

The virtual meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, originating from the Public Meeting Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-2 as listed on the agenda.

The public can watch the Special Meeting via Zoom here. If the meeting is at capacity and you are unable to join, the Special Meeting will also be livestreamed here.

Although the public will not be allowed to attend the meeting in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the public is encouraged to participate. The deadline for remote public appearance requests and written comments is 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

Please submit written comments on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021 here. More information on how to testify before the Board is available here.

The NRB will also meet virtually for the upcoming board meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 to consider several proposed emergency rules and donations. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7-8 as listed on the agenda. More information is available here.

On Wednesday January 13, Wisconsin Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage will Hold a Hearing on Reinstating the Wolf Hunting Season

Take action to protect Wisconsin’s grey wolf. There is a hearing on the wolf hunt this Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 10 am. Room 412 east.

Wisconsin grey wolf. Photograph credit snapshot Wisconsin.

They will be accepting public comments. On January 13, 2021, the Senate Committee on Sporting Hearing , Small Business and Rural Issues, and the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage will hold a joint informational hearing on reinstating the wolf harvesting season in 2021.

Joint Committee on Sporting Heritage 10:00 am

This is a informational hearing only and public comments are allowed.

Click on Senator’s name for contact information and let them know you want the Wolf Management plan updated along with a public wolf attitudes survey.


Senator Stafsholt (Chair)

Senator Petrowski (Vice-Chair)

Committee Clerk

Shelby Schmudlach

Legislative Council Staff

Anna Henning

Members

Senator Stafsholt (Chair)

Senator Petrowski (Vice-Chair)

Senator Wimberger

Senator Smith

Senator Wirch

The chair is Senator Rob Stafsholt a bear hunter with a bone to pick because he uses dogs to track and trail bears. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television show on the committee chairmen Chairman’s Email:
Sen.Stafsholt@legis.wisconsin.gov

Rachel Tilseth, wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, said she’s glad to hear the DNR is holding off on a wolf hunt. WPR

“I oppose a recreational hunt on wolves because we have to take a look at the species and manage the species for its health,” she said.

She would like to see an updated wolf management plan that includes broad public input along with an updated survey on public attitudes toward wolves.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire released a report outlining its recommendations for wolf management. Source

The following news article is from Wisconsin Public Radio

Adrian Wydeven, a former DNR biologist, now serves as co-chair of the wildlife work group for Wisconsin’s Green Fire. He said in a briefing on the report before the DNR’s announcement that the group is proposing the agency maintain the wolf population.

“Until a new wolf conservation plan is in place, we encourage (them) to maintain the population near current levels, which are estimated to be between 866 to 1,034 wolves,” said Wydeven. 

He said it’s important the wolf population not be drastically reduced until a new management plan is developed.

Fellow group member, Peter David, a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said during a briefing on the report that they’re also making recommendations that the state have separate wolf committees and wolf stakeholder groups in the development of a wolf management plan.

“That’s really in the best interest, I think, of the Wisconsin public,” said David. “It also, frankly, I think, serves the tribes better to separate out some of the best science recommendations and those social recommendations and keep those distinct from each other until some sausage has to be made with them in the end.”

The group is also recommending changes to state law to ensure the agency has authority over the wolf harvest and wolf management. They also want to ensure that tribal rights and interests are considered in management plans since the wolf is culturally significant to Wisconsin tribes.

Wisconsin hunters killed 528 wolves in the three seasons a hunt was held in the state before the animal was placed back on the endangered species list.

People & Wolves Talk Show Explores the Concepts of “Compassionate Conservation”

Photograph credit John E Marriott

Our next show will be all about Compassionate Conservation.
Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin believes Compassionate Conservation is the future, developed first by Born Free Foundation.
The following Compassionate Conservation concepts are from Born Free Foundation.

Our host Alexander Vaeth

First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice, and an acknowledgement that invasive interventions may harm individuals, populations, and ecosystems.
Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild and in captivity
Valuing all wildlife as worthy of conservation effort, whether native or introduced, whether common or rare, and regardless of perceived usefulness to humans
Peaceful coexistence with wildlife is the ultimate aim guiding compassionate conservation practices.

Continue reading People & Wolves Talk Show Explores the Concepts of “Compassionate Conservation”

There’s a push to hold a wolf hunt even though there’s no updated state management plan in Wisconsin.

A wolf hunt in Wisconsin could happen as early as January 2021. The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association is pushing for a wolf hunt without allowing the public to weigh in. As it stands now with any delisting, because of the Walker administration’s legislation that mandated a wolf hunt, the WDNR has no choice, but to implement and manage a wolf hunt. There isn’t an updated wolf management plan. Updating the 1999 wolf management plan would require public input. And so it should! Wisconsinites I urge you to contact your state representatives and ask them to update the Wisconsin wolf management plan. To find your representatives click HERE

A Wisconsin grey Wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin.

I’ve been involved in Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery plan since the year 2000. The concern I have with the state management of its gray wolf is the legislative mandated wolf hunt. Wisconsin law, Act 169 states: if the wolf is not listed on the federal or Wisconsin endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. A legislative mandated hunt of a species just off the ESL goes far beyond reason and usurps the Democratic process. Why did the legislature jump in making it “law” to hunt wolves in Wisconsin in the first place?

As it stands now with any delisting, because of the Walker administration’s legislation that mandated a wolf hunt, the WDNR has no choice, but to implement and manage wolf hunt.

That rush to hunt wolves by the Walker administration only led to a lawsuit. In 2013 a lawsuit by Humane Society of the United States and others aimed to halt the wolf hunting seasons in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and put the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes area back on the endangered species list. After three years of wolf hunting, including the controversial use of dogs, it led to a federal judge ordering that endangered species protection for gray wolves must immediately be restored in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The decision put an end to controversial hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Once again, this October 2020, Feds removed the gray wolf from endangered species list, returning management to Wisconsin and other states. With this latest delisting it seems the state is on the way to repeating these mistakes again. Rob Stafsholt, a Wisconsin bear hunter is pushing for a wolf hunt to begin as early as January 2021.

Rob Stafsholt, a Wisconsin Bear hunter, and is now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters are pushing for a wolf hunt without allowing the public to weigh in. There isn’t an updated wolf management plan. Updating the 1999 wolf plan would requires public input.

Wolves should be returned back into the hands of the Department of Natural Resources where citizen’s will be allowed to weigh in. First and foremost is updating the 1999 grey wolf Management plan. A plan that allows input from all stakeholders not just Wisconsin Bear Hounders.

Wisconsinites I urge you to contact your state representatives and ask them to update the Wisconsin wolf management plan. To find your representatives click HERE

The grey wolf is part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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