Snare Traps Indiscriminate Killers, Land Mines Concealed in the Wilderness

…Snare Trap is a device concealed underground and baited with tantalizing attractive scents capable of causing great suffering for its victims. A male Timber wolf in northern Minnesota became the latest victim of a snare trap. He became caught in a snare trap meant to catch and ensnare small game. The snare meant for small game, became wrapped tightly around the muzzle of the male wolf. Can we even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that occurred as a result of this man-made killing device. How could the male wolf have known the tantalizing scents concealed a land mine known as a snare trap and set in his home range. The more an unsuspecting woodland creature tries to pull out of the device, the more the noose tightens around the body part caught in the trap. Certain death from starvation became the fate of the male wolf as the noose became tightly wrapped around his mouth. Several people saw the male wolf north of Duluth Minnesota, and tried to help.

I spoke with a volunteer at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation out of Duluth, Minnesota. They said, “several people saw the wolf and tried to help him.” The Wildwood’s volunteer told me Kelly Looby was able to get within a few feet of the wolf, a photographer, even making eye contact with him. She kept following the wolf, but he seemed very wary of humans, and disappeared and reappeared several times.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

Wildwoods reported the wire snare was wrapped tight around the wolf’s nose, and embedded into the nose. He clearly could not open his mouth at all. The male wolf was very thin, as was told to them by volunteer and eyewitness Kelly Looby.

“He might have been able to lick up some snow and sniff roadkill, but he had not been able to eat,” a volunteer from Wildwoods said. “He had been starving, and was a skeleton of fur and bones.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

No one knows how long the male wolf suffered. He was first sighted near Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior’s North Shore earlier in the week, then north of the city in Duluth Saturday February 10th. Wildwoods reported they just didn’t have the equipment needed to catch him. Many people tried to catch him but he was too fast.

In the end the Duluth police made the heart wrenching decision to put him down at 2 pm Saturday afternoon. Wildwoods was able to examine the wolf. They reported that underneath his thick winter coat he was skin and bones.

“Humans caused the initial pain and suffering of this beautiful wolf by creating the snare, and in the end taking his life to end his suffering.” said Kelly Looby.

Photo courtesy of Wildwoods

Wildwoods told me they were able to gain the equipment, a net gun, through donations after this tragedy. With this net gun they will be able to capture and treat victims of snare traps in the future.

“Snares are cruel trapping devices, causing pain, injury and death. Animals caught in snares can suffer from grotesque swelling and hemorrhaging of the head, can be hanged to death by jumping over a nearby fence or branch in a desperate attempt to escape, and can suffer from exposure, dehydration, and starvation. Snares are grossly indiscriminate, capturing any animal of the right height or size unlucky enough to pass through the snare – including pets, imperiled wildlife species, deer and raptors.” ~Melissa Tedrowe HSUS Wisconsin State Representative

Minnesota DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook states the following: Snares may be used by licensed trappers for taking all species of protected wild mammals that may be taken by the use of traps. In the forest zone, snares are allowed on public land and on private land with permission of the landowner.

Take action to ban snare traps in Minnesota

Howling For Wolves Wolf Day at the Capital 2018 in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

When: Wednesday, April 11

Where: Minnesota State Capitol, Saint Paul, MN

In 2017, Howling For Wolves successfully passed legislation which approved funding for, and the establishment of, Wolf-Livestock Conflict Prevention grants administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This program allows applicants to receive reimbursement for the cost of using nonlethal methods which protect the lives of both livestock and wolves.

In 2018, with your active prescence and actions, a ban on all wildlife snaring can become law in 2018. Join us as we work to #StandAgainstSnaring, require permission to trap on private lands, and have a wolf hunt removed from the books once and for all.

We are talking to Minnesota politicians and rallying for the wolf at the State Capitol. Our goal is to protect the wolf for future generations. This is a FREE event.

Volunteers are needed before and on Wolf Day. Write us at volunteer@howlingforwolves.org to join the pack!

RSVP here that you will attend the Wolf day. This is important for us to know you will come, so we can plan in advance.

Howling For Wolves supports current state legislation that would eliminate recreational snaring of all wildlife: House File 2160, authored by Representatives Fischer, Loon, Kunesh-Podein, Rosenthal, Ward, Slocum, Allen, Dehn, R., and Hornstein and its companion bill, Senate File 1447, authored by Senators Hoffman, Wiger, and Dibble.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul – hope you like what you see.” ~Aldo Leopold

Photos used in this story courtesy of Kelly Looby and photo of dead wolf credited to Wildwoods.

Feds Offering Reward for Illegal Wolf Kills in Northeastern Minnesota 

It’s illegal to kill gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and in Wyoming. Wolves in these four states are under the protection of the Federal Endangered Species Act as December 2014.  

It’s illegal to kill gray wolves in Minnesota except in self-defense and is punishable by six months in jail and up to $25,000 fine.

On February 18, 2016 in a news release Federal authorities are:  $2,500 reward offered in deaths of 3 wolves in NE Minnesota. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the frozen carcasses were discovered Jan. 22 in a ditch along Minnesota Highway 8 near Floodwood, about 45 miles west of Duluth.” (Source)

If you have any information on these illegally killed wolves call the Department of Natural Resources’ Turn in Poachers TIP line, 1-800-652-9093.

  

Great Lakes Wolf Delisting Threat Continues in 2016

I have been a supporter of Wisconsin’s wolf recovery for a couple of decades. When I began working, as a volunteer monitoring wolves, only 249 wolves resided in Wisconsin (cited from Progress Report of Wolf Population Monitoring in Wisconsin for the period of April – September 2000). During this time, I have seen it all:

1. Wolves listed as temporary to threatened status.

2. Bear hound hunters ignoring WDNR wolf caution warnings, resulting in over $500,000 dollars in reimbursement costs and many dead dogs.

3. Multiple threats to delist the wolf.

 The year, 2015, began happily with the return of the Great Lakes wolf under federal protection after 3 years of trophy hunts in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The year ended with good news as well, as a rider was excluded from the federal omnibus bill that would have delisted them (Cited from WODCW blog Great Lakes Wolf News Highlights of the Year 2015)

Another threat to the Great Lakes wolf lies within the outcome of an appeal filed on behalf of several organizations:

“Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service filed notices – although it acknowledged that the final decision on whether to pursue the case would be made by the Department of Justice. On Feb. 26, Wisconsin filed an appeal, and a day later, Michigan’s DNR also filed. Now add Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, the Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association, the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to the list…The joint effort is an attempt to repeal the December 2014 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell that returned wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota – to the endangered species list. The judge’s ruling put an end to wolf management hunts and mandated that people can only kill a wolf in self-defense, but not to protect pets or livestock.” (Cited from Michigan Outdoor News, Appeals mount following court’s wolf ruling by Bill Parker Editor on March 12, 2015)

A decision could be forthcoming from this appeal within the next 2 months. Thus, Great Lakes wolves are not out of the woods yet; read on:

“The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal…The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.” Cited from Budget Bill Won’t Have Wolf Management Returning To Minn.)

Humane Society of the United States has filed multiple suits to keep wolves under federal protection on the ESA and won those battles. HSUS’s hard work and efforts has kept the Great Lakes wolf protected for now. 

I’m keeping tabs on HSUS for any news about the appeals decision. 

Read the following press releases from HSUS: 

Humane society opposes wolf delisting

In the War Over Management of Wolves, The HSUS Won’t Shrink from Effort to Protect Them
Groups Petition to Reclassify Gray Wolves to Threatened Status under Endangered Species Act

Federal Court: Great Lakes Wolf Hunting Ends Now Sport Hunting and Trapping of Wolves is Over
Wisconsin Voters Support Protecting Wolves by 8 to 1 Margin New poll shows Wisconsin voters statewide oppose a reckless trophy hunt of wolves
October 15, 2012 The Humane Society of the United States Files Notice of Suit to Restore Federal Protection for Great Lakes Wolves

The following is a timeline from HSUS: 

April 2012 – July 2012 – Wisconsin enacts legislation mandating a wolf hunting and trapping season, requiring that the state wildlife agency authorize the use of dogs, night hunting, and snare and leg-hold traps. The state wildlife agency adopts regulations for the hunting and trapping of wolves in 2012-2013 via emergency rules, and sets the quota at 201 wolves.

July 2011 – August 2012 –
Minnesota enacts legislation allowing a wolf hunting and trapping season once the wolves are delisted. The state wildlife agency adopts regulations for the hunting and trapping of wolves in 2012-2013 via emergency rules, and sets the quota at 400 wolves.

December 2011 –
USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.

September 2010 –
The USFWS issues a finding that petitions to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region “may be warranted.”

July 2009 –
The HSUS enters into a court-approved settlement agreement with the USFWS that reinstated federal protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region.

June 2009 –
The HSUS files suit in federal court to block the delisting decision.

April 2009 –
USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.

September 2008 –
In response to litigation filed by The HSUS and other organizations, a federal court overturned the USFWS’ Great Lakes delisting decision, thereby reinstating federal protections for gray wolves in the region.

February 2007 –
The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes. 

2005 – 2006 –
The USFWS tries to strip wolves of protection by issuing blanket permits to the state of Wisconsin that authorize state officials to kill dozens of wolves. These permits are thrown out by a federal court in response to a lawsuit by The HSUS. 

January 2005 –
A federal court rules that the 2003 downlisting was arbitrary and capricious, returning the wolf to endangered status. 

2003 –
USFWS issues a final rule downgrading most of the gray wolves living in the lower 48 states from endangered to threatened, making it easier for people to lethally take wolves. 

1974 – Gray wolf listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act throughout the lower 48 states.

1967 – Wolves listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 – the precursor to the Endangered Species Act. 


Trapping of Wisconsin Wolves Ends-Wolves have moved on and are not considered a threat. 

This is good news for a pack of wolves that were rearing their pups at the Colburn Wildlife Area in Adams county Wisconsin.

In news released on Friday October 30, 2015 in an article from WKOW Channel 27

“DNR carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland says no wolves were captured in traps.”

“MacFarland says signs of wolf activity in the wildlife area included tracks, scat and disturbed tree bark.”

“MacFarland says the wolves used the area as a rendezvous point as part of pup rearing. He says it’s an activity that takes place in the summer, and the wolves have moved on to other habitat.”

“Officials say the wolves’ aggression was likely a product of their proximity to activity in the state preserve.”  WKOW channel 27

The trapping of a pack of wolves in Adams County started back in September 23, 2015 when a hunter had an encounter with wolves. The hunter according to the DNR may have stumbled into a rendezvous site. 

A rendezvous site is where wolves place their pups while they are out hunting.

The hunter shot one of the wolves in self-defense and the wolf carcus was never found. United States Fish & Wildlife Service did a full investigation with no charges filed against the hunter from Friendship Wisconsin.  

Wisconsin wolves are on the Endangered Species List and are illegal to hunt. 

You can read the hunters story of his encounter with wolves in The NRA American Hunter article click here.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and USFW determined that the Freindship Wisconsin hunter’s encounter with a pack of wolves in Adams county was not a wolf attack. 

 Areas of the Colburn Wildlife area were closed after a second encounter occurred between a hunter and his son and the same wolf pack.

 In a news article by Ryan Mathews of the Northwoods River News on October 30, 2015…

DNR Large Carnivore Specialist David MacFarland said a second encounter, which supports Nellessen’s claim, occurred Oct. 10 at the same location as the Sept. 23 encounter.

“An individual and his son were hunting during the Youth Deer Hunt, and they actually were in the same exact location, down to the tree, as the first incident,” MacFarland said. “It was the same situation where wolves came uncomfortably close. Not the same interaction that the first individual had, but wolves getting a little too close and acting in a bold manner.”  The Northwoods River News

The Department of Natural Resources followed protocal on these two wolf encounters considering them to be a threat to human safety.

“MacFarland said the USDA Wildlife Services, in consultation with the USFWS and the property manager, has begun trapping in the area with the intent to lethally remove wolves from the area. Despite being protected federally, the state retains the authority to implement lethal control methods if animals are deemed a threat to human health and safety.”  The Northwoods River News

David MacFarland DNR carnivore specialist.

No wolves captured in traps…

In news released on Friday October 30, 2015 in an article from WKOW Channel 27

“ADAMS (WKOW) — Trapping for wolves in a state wildlife area in Adams County ends Friday, as wildlife specialists say the threat from the animals appears over, after hunters had two frightening encounters.”  WKOW Channel 27

  

Wildlife officials believe the wolves have moved out of the Colburn Wildlife Area and are not a threat to human safety. 

Feature imaged by John E. Marriott