Tag Archives: Wisconsin

People & Wolves

A Wisconsin Story “Wolves Mired in Political Intrigue”  with Dr. Jane Goodall, Adrian Wydeven, Marvin Defoe and Peter David.  A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film,  in Association with BC Cinematics. Director Rachel Tilseth, Producer Manish Bhatt and Cinematographer Benjamin Coffey.

Gray wolves recolonized parts of Wisconsin in the 1970s after being killed off in the state in the 1950s and grew to a population of over 1000 wolves by 2020. Unfortunately, this conservation success story has become very controversial in the last decade. Federal and state endangered species acts have helped recover wolves in the state. Still, four attempts by the federal government to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have resulted in court challenges returning wolves to the endangered list. After federal delisting in 2012, the Wisconsin legislature mandated that wolf hunts be required whenever gray wolves were off the ESA list. 

Teaser

The most recent delisting battle started in January 2021, leading to a court-ordered three-day controversial wolf hunt during the breeding season in February, and it went over the allotted quota, angering many Wisconsinites. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) began work on a new state Wolf Management Plan last completed in 1999. The DNR formed a committee of stakeholders, including the tribes.

Ojibwe bands in Red Cliff and Bad River have their own, Ma’iingan (Wolf) Relationship Plans. The state must work with the tribes on wolf management, including wolf hunting seasons. Political battles began over how to manage the next hunt in November 2021. The struggle between the DNR, its Natural Resources Board, and pro-wolf advocates ended with several lawsuits and one that yielded an injunction to stop the November 2021 wolf hunt. The Six Ojibwe tribes also sued and claimed the wolf hunt violated their treaty rights. A year after the controversial wolf hunt, a California judge ordered gray wolves in much of the lower 48 states on the ESA list on February 18, 2022. Though gray wolves have numerically recovered in Wisconsin, the future of wolf management remains in limbo in the state.

Photograph Credit http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

 

WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presents: An Informative Discussion About the Future of Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Recovery

April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

I’m Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin inviting you to join myself and Manish Bhatt for anther informative discussion regarding Wisconsin’s wild wolf. We will be discussing the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’s (WCC) online voting taking place at the spring hearings, the Wisconsin DNR’s Wolf Management Plan, and the Maiingan Relationship Plan. Join the informative discussion with guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Marvin Defoe; a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, on Monday April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

Citizens will be able to provide input on Wisconsin’s natural resource issues through the 2022 Spring Hearings which will again be online beginning April 11, 2022 (starting at 7:00 pm) and remain open through 7:00 pm on April 14, 2022. Information on the questions being asked, how to participate, and how citizens can introduce a resolution will be posted here as it becomes available. Click Here for more information.

The DNR assembled the Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) , a diverse group of stakeholders and Tribal representatives to meet four times between July and October 2021. The DNR tasked this group with providing input for the latest installment of the Wolf Management Plan. Furthermore, how will treaty rights be honored and we will explore the tribe’s Maiingan (Wolf) Relationship Plan.

Photograph credit NPS

Join the discussion about the latest news on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources latest update to the wolf management plan, with special guest Adrian Wydeven and Peter David, on Monday April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

SPECIAL GUESTS 

Adrian grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). Photograph courtesy of Adrian Wydeven.

Special Guest Adrian Wydeven grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). His master’s research was on the ecology and food habitat of elk in the Wind Cave National Park, SD. He worked as a wildlife manager in Missouri and Wisconsin from 1980-1990. Adrian headed up the state gray wolf recovery and conservation program for Wisconsin from 1990 through 2013, while also working with other rare mammals and wildlife. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2015 after nearly 33 years. Adrian continues to be actively involved in wolf surveys and conservation through the Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin Green Fire.

Peter David assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights.

Special guest Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelors and masters in Wildlife Ecology) from UW-Madison, and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the last 35 years. At the Commission, he has had the opportunity to steward resources as varied as wild rice and wolves.

Special guest Marvin DeFoe a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He is an educator, teacher, birch bark canoe builder, and Red Cliff elder. He grew up in the Red Cliff community and is part of the sturgeon clan. Named Shingway Banase in Anishinaabe, he is passionate about maintenance and revitalization of the Ojibwe language. Marvin is past Vice Chair on the tribal council and has been the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for four years.

Marvin DeFoe is a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

HOSTS

Manish N. Bhatt is a writer for the Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. In addition, he is an educator, attorney, military veteran and startup advisor. Having grown up in a rural community in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Manish enjoys hiking, fishing, sailing, skiing and observing nature with his family. Manish has also lived in Texas and Wyoming. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude from the George Washington University, a J.D. magna cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law, and a LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. Manish is a committed environmentalist and is dedicated to following the science.

Producer & Host Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, educator, and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel is founder and owner of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Continue reading WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presents: An Informative Discussion About the Future of Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Recovery

The state of wolf recovery in Wisconsin update.

Gray wolves in much of the lower 48 have regained federal protection following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The most recent wolf population is estimated at 1,126 gray wolves in Wisconsin over the winter wolf count July 2021 WDNR.

The Gray wolf was extirpated from Wisconsin’s forests by the 1950s and had been hunted to near extinction in the Lower fort-eight states by the mid-1900s. As a result, the wolf, was one of the first animals to get protection against most killing, harassing, and habitat destruction under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since then, its limited revival has been one of the success stories of the ESA Act.

Gray wolves began entering Wisconsin through Minnesota, and by the late 1970s, Gray wolves were establishing home territories in Wisconsin. The newly created Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program began monitoring packs, and soon wolves were establishing territories throughout Wisconsin’s northern & central forests. 

The Wisconsin wolf recovery program hit some significant roadblocks starting in 2011. In 2011 just as gray wolves were about to be delisted, the Wisconsin state legislature rushed to create a law. Wisconsin Act 169 is a law that mandates a wolf hunt when they are not Endangered Species. Wisconsin held three wolf hunts and allowed hunters to run dogs on wolves. Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. But a federal judge ordered the gray wolf be put back n the ESA in December 2014.

But the Trump Administration delisted gray wolves once again on January 4, 2021. Gray wolves were barely off the ESL when the battle to hunt them began. Hunter Nation, a conservative advocacy group, sued to get a wolf hunt. Under a court order, the Department of Natural Resources was forced to launch a one-week wolf hunt. The department reported that hunters and trappers had killed 52 wolves on the second day, falling nearly 44% of the 119-animal statewide quota. Another 81 wolves are allocated to Ojibwe tribes, for a total of 200 this year. Wolf hunters told other hunters not to register animals right away so that the hunt would stay open. In the end, the wolf hunters not only took their allotted quota but took the tribe’s quota. Hunter Nation, a conservation advocacy group, had won the right to kill an endangered species fresh off the ESL.

The hunt was Controversial for several reasons. In February, opening a wolf hunt disrupted the gray wolf’s breeding season, potentially killing pregnant females and using dogs to hunt wolves. More than anything, this forced wolf hunt proved no one was listening to the scientific community. Opposing forces were dominating the conversation. It was a conversation heard all around the world!

In February 2022, wolves were returned to the ESL in Wisconsin. The DNR is attempting to update the wolf management plan. Trying is the right word because recently, the results of the committee findings were released showing how far apart the committee is in regards to wolf management.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Management Plan Explored

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has begun the work to update wolf Management. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s investigative writer, Manish Bhatt, will be updating readers regarding the DNR wolf Management plan process, the latest wolf progress report, and the Public Attitudes Towards Wolves 2014 Survey.

Upcoming Feature Article & Radio Talk schedules for April 2022

WORT Radio Access Hour Presents Mon April 4 @ 7:00 Pm – 8:00 Pm Rachel Tilseth returns with special guests Adrian Wydeven and Peter David for another informative discussion regarding the new WDNR 2022 Wolf Management Plan that will be presented to the public for review. Wort Radio Access Hour listeners are encouraged to call in with concerns or questions.

Photograph credit John E Marriott

According to large carnivores ecologist, Francisco J. Santiago-Ávila, it’s a good thing that there are people out tracking wolves and it might just discourage the revenge killing of wolves by angry fringe hunters. Why? Because having people out there who have positive attitudes towards wolves just might make a fringe hunter think twice about illegally killing one of Wisconsin’s gray wolves. I’m out there along with other citizen volunteer winter wolf trackers. There’s plenty of other citizens out enjoying the the ski & snowshoe trails as well. I’ve written a story about volunteer citizen winter wolf trackers that will be in the April issue of Silent Sports Magazine. Make sure you grab your issue before heading out on the trails! And if you are interested in participating in the program drop us an email at this website to learn how to register for upcoming workshops.

Our Mission

Ally of the Grey Wolf 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s mission is to educate so you can advocate. We are an ally of the Grey wolf. We create and promote through media communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet) in order to educate the public about the ecology of grey wolves. We share our experiences, our expertise, and our passion for wild grey wolves in Wisconsin, the USA and Italy. We don’t tell you, we inspire you to act by giving you the truth (Science) about wild grey wolves that are struggling to survive worldwide.

We envision a world where coexistence between people & wolves is the “norm”.

We value scientific fact. We are professionals from all walks of life and we respect our Mother Earth because of all that we have been given by her/him. We believe by saving the wolf that we will save the planet. Grey wolves are essential sentient-beings and deserve our respect. 

“We educate so you can advocate.”

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was founded in 2012 to stop the barbaric hunt of Wisconsin’s wild grey Wolf. 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is not aligned or allied with any other wolf & wildlife groups in Wisconsin. 

“We are a spirit, we are a natural part of the earth, and all of our ancestors, all of our relations who have gone to the spirit world, they are here with us. That’s power. They will help us. They will help us to see if we are willing to look.” —John Trudell

Wisconsin Wolf News: Secretary Deb Haaland Upholds Treaty Rights

“The law requires that states uphold reserved tribal treaty rights. Therefore, in the case of the Ojibwe Tribes in Wisconsin, the Interior Department formally requested that the state consult and coordinate with the tribes when making wolf management decisions and respect the tribes’ right to conserve rather than kill wolves. We will take similar actions on behalf of other tribes where necessary.” by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior

The statement by Haaland makes it clear that Wisconsin’s tribes have the right to make decisions regarding wolf Management along with other stakeholders in Wisconsin. Read her full statement here.

“Gray wolves a native species, existing on the landscape have an innate right to exist, and a right to occur within areas of suitable habitat on the landscape. It’s important that we point out the ecological justification for their benefits, but at the same time, they have an innate right to exist. We need to appreciate that and allow them to persist and live on the landscape.” —Adrian Wydeven

Fine art credit Barrettbiggers

Outdoor Writer Compares: Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act to a Bag of Stale Air

I’m sharing a post from Patrick Durkin Outdoors because his writing is a breath of fresh air. Durkin proves the written word is mightier than a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation, that has been “misguiding” the narrative regarding hunting ethics. He has managed to prey open a door that’s been warped overtime from lack of use. Let’s just name it here; common sense!

Durkin not only brings in fresh air to a “stale air” narrative, but unlocks the door with proven facts. I agree wholeheartedly with him that it’s time to get busy and focus on solutions to CWD, a problem facing Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer population!

I’ve witnessed over the last ten years how groups like Hunter Nation can skew reality to their advantage. This is not just a problem of the opposition, it’s a fast growing concern for all advocates on both sides, because of groups that are controlling the narrative by spreading misinformation to gain followers. We have lost precious ground when it comes to solving problems that affect Wisconsin’s natural resources because of these political tricks. But Durkin has reminded us of how easily we can get off the reality tracks! Read on!

Despite such dismal numbers (CWD), GOP lawmakers are ignoring the mess by distracting everyone with the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act. This bag of stale air from the Kansas-based group Hunter Nation doesn’t even mention CWD.” Patrick Durkin Outdoors


Wisconsin Lawmakers: End the Frolic with Hunter Nation, by Patrick Durkin Outdoors

Wisconsin this month fortified its standing as the capital of the world for chronic wasting disease by verifying the plague in wild deer in 38 of the state’s 72 counties.

Yep, Wisconsin now has more counties with CWD in free-ranging deer than it does counties without. We passed the halfway mark Jan. 11 when the Department of Natural Resources reported two adult bucks in Monroe County and one deer in Oconto County tested positive for the always-fatal disease.

We started the 2021 hunting seasons with CWD in 34 counties but made it 35 when the DNR confirmed a sick adult doe Oct. 29 in Fond du Lac County. We then reached the halfway point Dec. 12 when the DNR confirmed a sick yearling (18 months old) buck in Vilas County.

And just think what we’d find if we searched aggressively for CWD. All four newly christened CWD counties found their first cases despite modest sampling efforts. Hunters in Monroe County have provided a respectable 373 samples during the current testing year, but hunters in Oconto provided only 162; Vilas, 161; and Fond du Lac, 105.

The 2021 sampling year ends March 31, but it’s safe to report that 25 Wisconsin counties will end the year with less than 100 samples tested, given the hunt is largely over.

As of Jan.15, Wisconsin has confirmed 9,450 CWD cases since discovering the disease in three deer shot west of Madison in November 2001. The DNR has documented 1,283 cases statewide so far this year after testing 16,165 samples. That’s 8% of all tests, which is similar to 2020’s rate.

CWD sampling declined this past fall, with 2,749 fewer samples (-14.5%) statewide than in 2020 (18,914). Most samples come from the DNR’s southern farmland zone, where sampling fell 22% from 9,382 a year ago to 7,277.

Despite the decline, 1,234 deer (17%) have tested positive so far in that zone, which is 4 percentage points lower than the 2020 total. For perspective, when the DNR tested similar numbers (7,097 deer) in the Southern farmlands in 2010, it found 219 (3%) CWD cases, or 5.6 times fewer doomed deer.

Elsewhere, CWD cases more than doubled from 19 to 39 in central Wisconsin’s farmlands this year, accounting for 40% of the zone’s historical total of 98 cases. In addition, deer baiting is now banned in 58 Wisconsin counties. The 14 counties where the controversial practice remains are Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Sawyer, Rusk, Price, St. Croix, Pierce, Lincoln, Brown, Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Door.

Iowa County again leads the state with 315 cases this year, or 31% of the 1,026 samples provided. Next was Richland, 270 cases (21% positive); Sauk, 222 (25%); Dane, 151 (17%); Grant, 80 (14%); and Columbia, 72 (15%).

Cooperation from hunters remains poor as indifference reigns. In Sauk County, hunters tested only 15% of the 6,002 deer they registered during the 2021 gun, crossbow and archery seasons. Further, Dane County hunters tested 23.5% of 3,833 registered deer; Richland County, 24% of 5,228; Iowa County, 28% of 3,607; Grant County, 0.09% of 6,176; and Columbia County, 0.08% of 6,007.

A soon-to-be released DNR survey from 2019 also found that 70% of Wisconsin hunters have never submitted a deer for CWD testing. The survey also found that 33% of hunters who get their deer tested don’t wait for results before eating it.

Despite such dismal numbers, GOP lawmakers are ignoring the mess by distracting everyone with the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act. This bag of stale air from the Kansas-based group Hunter Nation doesn’t even mention CWD.

We pause here to ask, “Sporting Freedom Act”? What is that? Do politicians think they can just insert “freedom” in a bill’s title, and we’ll snap to attention and salute? As silly as “freedom fries” sounded in February 2003, at least the word choice made sense. You’ll recall folks were mad at France for not supporting the war in Iraq, and urged restaurants to purge “French” from their menus.

Again I ask: Sporting Freedom Act? Freedom from what? Science? Biology? A future for deer hunting in Wisconsin?

If you think that’s harsh, explain how mandating the annual raising and releasing of 200,000 pheasants and 100,000 brook trout is relevant to liberty and freedom, or wise fish and wildlife management?

And how about the act’s “turkey hunting simplification” bill? Luke Hilgemann, CEO/president of Hunter Nation, recently wrote that our current spring turkey season confuses Wisconsin hunters. Really? Name someone who’s puzzled. True, our current season of six weeklong hunting periods might baffle your average lobbyist, state senator, assembly-creature, and Gov. Scott Walker’s four appointees to the Natural Resources Board. But Wisconsin’s spring season wins praise from 70% to 80% of turkey hunters surveyed annually.

Another bill in the “Freedom Act” infuriates many retired conservation wardens and the Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructor Association. The Mentored Hunt Bill (SB-611 and AB-670) would allow beginning hunters to earn their hunter-education certificate by simply taking an online course and then going afield with a licensed adult hunter, not a certified instructor.

Yes, that shortcut was allowed the past year because of COVID-19, and it sounded OK the first time I read it, but I was wrong. It doesn’t deserve our Legislature’s permanent blessing.

Hilgemann also recently wrote: “Hunting … in Wisconsin is a sacred tradition (and the Freedom Act sends) a strong message about our heritage and way of life. Not only does the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Act reform rules for hunters and anglers, it helps ensure that future generations still have access to the resources that help these sacred traditions thrive through proactive resource management.”

Huh? You’ll find more substance in a bag of cheetos. Hunter Nation and its GOP backers insult Wisconsin’s hunting heritage by ignoring all the work of recent decades that made hunting so safe.

The WHEIA notes that conservation wardens annually investigated 174 hunting accidents, including 17 deaths, from 1956 to 1966 in Wisconsin. The state’s hunter education program began in 1967. Since then, over 17,000 volunteer instructors helped reduce those numbers to an annual average of 21 accidents and 1.8 deaths.

Y’know, we don’t need Hunter Nation messing with our programs. It’s time GOP lawmakers stop frolicking with these amateurs and get serious about addressing CWD and other obvious challenges to our natural resources.

That won’t happen, however, if hunters, anglers and trappers don’t hold lawmakers accountable with emails, letters, phone calls and votes.

Hunter Nation exposed this Legislature’s scarcity of thinkers and leaders. They must be told what to do.


Graphic Design “Ally of the Grey Wolf” by Rachel Tilseth

Children’s Literature: Strange Beasts Find Common Ground

…Can adults do the same? This is one of my favorite children’s books.  I believe adults could benefit from reading this book.  Many adults have forgotten how to get along with others they disagree with because “they only see it their way.”

A tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Robertson is a book that that teaches children about different perspectives. It is broken into two chapters. The first one tells the story from the perspective of the girl, who when walking home through the “deep dark woods,” spies a strange little beast and “rescues”  him. She takes him him, wraps him in a scarf, gives him a bath, and shows him to her friends but despite all her good care, he runs away. Chapter two tells the same story but this time from the “strange beast’s” perspective. He tells us how he was swinging happily on a branch when all of a sudden he is “ambushed by a terrible beast” who ties him up, carries him to her secret lair, makes him disgustingly clean, and shows him off to a “herd of even wilder beasts. Each of the two stories close with either the girl or the animal realizing that perhaps the other person isn’t such a terrible beast after all and that perhaps they misread each other.

About the Author

Fiona Roberton was born in Oxford and studied art and design in London and New York. She has lived and worked all over the world and is currently based in London. Fiona’s debut picture book Cuckoo won the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award. She is the creator of the bestselling  “A Tale of Two Beasts”, which has sold over 220,000 copies around the world.

An informative and important “Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Discussion” is now on SoundCloud

If you missed the live show you can listen to the December 6th Access Hour, for an in-depth conversation regarding the lawsuits and the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s wolf hunt with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Traditionally the first week of December is when wolf hunters are allowed to use dogs to track and trail grey wolves. Wisconsin is the only state that allows wolf hunters to use dogs because of a law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that was enacted during the Walker administration.

Listen on SoundCloud as Adrian and Peter discuss the following questions. Why did the State Circuit Court pass an injunction on the Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season? What decision did the federal court make in the case by Earthjustice on behalf of the Ojibwe Tribes? Do these two court cases eliminate the possibility of any wolf hunting and trapping season occurring this fall or winter? What is the current wolf population and how does this compare to 10, 20, and 30 years ago? Does it appear that the wolf population is still growing rapidly or starting to stabilize? How does the DNR count wolves? What current regulations on use of dogs for hunting wolves exist for Wisconsin, and will this change with a new wolf plan? What efforts are being made to update the state wolf conservation and management plan? Will the wolf plan make any major changes in wolf hunting and trapping regulations in Wisconsin?

SPECIAL GUESTS 

Adrian grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). Photograph courtesy of Adrian Wydeven.

Special Guest Adrian Wydeven grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). His master’s research was on the ecology and food habitat of elk in the Wind Cave National Park, SD. He worked as a wildlife manager in Missouri and Wisconsin from 1980-1990. Adrian headed up the state gray wolf recovery and conservation program for Wisconsin from 1990 through 2013, while also working with other rare mammals and wildlife. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2015 after nearly 33 years. Adrian continues to be actively involved in wolf surveys and conservation through the Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin Green Fire.

Peter David assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights.

Special guest Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelors and masters in Wildlife Ecology) from UW-Madison, and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the last 35 years. At the Commission, he has had the opportunity to steward resources as varied as wild rice and wolves.

HOST

Producer & Host Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, educator, and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel is founder and owner of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Coexistence Holiday: Let’s take the first path before us and howl a chorus or two together.

To hear those howls a singing away
A howl here and a howl over there
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a howl with you.

Photograph credit John E Marriott

Outside the snow is falling
And families are calling “Howl Howl”
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a howl with you.

Awoo-yip awoo-yip let’s howl
Let’s roll in the snow
We’re running in a wonderland of snow.

Awoo-yip awoo-yip it’s grand
Just nuzzling your nose
Were running along with the sounds
Of a wintry forestland.

Our thick fur coats are nice and warm
And comfy are we
We’re snuggled up together like two wolves
With the whole pack.

Let’s take the first path before us
And howl a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather for a howl with you.

Wolf Country. Photograph credit Rachel Tilseth

There’s a Birthday party at our friends Farmer Gray
It’ll be the perfect ending of a perfect day
We’ll be Howlng the songs we love to howl
Without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch the chestnuts pop
Pop pop pop.

There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the blueberries and pie
It’ll nearly be like a picture print of coexistence
From a long time past

These wonderful things are the things
We remember from the first time we shared man’s fireplace
In ancient times long ago.

Have a Howling Good Holiday Season from All of us at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin!

Poem adapted by Rachel Tilseth from the original song “Winter Wonderland” 1934 by Bregman, Vocco and Conn

Living in the Wild: Grey Wolves know every square inch of their territory.

The following story is a testament to just how much wolves pay attention to human activity in their territory.  

A few years back I received a message in my inbox from a couple living in wolf country. The couple had concerns about grey wolves and were looking for advice.

Photograph of a Wisconsin grey wolf. Credit Al Scherwinski Photography LLC

The couple lived in wolf country on a horse farm, and made it clear that they liked living alongside wolves. In fact, they hardly knew wolves were around, that is until recently.

The couple told me something was different with the resident wolf pack. The couple went on to describe this change; instead of remaining out of sight which was the norm for this pack, the couple began seeing the wolves by the horse corral. They went on to describe that the wolves were not only hanging out by the corral, they didn’t run away when they saw the couple. My response was that I would consult with a wolf expert and get right back to them.

I called up Carter Neimeyer, a biologist with decades of experience in grey wolf ecology and behavior. I told Carter about the couple’s concern and his response was for me to ask them, “what’s changed on the farm?”

I got right back to them with Carter’s question and their answer was that they just got a dog. Carter said the wolves were concerned because there’s a new threat in their territory because of the couple’s new dog. Carter recommended that they keep the dog close to them and leashed. Carter also recommended that the couple make a scarecrow and place it by the horse corral.

A biologist once told me that wolves know every square-inch of their territory. It’s just like a family that knows where everything is in their neighborhood. We know where the grocery store is, and we teach children how to avoid dangerous freeway crossings. So why wouldn’t it be the same for a family of grey wolves? By introducing a pet dog into the wolves territory the couple unknowingly added a new threat.

It all turned out for the couple and the resident wolves because they followed Carter’s advice. They worked to mitigate the problem. The couple learned just how much the resident wolf pack paid attention to their activities on the horse farm. Lesson learned! Conflict avoided!

The Six Ojibwe Tribe’s Hearing is This Friday Oct. 29th in Federal Court…

…As Wisconsin’s proposed wolf hunt violates treaty rights.

The tribes, represented by Earthjustice, the nonprofit environmental legal organization, are slated to argue their case about the hunt tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 29, in federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin.

Earthjustice represents the tribal nations Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, and St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin.

Six Ojibwe tribes are heading to federal court Friday morning in hopes of stopping a Wisconsin wolf hunt from taking place this fall.

They’re represented by Earthjustice. Senior attorney Christopher Clark said the legal team will argue the proposed hunt is not grounded in sound biological principals and violates the tribes’ treaty rights.

It’s important to note that our claims in federal court are on behalf of tribes who have treaty rights under the United States Constitution. Treaties are the supreme law of the land, and so they trump anything that’s going on with respect to the state law issues that are being litigated in Dane County,” Clark said.

Wisconsin’s fall hunt was slated to kick off Saturday. But it’s already at a standstill after a circuit court judge ruled the DNR must update its management plan, including how it sets harvest quotas.

Clark said the six Ojibwe tribes want to make sure that update happens.

“We are concerned that the injunction that is in place from the Dance County Circuit Court by an appellate court, or during the pendency of an appeal, the state or perhaps or another party could seek and obtain a stay of that injunction, which basically puts the wolf hunt back on,” Clark said.

The attorney said his clients don’t want to see a repeat of the hastily-organized and what critics say was an ill-timed harvest last February. It took place after the wolf was delisted a month earlier by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sources

This motion is part of the tribes’ lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in the Western District of Wisconsin against the state claiming the proposed hunt violates the tribes’ treaty rights. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved a quota of 300 wolves, ignoring the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and willfully acting to nullify the Ojibwe Tribes’ share of wolves which the tribes seek to protect. Even the lower quota of 130 wolves recommended by the Department has no grounding in sound biological principles because, in developing the recommended quota, the Department failed to obtain a population estimate of the Wisconsin wolves that are remaining after a rushed hunt held in February.

During that three-day hunt, non-Indian hunters killed at least 218 wolves, including all of the Ojibwe tribes’ share in violation of the tribes’ treaty rights. Neither the Board nor the Department has made any changes to the management of the hunt to prevent a repeat of February’s disastrous overkill of wolves. Scientists estimate that a third of all wolves in Wisconsin have been killed since federal delisting.

THE FOLLOWING ARE STATEMENTS FROM EARTHJUSTICE AND TRIBAL REPRESENTATIVES FROM THEIR DECLARATIONS FOR THE COURT:

“This case is about Wisconsin’s responsibility to protect and conserve the natural resources we all share,” said Gussie Lord, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Tribal Partnerships program. “The Ojibwe’s treaty rights guarantee them the ability to coexist with the natural world in the way that they believe is appropriate and necessary to sustain the future generations. Wisconsin does not have exclusive rights here. The state has set the stage for yet another violation of the Ojibwe’s treaty rights and we are asking the Court to step in and prevent that from happening.” Source EarthJustice press release.

“Our treaties represent a way of life for our tribal people. Eroding and disregarding our treaties is unacceptable. We view violations of our treaty rights as hostile actions against our tribal sovereignty and the very lives of tribal people.” – From the declarationof Mike Wiggins, Jr., Chairman, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“What happens to ma’iingan happens to Anishinaabe. What happens to the wolf happens to humanity. That is universal law. The ecosystem is all connected. That is the message the ma’iingan is giving to humanity.  Look at what we are facing today — the fish are dying, the trees are dying, the climate is changing, the water is drying up.  Look at what is going on with the earth — what is taking place. I believe ma’iingan is saying — pay attention.” – From the declaration of Marvin DeFoe, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

“The wolves are part of the ecosystem. The deer herds in Wisconsin are infected with Chronic Wasting Disease. When the wolves see the herd, they take the weak animals to try to keep the herd strong. We need strong deer herds, we need the body of the waawaashkeshi, to feed our families.” – From the declaration of Robert VanZile, Chairman, Sokaogon Chippewa Community.

“The Ojibwe that hunt, fish and gather, we take and give back. We are supposed to be looking out for the next seven generations. I try to do that by teaching my grandsons to just take what they need to survive. We teach our children this — when we know it is wrong to hunt, we do not hunt. We take a step back and assess the damage. We determine how we can help so we can have the animals, the plants, the fish, for our future.” – From the declaration of John Johnson, Sr., President, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.