Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Will Likely Pay the Price for Sheep Farmers’ Mistakes!

Non lethal wolf management can work, but only if everyone is onboard. Recently a sheep farm in Northern Wisconsin’s wolf range lost a number of sheep to wolves. Several factors contributed to the loss. For one, the farmers locked up the expensive guard dogs at night fearing the wolves would kill them. Then the farmers slept through the night not even hearing the penned up guard dog’s alarm barks. This is the second time, 2016, that predation has occurred on this sheep farm. Now due to these mistakes anti wolf politicians will have a field day crying-big-bad-wolf again.

This is not the first time this Sheep farm as had wolf depredations.

“This is the second time the Caniks have suffered a large loss of sheep from their farm. In 2016, wolves, potentially of the same pack, killed 17 of their bighorn sheep, valued at $1,200 each. After that depredation, the USDA Wildlife Service installed two miles of fladry — a string of colored flags that move in the wind — accompanied by electric fencing around the perimeter of the pasture. That fencing had not been installed yet this year when the attack happened Monday.” Source

“All 17 (killed in 2016) were a variety of bighorn sheep, being raised to breed and give birth to more bighorns. The Caniks sell the bighorns to hunting clubs and game preserves across America, helping those organizations stock their lands for trophy hunters.” Source

The couple kept their expensive guard dogs penned up at night.

But if you live in wolf range, are a sheep farmer, one shouldn’t lock up the expensive guard dogs at night. Using non lethal wolf management requires being proactive. That means establishing methods early on before predation occurs. It seems obvious in this case the farmers have made the mistakes this time, and you can bet the wolf pack will pay the price. Pay the price for the mistakes made by these sheep farmers, who lost Big Horned Sheep being raised for canned hunting in 2016. Again, they cry wolf!

“Evidently we were sleeping too sound and didn’t hear the dogs,” Paul said. “They usually bark loud enough to alert us whenever the wolves are around.”

USF&WS is preparing to delist wolves in the Lower 48 states.

Make sure you get your comments in regarding USF&WS proposed delisting of Gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Click here to make your comment.

And the public comment period has been extended to July 15, 2019.

Media Release: Federal Wildlife Officials Propose Lifting Endangered Species Act Protections For Gray Wolves in the Lower 48 States

The announcement was made on Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. The move would return management to the states and tribes, which would reinstate Wisconsin’s wolf hunt that began in 2012.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to propose a rule to “delist” the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Lower 48 states.

Wisconsin’s Record On Wolf Management

Wisconsin became the only state to allow hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to wolves in two of the three wolf hunts in 2013 & 2014. 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.

The Gray Wolf Monitoring Report done through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and can be found on their website estimates 905-944 wolves reside in Wisconsin’s northern & central forests.

Livestock depredations included 29 cattle killed and 1 injured, and 4 sheep killed. The number of farms affected was the same as the previous monitoring year. That number doesn’t include depredations of hunting dogs.

In wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range and containing 80% of the minimum winter wolf count, deer density estimates increased 19% compared to 2016.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to propose a rule to “delist” the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Lower 48 states. USF&WS is required to hold a public comment period on this ruling.

If delisting does occur in Wisconsin, my hope is that with the new WDNR Secretary in place, the required wolf management plan will include greater transparency allowing for public input in how the Gray wolf is managed.

There hasn’t been a wolf hunt since 2014. The Gray wolf is thriving on Wisconsin’s landscape, the wolf population is exhibiting signs of self-regulating, Gray wolves and White-tailed deer are benefiting each other once again, and livestock depredations aren’t a major threat.

Poaching is and has been one of the biggest causes of Gray wolf mortality in Wisconsin…

There are 955 Gray wolves living throughout Wisconsin’s northern and central forests, minimum Winter count WDNR wolf progress report 2017-2018. The Gray wolf is part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy. Yet, poaching is and has been one of the biggest causes of Gray wolf mortality in Wisconsin according to Dr. Adrian Treves. Listen to his talk with host Patty Peltekos on A Public Affair talk show WORT Radio.

“Predators are a natural part of our environment and they perform an important ecological role,” says Professor Adrian Treves. On today’s episode, Patty talks with Professor Treves, founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, about a number of issues surrounding wildlife predators. They discuss predator population management and the high rates of poaching in the United States, the ineffectiveness and dubious legality of wildlife killing contests, regulatory mechanisms for keeping the wolf off the endangered species list, and what can be done to improve human and wild carnivore interactions.

“The assumption that legal killing would decrease illegal killing has often been portrayed as an effective way to manage recovering large carnivore populations and, despite no prior scientific evaluation, has been promoted by some conservation authorities [46]. For example, the World Conservation Union—IUCN claims through its manifesto for large carnivore conservation in Europe that ‘legalised hunting of large carnivores can be a useful tool in decreasing illegal killing’ [47]. In light of our results, we find this recommendation has no support. Indeed, liberalizing killing appears to be a conservation strategy that may achieve the opposite outcome than that intended.Source

Featured image is of of Wisconsin Gray wolf from Wisconsin Snapshot

Action Alert: Contact Wisconsin’s DNR Bear Advisory Committee Concerning the Baiting of Black Bears…

…The Following research concerning the baiting of black bears: Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore revealed some very startling results.  Researchers  found that; humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. 

In July 2017 I wrote about the new Bear baiting research. This research on bear baiting in Wisconsin is even more relevant now because of the recent news: Officials in Florida have arrested nine people in connection with the “illegal baiting, taking and molestation” of black bears following a yearlong investigation into the crimes. (Source) One of the nine arrested had been hunting bear in Wisconsin, such cruelty towards wildlife knows no bounds! But now is the time to demand justice for our wildlife!

Perhaps changes will happen now with a new Governor and new DNR Secretary. That’s why I’m recommending that activists contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  Bear Advisory Committee  because the following research concerning the baiting of black bears: Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore revealed some very startling results. 

The baiting of black bear starts in April and goes through to the end of September. That’s roughly six months of intentional food subsidies being fed to a carnivore. Not to mention, that’s a lot of disruption to the black bear’s natural habitat. Over four million gallons of bait is dropped in the woods for the purpose of hunting black bear. Bears are fed donuts, gummy bears, and cereal. Donuts have a high volume of calories, some doughnuts contain partially hydrogenated oils, which aren’t healthy for the heart, and most doughnuts are made with white flour. Glazed doughnuts contain 210 mg of sodium. 

Black bears are omnivores that eat food of both plant and animal origin.

It’s no surprise that baiting black bear is a cause for alarm. It’s been controversial for a number of years. But what’s interesting now is the research points out a number of problems resulting from the baiting of black bear. 

Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. According to the research this can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity. 

Black bears are omnivorous and spend spring, summer & autumn foraging for Native Forage, included known bear foods; berries, acorns, grasses and sedges, other plants, and white-tailed deer.  

Today, black bears in Wisconsin are being conditioned to search out human foods placed at bear baiting stations. This is influencing the black bears natural habitat. Researchers  found that; humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. 

The Researchers found that if food subsidies (bait) were removed, bear-human conflicts may increase and bears may no longer be able to subsist on natural foods. 

During its first century, Yellowstone National Park was known as the place to see and interact with bears. Hundreds of people gathered nightly to watch bears feed on garbage in the park’s dumps. Enthusiastic visitors fed bears along the roads and behaved recklessly to take photographs.

High availability of energy-rich food can also alter denning chronology, shortening the denning period. 

The “heart” in conservation is missing when a species is managed for the sole purpose of harvesting it. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates; most recent data indicates the bear population is currently estimated to be just under 29,000 bears. DNR manages bear population size through regulated hunting. In the end, black bears are managed for economic gain through hunting. 

Individual species should and must be managed for the good of the species and the habitat it depends.  “Do not feed the wildlife.”  Let’s bring back the heart of conservation.

Can we learn from our past mistakes? Don’t feed the bears! Watch the following video.

Call to Action Wisconsinites: Read this Story, Send it to Your Legislators in Madison.

Hounding has got to go! The coyote hunter in the video is never prosecuted. Warning the following video contains violence against a helpless wild sentient-being. Watch the video, then read the story behind it. I’ve been trying to get justice for this coyote since I first found the video in 2014. I turned it in and a Wisconsin DNR Conservation Warden, Nick Miofsky, investigated the hunter in the video and deemed it a case for animal cruelty. The warden turned it over to the Florence county DA. But the District Attorney deemed it to old to prosecute. Even George Myer thinks the actions seen in this video are wrong and illegal. Read the rest of the story because someone sure doesn’t want this video to be seen by the public because it’s a clear case of animal cruelty. Hounding must go! Let’s get JUSTICE for the coyote in the video! Please send this blog to your legislators in Madison, the new WDNR Secretary and the new Governor. Directions are at the bottom of the story.

In the video what you are seeing is a clear act of animal cruelty in progress. Yet the hunter in the video is never prosecuted.

Read the full story.

Will there ever be justice for the coyote being tortured by a hunter’s dogs in the video? I’ve been asking that question for several years now. When I found the horrific video in 2014 that a hunter posted to a hound hunting page I immediately downloaded it. I was hoping to seek justice for the coyote. I sent the video over to a group I was working with at the time in 2014, and they told me they would help me investigate the hounder in the video. I kept asking them if they found anything out about the hounder in the video, but they never got back to me. I gave up trying to get help from this group. After over six months or so of no response from this group, I turned the video and the name of the hunter, Francis Metz, over to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden, Cara Kemke, in June of 2015. (See the screenshots of the emails).

The following screenshot is the response from Warden Kamke. She gave the case to Conservation Warden Nick Miofsky and he contacted me. I gave him all the details of where it was posted and the name of the coyote hunter in the video.

The warden, Nick Miofsky, did an investigation into the video and the hunter Francis Metz. Then, the warden turned the video and the evidence they collected over to the Florence County District Attorney on animal cruelty charges. Finally, I had hope that there would finally be justice for the coyote. How Ironic that in the end the district attorney of Florence county deemed the video as to old to prosecute.

I’ve had this video for four years now, and there’s been no justice for this coyote. Yet, so many people want to keep the horrible truth from being seen. Even George Myer thinks the actions seen in this video are wrong and illegal. But he too did nothing about the animal cruelty being committed by the coyote hunter.

Next, on March 15, 2016 Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin received a message in the inbox from George Meyer Executive Director at Wisconsin Wildlife Federation inquiring about the video on YouTube. The following is the message from George Meyer:

I viewed the Utube film of the dogs attacking the coyotes. While I support coyote hunting, the actions shown on the video are wrong and illegal. Please provide information on whether it took place in Wisconsin and who was involved. If done in Wisconsin I will personally look into it and seek legal redress.

The following is my response to Mr. Meyer’s message:

Thank you for being appalled by the actions in this video as I was. I found the video on a hound hunting Facebook posted by Francis Metz. I turned this over to a warden and it was investigated. Then turned over to the DA in Florence County for animal cruelty. But the DA did not pursue it. It was disappointing. But I haven’t given up and was getting ready to do a FOIA to get all the details. This is my email Address wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com Email me and I will forward you the emails. I look forward to receiving your email, Best, Rachel Tilseth

The following is Mr. Meyers response:

Will contact you tomorrow.

I never received an email back from George Meyer. In fact I never heard from him again. Disappointing to say the least.

That’s not the end of the story. In fact it’s just the beginning. I had the video on Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s You Tube Channel for a number of years, that is until March 15, 2017. It was taken down by YouTube deeming that it violates community standards. And a strike was assigned against my account.

My question is why was the video deemed, “violates YouTube’s community standards” then removed on March 15, 2017? Apparently all a person has to do to get a video removed is complain by clicking on the Flag Icon appearing on the far right under the video.

How to Remove Videos From YouTube That Someone Else Uploaded (source)

Wave the Flag

Under each video on YouTube is a toolbar with buttons that perform different actions, with a Flag icon appearing on the far right. This is the flagging tool which allows you to report a video to YouTube staff for review. Click the button and provide details as to why the video should be removed. If the video violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines it will be removed; but if there is no violation, the video will not be removed no matter how often it is flagged.

The video was removed and a strike was placed against Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s YouTube channel. Dare I even suggest a campaign by coyote hunters was responsible for removing the video?

Someone, or several “someone’s” wanted this video off my You Tube channel. Perhaps the proof is in the video, that clearly shows the coyote is being tortured by the hunter’s dogs. Why are they trying to cover up this animal cruelty? I want justice for the coyote in the video. The coyote hunter in the video was never prosecuted. Let’s not let the barbarous act committed against the coyote go unchallenged!

Please help me find justice for the the coyote…

The coyote was once a living breathing member of a community, and living in the wild in northern Wisconsin. Please take action copy and paste the link of this blog and send it to your Wisconsin State legislators, the head of the Wisconsin DNR executive team.

There’s a new Governor Tony Evers too!

Contact your local municipality, county boards and state assembly & senate and ask for a ban on wildlife killing contests! #GetInvolved

Contact Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Click here 

Contact Wisconsin State Assembly click here 

Contact Wisconsin State Senate click here 

Say shame on this hunter who pushed his dogs to attack a coyote in the video! We want justice for the coyote! Hounding Wildlife has got to go! Animal cruelty is against the Law.

Featured image credit Sean Crane Photograply

And thank you for sharing this blog!

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Coyotes are hunted year round in Wisconsin, and coyote hunters are allowed to use dogs to track and trail coyote. But it’s illegal to allow your dogs to engage and attack the coyote. Dogs are often used in coyote hunting contests as well.

______________

Special thanks to Wisconsin Conservation Officers Kara Kempke and Nick Miofsky for following up and investigating these animal cruelty acts seen in the video. These wardens did their jobs. Unfortunately the District Attorney in Florence County did not! On January 7th 2019 the New Governor Tony Evers will take Office. He has appointed a new Department of Natural Secretary.

Copy and paste this blog in your message to the new Wisconsin Governor.

House Passes H.R. 6784 Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to Reissue Removal of Gray Wolf from ESL in the Lower 48 States…

There’s more than one side to a coin. One side of the coin demonstrates the pro side for preserving the Endangered Species Act; While the other side pushes to role back progress made in preserving our wildlife & wild lands. But if you pick up that same coin, and begin rubbing your fingers along all the sides; You become acutely aware of a third side to the coin with a new edge to it. It’s called checks and balances that remind us what democracy is all about. And the Endangered Species Act is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

The War on Wolves Continued this week in Congress. The House of Representatives, passed a bill, H.R.6784 – Manage our Wolves Act calling for Gray wolf delisting in the lower 48 states and prevents any judicial review of this bad legislative decision. The bill even includes the delisting of the Mexican Gray wolf as well. This bill is a desperate attempt to push through rotten legislation at the zero hour before Democrats take over the house. I use the term “rotten” to describe this legislation because it undermines decades of environmental progress starting with the Endangered Species Act itself. H.R. 6784 is a bill backed by big-monied special interests because they want free and easy access to the land.

The Endangered Species Act  (ESA) of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  “And their Habitats” part is what extractive industries hate. They hate it because it’s what prevents them from gaining free and easy access to wild lands. In other words, the ESA is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

This “rotten” House Bill will head to the Senate now. It’s hard to believe that any senator will pass a bill that calls for delisting gray wolves on such a grand scale let alone removes any judicial review of the misguided decision. This H.R. 6784 bill is a far reaching piece of legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act. What will happen next in a senate version remains to be seen.

As of May 10, 2016, the act listed 1,367 species of animals and 901 species of plants as endangered or threatened.

It’s vital that Americans throw their full support behind preserving the ESA because if these factions get their way by delisting gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states, it’s only the beginning of the end. It’s only the beginning of the end for our Wildlife that are already at the brink of extinction & destruction through habitat loss and climate change.

The Bald Eagle was a symbol for ESA and you could even say was the “spearhead” that brought us the ESA in the 1970s. I believe that the gray wolf is now that spearhead in today’s fight for preservation of wildlife & wilderness. The Gray wolf stands between extractive industrial special interests & Preserving the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf has been a scapegoat of Big Ag for centuries ever since the development of expensive cattle breeds. The Gray wolf was a threat to these fat cows, and a bounty was placed on their heads. Today the gray wolf in the lower 48 states occupies less than 2% of their historic range. I ask the question when is enough, enough? The recent action in the House of Representatives proves our politicians are not for the people. They are about themselves and as corrupt as ever. Even president Richard Nixon, that resigned or face prosecution for the Watergate break in, was for preserving our endangered & threatened wildlife. He had more integrity it seems than the political parties in power now.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was created to protect animals and plants that were in danger of becoming extinct. “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” said President Richard Nixon while signing the act on December 28, 1973.

Gray wolves have evolved as nature’s best tool for keeping our ecosystems healthy. A gray wolf can detect disease in White-tailed deer because they have such a powerful olfactory sense. According to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources Wolf Progress Report Winter 2017-2018:

White-tailed deer density estimates increased 2% statewide from the previous year estimate (Stenglein, 2018). In wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range and containing 80% of the minimum winter wolf count, deer density estimates increased 19% compared to 2016. 

Statewide continuous wolf pack range was estimated to be 23,687 mi2 in northern and central forested regions of Wisconsin. Using the 2018 minimum population count of 905-944 wolves, wolf density is estimated to be 1 wolf per 25.1 to 26.2 mi2 of contiguous wolf range, calculated by dividing contiguous wolf range by the minimum population count range according to the report.

Yet, Representative Duffy (R-WI) who is behind this “rotten” legislation that passed the House proves he has no interest in his own state’s scientific data.

It’s essential that we throw our support behind stopping this “rotten” legislative attempt at delisting gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states, that is now headed for the senate. There’s more than one side to a coin. One side of the coin demonstrates the pro side for preserving the Endangered Species Act; While the other side pushes to role back progress made in preserving our wildlife & wild lands. But if you pick up that same coin, and begin rubbing your fingers along all the sides; You become acutely aware of a third side to coin with a new edge to it. It’s called checks and balances that remind us what democracy is all about. And the Endangered Species Act is the “gatekeeper” that ensures the preservation of our wildlife & the habitat they depend on.

Take action contact your senator

By E-mail

All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the Senators from your State. Some Senators have e-mail addresses while others post comment forms on their web sites. When sending e-mail to your Senator, please include your return postal mailing address. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many Senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another Senator’s constituent.

By Postal Mail

You can direct postal correspondence to your Senator or to other U.S.Senate offices at the following address: 

For correspondence to U.S. Senators: 

Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 

For correspondence to Senate Committees: 

(Name of Committee)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 

By Telephone

Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

#GetActive Thank you!

The following graphic represents how individual states such as Wisconsin value our wildlife.

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet:

 Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting? To read more click here

Lawsuit argues that wolves must remain federally protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national recovery plan.

“We won’t let the Trump administration bring wolf recovery to a screeching halt to benefit the blood sport of trophy hunting,” said Collette Adkins, a Minneapolis-based Center biologist and attorney. “If successful, our lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and block their efforts to prematurely remove protection.”

Lawsuit Fights Trump Administration Effort to Strip Gray Wolves of Protection 

Action Seeks Legally Required National Wolf Recovery Plan

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never providing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide, which is required by the law.

Today’s lawsuit argues that wolves must remain federally protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national recovery plan. But the agency is planning to remove endangered species protection from nearly all gray wolves in the lower 48 states through a proposed rule expected next month. 

That would make wolves vulnerable to trophy hunting and trapping, halting their progress toward recovery. 

“We won’t let the Trump administration bring wolf recovery to a screeching halt to benefit the blood sport of trophy hunting,” said Collette Adkins, a Minneapolis-based Center biologist and attorney. “If successful, our lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and block their efforts to prematurely remove protection.”

A recovery plan would enable wolves to establish viable populations in areas where small populations are still recovering, including California, Oregon and Washington. 

It would also promote recovery in areas like the southern Rockies, Dakotas and Adirondacks, which have suitable wolf habitat but no remaining wolf populations. 

“Wolves are still missing from more than 90 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states, and the Endangered Species Act, and common sense tell us we can’t ignore that loss,” said Adkins. “We’re doing all we can to make sure Trump officials fulfill their obligation to restore wolves in key habitats across the country.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, explains that the Service unreasonably denied the Center’s formal petition requesting development of a nationwide wolf recovery plan. Beyond the plan the Endangered Species Act requires the agency to conduct a status review every five years. But six years have passed since the last national wolf status review.

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2018

Contact: Collette Adkins, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

Featured photographs by John E Marriott

Urgent Action Required to Protect Gray Wolves From Delisting Threat in Wisconsin, Minnesota & Michigan…

The U.S. House of Representatives scheduled a vote the week of November 12 on H.R. 6784, a bipartisan bill requiring the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules removing gray wolves from the threatened and endangered species list in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bill would also prevent further judicial review of these rules.
Please contact your members of Congress (click here) and encourage a “no” vote on H.R.
This is how the state of Wisconsin wants to manage it’s wolf population.

Delisting Wisconsin’s gray wolf would once again allow wolf hunters to run hound dogs on them…

During wolf recovery in 2006 on a snow covered road in northern Wisconsin I found wolf sign every tenth of a mile while tracking. This was on the very edge of wolf territory. I found wolf tracks, raised leg urination, squat urination and scent marking. This was a lucky find! Even better was finding a snow capped pine tree sapling with rust colored urine on it. This was the sign of estrus, meaning the alpha female was ready to mate. This was the time of year when wolves created new life. Alpha males are very protective this time of year.

Flash forward to the year 2014 and the memory of finding wolf breeding sign came flooding back to me while I was sitting in on a WDNR Wolf Advisory committee meeting. The topic of discussion was about training hound hunting dogs on wolves during wolf breeding season. The pro wolf hunt members were arguing that they should be allowed to train dogs on wolves during mating season. Yes! You heard that right! Out of all the states that hunt wolves Wisconsin is the only state that allows the barbaric practice of wolf Hounding.

I’m convinced, after what I witnessed at that wolf advisory committee meeting, that there’s no way Wisconsin should be allowed to manage its gray wolf population. That’s not responsible wolf management. Under Wisconsin’s current political party in power gray wolves will never be managed for conservation. You might as well throw a ring around wolf territory and call it “Dog Fighting” cause running dogs on wolves during mating season is cruel to dogs and wolves! Photo by Niebrugge Images

Please vote on November 6! #StopExtinction

US Rep Sean Duffy (R-WI) Proposes Removing Endangered Species Act Protection for Gray Wolves in the Lower 48 States…

…Duffy wants management returned to the states and court challenges of management plans would not be allowed under his proposal. Duffy proposes removing wolves from Endangered Species Act Law would eliminate possible court challenges by Rick Olivo Ashland Daily Press rolivo@ashlanddailypress.net

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy again is trying to kill Endangered Species Act protection for wolves, this time as he is headed into a contentious election.

His proposal introduced earlier this month marks the fourth time in three years that members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation have tried to reverse federal court actions that reinstated wolf protections. Previous efforts by Duffy and former Republican Rep. Reid Ribble of Shorewood have gone nowhere.

In a news release issued by Duffy, he said the bill would return management of the roughly 900 wolves in Wisconsin to state officials.

“Wisconsin deserves the opportunity to use science-based wildlife management for our own gray wolf population, because we know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington,” Duffy said. “I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away.”

The wolf decline

Wolves were virtually extirpated in Wisconsin by hunters and farmers who feared depredations to livestock and who were also encouraged by bounties for wolf kills. Although wolves were essentially extinct in the state by the 1950s, the bounty remained in existence until 1957.

In the 1970s, wolves naturally began to make a comeback in the state and they were added to the Endangered Species Act in 1974, with the state following suit in 1975. In the face of growing numbers of wolves in the state, wolves were removed from the Endangered

Species Act in 2012 after a number of court challenges. A further legal challenge resulted in wolves being relisted in 2014.

Opponents of the relisting say it gives farmers and ranchers no legal avenue to protect their livestock from wolves.

Duffy’s proposal would allow all 48 of the continental United States to control their own populations and it includes a clause that says the action “shall not be subject to judicial review.”

Duffy Communications Director Mark Bednar said the bill, known as the Manage our Wolves Act, has bipartisan support. Its cosponsors include Washington representatives Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside and Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Spokane and Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson, D-Detroit Lakes. He said the bill is different than earlier efforts.

“This would delist grey wolves over a wide range, the entire 48 states, rather than just reissue the older Fish and Wildlife Service rule, which is what the previous bill did; it was more narrow in scope, delisting protections only in the upper Midwest and in Wyoming.”

In an interview with radio-based Brownfield Ag News, Duffy said he has a slim-but-real possibility of getting the bill passed in the House by the end of September.

“We have the votes to pass it (in the House). Once that happens, I’ve got a few senators who have indicated they will introduce a companion bill in the Senate so we can get a package to the president’s desk,” Duffy told Brownfield.

Bednar said the act reflects the policy not only of the Trump administration, but also of the Obama administration, both of which agreed that wolves should be delisted.

“But they were and are being prevented from doing so because of the courts,” he said.

Pros and cons

There are arguments for and against delisting. Farmers are among those who most vocally favor removing protections.

Jack Johnson, a director with the North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, told Wisconsin Public Radio in January that he supports any effort to delist the wolf.

“The state could start managing them and get a little control over the numbers, because right (now) they’re expanding way more than we’ve got room for them,” Johnson said.

The state spent $200,505 in wolf-damage payments to those who lost animals or livestock in 2015. Earlier this year, state officials were organizing claims from 2016, primarily from farmers and bear hunters whose dogs strayed into wolf territory and were killed.

“Given the number of dogs that were killed, the significant increase in the compensation payments related to hunting dogs, that is likely to drive an increase in the total amount of compensation,” said Dave MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

He said 31 farms experienced wolf depredation or harassment in 2016 compared to the 35 farms in 2015.

Wolf advocates remain opposed to placing the wolf back under state management. Rachel Tilseth, founder of the website Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, said her organization has little faith in the state to do what is best for the animals.

“Because apparently management of wolves means a wolf hunt,” Tilseth said. “For them, that’s the only way that they feel they can manage them, is through the hunting and trapping and barbaric use of dogs.”

Peter David, wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said tribes also are concerned about the precedent that could be set with wolf delisting legislation.

“There are real concerns about any effort that undermines the Endangered Species Act if we start cherry-picking,” David said.

Wisconsin tribes oppose a wolf hunt and did not allow wolf hunting on reservations prior to the relisting.

“The tribes in general have supported maintaining wolves on the Endangered Species Act because of the cultural significance of wolves,” said David. “The tribes have felt those types of protections are appropriate for wolves.”

Meanwhile, the Sigurd Olson-based Timber Wolf Alliance is not opposed to the concept of delisting, but according to Alliance head Adrian Wyd even, the devil is in the details.

“Historically, the Timber Wolf Alliance has supported efforts to downlist and delist wolves in the western Great Lakes region, done through normal Endangered Species processes through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” he said. The Alliance has favored reducing the timber wolf status to threatened from endangered and supported delisting in 2006 and 2011.

“But I think we would have some concerns about delisting wolves throughout the U.S. without a much more thorough assessment and analysis, something that should be done through the Fish and Wildlife Service, not just as a congressional action.”

Wydeven said that by agreeing with delisting in the past, the Alliance has concluded that states can be good conservationists in managing state wolf populations.

Nevertheless, many members of the Alliance were uncomfortable with the “overly aggressive” hunting goals set by the state.

“I am sure there would be concerns by our membership if that is done nationwide,” he said.

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Featured image credit NPS photo / JMills