In Wisconsin every summer hunters running dogs on Black Bear come into conflict with Gray wolves.

Gray wolves keep their three month old pups at rendezvous sites while they go hunting. Conflicts arise when bear hunters run their dogs through rendezvous sites. Gray wolves are forced to defend vulnerable pups from free ranging packs of hunting dogs.

Bear Hunters and Wolves

In the 1960s Wisconsin started allowing the use of dogs in the pursuit of bear. At that time there were maybe a handfull of wolves in Wisconsin if any. Wolves were not a threat to bear hunters because they were all but wiped out of Wisconsin by the 1960s.  It all changed for bear hunters when Wisconsin Wolf recovery began in the late 1970s.

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves isn’t new. Watch the following Wisconsin Public Television piece from 2010.

A Brief History on Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf

In 1967 and 1974 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the eastern timber wolf a federally endangered species. In 1975, wolves were listed as a state endangered species as they began to recolonize along the Minnesota border. Wolves crossed over into Wisconsin from Minnesota and established territories on their own. Today, Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is listed on the Endangered Species List. Final Rule to Delist – – Due to a Federal court decision, wolves in the western Great Lakes area (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) were relisted under the Endangered Species Act, effective December 19, 2014.

Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Current Population

The 2017-18 overwinter minimum wolf count is 905-944, a 2.2% decrease from the 2016-17 minimum count of 925-956. The 2018-19 overwinter minimum wolf count is 914-978, a 1% increase from the 2017-18 minimum count of 905-944. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf appears to be self regulating.

Carrying capacity is an ecological term for the number of a given species that an ecosystem can sustainably support. Socialcarrying capacity, however, refers to the number of a species that people feel is appropriate.

Wisconsin Black Bear Hunters use dogs to track and trail bears. Conflicts arise when a hunter’s dogs run through Gray Wolf’s rendezvous sites where pups are kept. Rendezvous sites are:

Rendezvous Site Identification and Protection source WDNR Endangered Resources

Active Season for Rendezvous Sites: mid-May – mid-October

Habitat: Rendezvous sites are generally open areas of grass or sedge adjacent to wetlands. The sites are characterized by extensive matted vegetation, numerous trails, and beds usually at the forest edge. Rendezvous sites are often adjacent to bogs or occur in semi-open stands of mixed conifer-hardwoods adjacent to swamps. Sometimes abandoned beaver ponds are used as rendezvous sites.

Description: Rendezvous sites are the home sites or activity sites used by wolves after the denning period, and prior to the nomadic hunting period of fall and winter. Pups are brought to the rendezvous sites from dens when they are weaned, and remain at rendezvous sites until the pups are old enough to join the pack on their hunting circuits. Rendezvous site may be associated with food sources such as ungulate kills or berry patches. Generally a series of rendezvous sites are used by a specific pack. Rendezvous sites are mostly used from mid-June to late-September, but use may start as early as mid-May and may continue to early or mid-October. Some intermittent use of rendezvous sites may continue into the fall. It appears that the average number of rendezvous sites used by wolf packs is 4-6.

Although den and rendezvous sites each serve separate functions for wolves, they are sometimes used interchangeably. Excavations sometimes occur at rendezvous sites and these may be used as den sites in the future. Sometimes rendezvous sites may represent old den site areas. Therefore, a site used as a rendezvous site one year, could be used as a den site the next year or vice versa. Due to the transient use of rendezvous sites, special protections are not necessary. If recent excavations are observed indicating possible use as a den site, protocols in place for den site protection should be followed. Source

“Most Wisconsin citizens want at least some wolf presence in the state, but those who feel strongly, at either end of the spectrum, drive the argument.” Lisa Naughton, UW-Madison geography professor.

Wisconsin DNR puts out the following when there is a wolf depredation on hunting dogs:

When wolves attack dogs in hunting or training situations on public land, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will create wolf caution areas to warn hunters that a specific pack has attacked a dog or group of dogs. Bear hunters are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train hounds or hunt bear with hounds near any caution area, especially if near an actual kill site.

When a wolf depredation takes place on a Bear hunter’s dog he is compensated $2,500.00 per dog. Wisconsin’s wolf depredation program began in 1982, and soon afterwards bear hunters running dogs in pursuit of bear began receiving payouts. The payouts for wolf depredations were paid in the effort to help compensate hunters, livestock owners and residents living in wolf recovery areas.

We must mitigate the decades old conflict between bear hunters and wolves…

In 2015 Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBA) worked at loosening regulations for bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear. It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting license. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. 

I started working on the Wisconsin wolf recovery program as a volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker in the year 2000. I lost track of how many “no-wolf” bumper stickers were encountered in a day of tracking in the the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This conflict between bear Hunters and wolves is decades-old.

It’s time we begin to address the conflict, especially with the possible delisting threats on the horizon. This would mean Wolf management would fall into state hands.

Contact your Wisconsin State Representative. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf needs your help.

Vehicle Collisions and Illegal kills Were the Leading Causes of Death for Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf

The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report describes wolf management and monitoring activities conducted in Wisconsin during the wolf monitoring year, April 15th, 2017 to April 14th, 2018. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) reverted to federally endangered status in the Western Great Lakes region as the result of a federal court decision in December 2014. They have been in this status for the entire monitoring period. The Gray Wolf Monitoring Report done through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and can be found on their website.

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.

Figure 5 Wisconsin Wolf Monitoring Report WDNR Website

Wolf population monitoring was conducted using a territory mapping with telemetry technique, summer howl surveys, winter snow track surveys, recovery of dead wolves, depredation investigations, and collection of public observation reports.

A total of 36 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4% of the minimum 2016-2017 late winter count of 925- 952 wolves.

Wolf mortality was monitored through field observation and mandatory reporting of control mortalities. Cause of death for wolves reported dead in the field was determined through field investigation or by necropsy when illegal activity was suspected or where cause of death was not evident during field investigation. A total of 36 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4% of the minimum 2016-2017 late winter count of 925- 952 wolves according to the report.

Vehicle collisions (39%) and illegal kills (19%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities and were similar to the rates detected the previous year. Human caused mortality represented 72% of known cause detected mortalities overall. [for more details click here]

Eleven collared wolves died during the monitoring period. All were being actively monitored at the time of death (Table 5). Cause of death could not be determined for 3 collared wolves. For the 8 where cause of death could be determined, 3 (38%) were illegally killed, 2 (25%) were killed by vehicle collision, 1 likely died as a result of capture related myopathy, 1 died as a result of disease, and 1 apparently died as a result of intraspecific strife.

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.

Wolf depredation incidents were investigated by United States Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services. During the monitoring period, Wildlife Services confirmed 59 wolf complaints of the 103 investigated (Figure 6).

Table 6 Wisconsin Wolf Monitoring Report

Unconfirmed complaints were either confirmed to be due to causes other than wolves or lacked sufficient evidence to attribute a cause. Thirty-one incidents of wolf depredation to livestock and 6 incidents of wolf threat to livestock were confirmed on 31 different farms during the monitoring period (Table 6). This included 13 of 34 farms classified as chronic wolf depredation farms (38%). 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 (Figure 7).

Twenty incidents of non-livestock depredation and 2 incidents of non-livestock threats were confirmed during the monitoring period. his included 17 dogs killed and 10 injured while actively engaged in hunting activities, and 1 dog killed and 2 injured outside of hunting situations (Figure 8). This was a 55% decrease from 2016-17 when 44 incidents of non-livestock depredation were confirmed. Fifteen of seventeen (88%) of hunting dog incidents occurred between July 15th and October 1st. One incident occurred in January and 1 occurred in March.

Looking at the Figures 6 & 7 with years 2007 to 2018, there’s a marked decrease. This disproves the theory that wolf hunts, that took place in 2012, 2012 & 2014 would decrease wolf depredations on farms. In other words, wolf complaints have gone down as the wolf population stabilizes.

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.

Population monitoring and law enforcement efforts detected 7 wolves illegally killed within the monitoring period. Law enforcement staff conducted 4 wolf related investigations and issued 2 citations during the reporting period (Table 7).

White-tailed deer are the primary prey species for wolves in Wisconsin. Units used for monitoring Wisconsin deer are counties, or in some cases, partial counties. Counties were assigned to the wolf management unit that the majority of the county falls in to compare deer density changes in the wolf management units (Table 8). 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. New recommendations from the County Deer Advisory Councils for deer population objectives were approved by the Natural Resources Board in 2018. The current recommendations are more varied than the previous recommendations, but are still primarily to increase or maintain the deer population in each of the 6 wolf management units. There is no indication that prey density is, or will negatively impact the wolf population.

For the Full Report go to WISCONSIN GRAY WOLF MONITORING REPORT 15 APRIL 2017 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2018

The House Passed the Department of Interior funding bill, which includes language that would delist wolves throughout the lower 48 states and preclude legal challenges to delisting. And now is on its way to the senate.

And…In the Senate there’s Legislation being proposed that would rewrite the Endanered Species Act. Under Barrasso’s proposal, individual states would be given key authority over the federal program to conserve threatened and endangered species.

Here’s what you can do…

You can help stop this threat to the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senator. Click here for their contact information.

Here’s another way you can help. Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE), Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper is the best way to reach a large audience with your message. Click here for more information on how to get involved.

Furthermore…

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun reviewing the status of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Working closely with federal, state, tribal and local partners, the Service will assess the currently listed gray wolf entities in the lower 48 states using the best available scientific information. If appropriate, the Service will publish a proposal to revise the wolf’s status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year. Any proposal will follow a robust, transparent and open public process that will provide opportunity for public comment.

Featured photograph credit: belongs to owner

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Join WODCW’s #GetInvolved Campaign to Show Support for the Endangered Species Act. Post your selfie today!

Your sign should say:

#GetInvolved

#StopExtinction

To my US Senate Representative,

No to rewriting the Endangered Species Act!

Then, send us your selfie with your name and state you are from and we will post it on our Facebook page: send to wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com

Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Population Reports Show a Two Percent Decrease From the Previous Year…

In the news this week DNR Wisconsin’s over winter wolf population count has declined slightly from last years. The state’s wolf population may be stabilizing after decades of growth, according to a report from the state Department of Resources in a WDNR wolf count brief 2017-2018 .

Volunteer trackers reported between 900 and 950 wolf sightings this winter, a slight decline compared with the numbers from the previous year.

The data shows a 2% decrease in wolf numbers from the previous year, and could be a sign the population of the apex predator is leveling off.

“It’s possible wolves have filled the suitable habitat in Wisconsin,” said Scott Walter, DNR large carnivore specialist. “It’s been anticipated the population would stabilize, but it’s one year of data and we’ll need more before we can make such a conclusion.” Interview by Paul Smith Milwaukee Sentinel

As indicated by the WDNR these are preliminary numbers and the 2017-2018 full over the winter wolf population numbers report will be posted sometime in the next two weeks.

Last year’s WISCONSIN GRAY WOLF MONITORING REPORT 15 APRIL 2016 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2017 can be found on Gray wolf in Wisconsin’s DNR website. In these wolf monitoring reports you’ll find data that includes: Statewide Wolf Distribution, Wolf Mortality, Disease / Parasite Occurrence in Wolves & Body Condition, Disease / Parasite Occurrence in Wolves & Body Condition, Regulatory Changes Affecting Wolf Management, Law Enforcement and Information on Wolf Prey Species.

The following is From WDNR Press Release

Data collected during the 2017-18 winter tracking reveal overwinter minimum wolf count of 905-944 in Wisconsin

Contact(s): Scott Walter, DNR large carnivore ecologist, 608-267-7865

MADISON – Following continued monitoring efforts, data suggest that Wisconsin’s wolf population may have begun to stabilize and remains above established recovery goals.

Data collected by over 100 volunteer trackers and Department of Natural Resources staff during the 2017-18 winter reveal an overwinter minimum wolf count of 905-944 wolves [PDF], a 2.2 percent decrease from the 925-956 wolves detected during the 2016-17 count [PDF]. The number of packs detected increased slightly, from 232 packs last year to 238 this past winter. Wisconsin’s wolf population had been increasing consistently over the past 25 years.

Wolves in Wisconsin remain listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act and management authority is held by the federal government. Federal listing status restricts state management, including any lethal wolf management tools.

“The Endangered Species Act did its job–its protections were instrumental in allowing this species to successfully reestablish itself within our wildlife community,” said Scott Walter, DNR large carnivore ecologist. “However, the population has been well above established recovery goals for two decades and there is no biological reason for wolves to remain on the endangered species list. Federal delisting would allow more flexibility in dealing with issues like wolf depredation of livestock and pets and divert important endangered species funding and resources to the conservation of species that are truly at risk.”

Wolf surveys are conducted annually during winter months, when snow cover affords suitable tracking conditions. The wolf population is at its lowest point during this time of year, so survey results are considered minimum counts. The population increases each spring with the birth of pups, then declines throughout the remainder of the year due to various mortality factors.

To view a summary of wolf monitoring information and to learn more about wolves in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “wolf.” To learn more about the volunteer tracking program and opportunities to participate, search keywords “wolf volunteer tracking.” Classes for new volunteer wolf trackers will be held later in 2018. (end of WDNR’s press release)

Volunteer trackers receive the the wolf count pack details for each survey block counted. The distribution maps will be available sometime in the next few weeks. We look forward to the full reports.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. ~George Bernard Shaw

Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee (WAC) with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.

The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp (WDNR secretary at the time) this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC.  From WODCW’s Blog

In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was once exterminated from our forest, and are now reclaiming their historic range, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan. Historically, we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.

I encourage Wisconsin’s citizens to get involved in the wolf management plan. Wisconsin’s wolf recovery began in the late 1970s. Wolves are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy.

Featured photograph by Ian McAllister

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View Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s Film Project pitch trailer

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Will the Government Ever Get it Right on Delisting the Gray Wolf in the Great Lakes Region?

These and other questions come to mind as the Federal Government Working On Removing Gray Wolf From Endangered Species List . Will Wisconsin be transparent in its management of the Gray wolf population, and once again allow for greater pubic input as it did prior to the 2012 USF&WS delisting decision.

In 2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 legislation mandated a trophy hunt on the newly delisted Gray wolf. Wisconsin Act 169 allowed reckless management policies such as; 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.” Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet

In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves.

This reckless management of the Gray wolf was overturned as part of Humane Society of the United States lawsuit of USF&WS’s 2012 delisting. In December 2014 a federal judge put Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Region back on the Endangered Species List. USF&WS appealed the 2014 ruling, but the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should remain on the endangered species list, July 2017.

Besides the horrific wolf management policies by the state of Wisconsin, problems exist within the way USF&WS determines criteria for wolf delisting in the Great Lakes Region in 2011. It’s seems USF&WS got its “hand slapped” by a judges ruling for trying to delist using the following:

“The proposal identifies the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of wolves, which includes a core area of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as parts of adjacent states that are within the range of wolves dispersing from the core recovery area.” USF&WS Press Release 2011

But then, on July 2017, the three-judge panel unanimously said the wolves should stay under federal protection. The judges wrote, “The Endangered Species Act’s text requires the Service, when reviewing and redetermining the status of a species, to look at the whole picture of the listed species, not just a segment of it.”

As the Associated Press reports the judges ruled that,

“The service had not adequately considered a number of factors in making its decision, including loss of the wolf’s historical range and how its removal from the endangered list would affect the predator’s recovery in other areas, such as New England, North Dakota and South Dakota.”

Just how reckless is Wisconsin in its management policies of the Gray wolf?

If the Gray wolf in Wisconsin gets delisted tomorrow; it’s a law that a wolf hunt must take place:

“If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.” 2012 Wisconsin Act 169

A brief history on Wisconsin’s reckless management of it’s wolf population, 2012 through 2014.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Advisory Committee is not far and balanced. In other words, there is no transparency in WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s Wolf management process (WDNR secretary at the time).

WDNR Wolf Advisory Committee met once a month during the legislatively mandated trophy hunt on Wisconsin’s Gray wolf. The WAC recommend how wolf management in Wisconsin should be done. Here is a list of Cathy Stepp’s (WDNR secretary at the time) hand Picked WAC, that she thinks better suited to, “…people who were willing to work with us in partnership…”:United States Fish & Wildlife Service(USFWS), United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services(USDA WS), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission(GLIFWC), Wisconsin County Forest Association(WCFA), Wisconsin Conservation Congress(WCC), Safari Club International(SCI), Timber Wolf Alliance(TWA), Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association(WBHA), Wisconsin Bowhunters Association(WBA), Wisconsin Cattlemans Association(WCA), Wisconsin Trappers Association(WTA), Wisconsin Wildlife Federation(WWF) and 10 WDNR biologists. WODCW blog

Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  WPR reporter Chuck Quirmbach June 2014 

At a WI DNR meeting secretary Cathy Stepp admitted, “When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.” Source WPR June 2014

I was was interviewed on June 2014 regarding DNR secretary kicking off wolf hunt opponents Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting. She later said she didn’t care for Stepp’s remarks.

“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”

Recap of the last two years in the never-ending political rhetoric designed to stir public sentiment against an endangered species.

Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest 2016. The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags. From WI DNR Press Release 

The increase in buck harvest is hopeful news, because fringe hunters, along with some politicians are claiming that wolves are killing all the deer. This news puts a damper on republican Senator Tom Tiffany’s efforts to delist the wolf.

“A Great Lakes Summit in September 2016, was organized by two Republican lawmakers from northern Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow, who hope control of the wolf population returns to state governments.” MPR News

The 30 percent buck increase in the Northern Forest Zone (where the wolf lives) is good news as DNR’s own scientific data is proving wolves aren’t eating all the white-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin.

Yet, certain politicians in Wisconsin refuse to believe scientific fact.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species.

Are wolves killing more livestock?

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock.

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2015 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

Wisconsin’s wild wolf is the most talked about animal of late.  Politicians in Wisconsin have villianized the wolf, and are pushing to delist him.  It’s no secret that one cannot trust politicians. Politicians are in competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; they’ve created propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

Politicians have removed science from wolf management and replaced it with political rhetoric. They put together a Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee with stakeholders primarily from the hunting community.

The WAC is heavily slanted towards recreational trophy hunting of wolves with 9 citizen pro wolf hunting organizations to 1 pro wolf citizen organization. Further, according to Cathy Stepp this committee is more productive than opponents of the wolf hunt. There is evidence to the contrary that shows the WAC productiveness is comparable to reality TV’s Housewives of NYC.  From WODCW’s Blog

In conclusion, if USF&WS, the government, gets it right this time in delisting the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Region Wisconsin citizens must push for greater transparency in wolf management. Because trophy hunts are about power not conservation. We owe the Gray wolf, that was exterminated from our forest, an ethical & compassionate conservation management plan, because we have done enough harm to this iconic predator.

Washington State University wolf researcher agrees to settle lawsuit…

Dr. Rob Wielgus: War on Wolf Science

Rob is one of the continent’s leading experts on wolf-livestock interactions. His pioneering research on wolves and livestock in eastern Washington found that lethal control of wolves was in fact increasing livestock depredations, and that ranchers who took part in his cooperative program employing nonlethal measures experienced minimal livestock mortality due to wolves.

Due to political pressure placed upon the administration of the Washington State University, the College of Agriculture placed limits on the speech of Dr. Wielgus and his Large Carnivore Research Laboratory concerning wolves, removed grant funding from Dr. Wielgus, and subjected him to a series of wrongful disciplinary actions as a means of forcing silence on lethal control issues, oftentimes at the behest of a local Republican legislator.

Dr. Wielgus contacted PEER, and his First Amendment academic freedom case resulted in a settlement enabling him to retire from the university.

PEER’s campaign center is located here: https://www.peer.org/campaigns/wildlife-protection/war-on-wolves-and-science/

A WSU wolf researcher takes the payment to go away in the settlement of a lawsuit over academic freedom. Seattle Times

By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times environment reporter

A leading wolf researcher has agreed to leave Washington State University at the end of the spring term in return for $300,000 to settle a suit he brought over infringement of his academic freedom.

Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, pioneered research of wolf behavior in cattle country as the predators began their return to Washington.

Wielgus tracked the behavior of wolves and cattle and learned that the state’s policy of killing wolves that had preyed on cattle was likely to lead to more cattle predation, not less, because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs.

The research was unpopular with ranchers, who complained to lawmakers in the Washington State Legislature, who, in turn,

Wielgus filed a lawsuit this past year with the assistance of PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, alleging the university had silenced and punished him for his research findings to placate politicians beholden to ranchers.

Emails obtained by The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request revealed that WSU administrators were worried funding for a new medical school was in jeopardy unless controversy in the Legislature and among ranchers over Wielgus was quelled.

“ … Highly ranked senators have said that the medical school and wolves are linked. If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” Dan Coyne, lobbyist for WSU, wrote his colleague, Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist, two days after the paper’s publication. Read full Seattle Times Story here

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Feature image by Ian McCallistar

One Minnesota bear hunting party, five hounds, at a reimbursement cost of $12,500.00

That’s just a tiny fraction of the cost Wisconsin pays for the sport of running dogs on bear.

Let’s not forget the costs for wildlife; the bear cubs separated from their mothers, foraging black bears are kept on the move, and how about the White-tailed deer forced to protect her fawn from packs of free roaming hunting dogs in pursuit of bear.

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. A few Wisconsin legislators claim these deaths were due to the high wolf population of 866 in 2016, but there’s a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye. Adrian Wydeven, former Wisconsin DNR Head Wolf biologist, wrote in a opinion editorial, “Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate” written on November 12, 2016 and suggested that: 

“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).” Source

What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds? 

It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. WODCW’s Blog

Dogs may be trained statewide by pursuing bear from July 1 through Aug. 31. 

Lisa Makarrall, Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin researcher, obtained the 2016 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Depredations Payments list. 

The list of wolf depredation payments for 2016, paid out to bear hunters with the same last name, and from Minnesota, read like the following:

On August 12, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnesota for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)

On August 14, 2016, $5,000.00 was paid out to a Marne Gall from Hillmen, Minnesota for two hounds killed by wolves in Bayfield county.  (Township 45)

On August 14, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county. (Township 46)

On August 21, 2016 $2,500.00 was paid out to a Leon Gall from Pierz, Minnestos for one hound killed by wolves in Bayfield county.  (Township 45)

Are Marne Gall & Leon Gall related?  When you google a Marne Gall she comes up as from a Pierz, Minnesota.  

When the sport of pursing bear with dogs began in 1963 wolves were all but eradicated in the state of Wisconsin. 

How many more lives will be lost in pursuit of bear before Wisconsin residents say enough is enough. 

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves. 

Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction; by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment. They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

The 2016 wolf depredations payments list speaks volumes about the growing conflict between bear hunters using dogs to pursue bear. Every year the WDNR reminds the public:

Dog owners are reminded to exercise caution in wolf occupied areas, especially those using their dogs to hunt. Conflicts between hunting dogs and wolves are most common during the bear training and hunting season. WDNR

More to come…

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It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species. 

There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in four states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) 

In congress Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) is proposing legislation to delist the wolf in Wisconsin and three other states. Two Wisconsin state legislators are pushing for delisting in order to return wolf management back to Wisconsin as well. Read on:

“A joint statement from state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and state Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said, “The overpopulation of gray wolves on Wisconsin’s landscape is harming farmers, hunters and residents of rural Wisconsin.  Last August, the state Department of Natural Resources said a record number of hunting dogs had already been killed by wolves for the year. As of the close of Wisconsin’s bear season in October, at least 40 hunting dogs were confirmed killed by wolves, far exceeding the previous record of 23. Source

Let’s check the facts.

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. A few Wisconsin legislators claim these deaths were due to the high wolf population of 866 in 2016, but there’s a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye.  Adrian Wydeven, former Wisconsin DNR Head Wolf biologist, wrote in a opinion editorial, “Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate” written on November 12, 2016 and suggested that:

“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).” Source

What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds? 

It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. 

Wolves are defending their pups against free ranging hunting dogs in the pursuit of bear. 

Wolf pups are born around mid-April and are approximately two and a half months at the time Wisconsin bear hunters begin training dogs on bear starting on July first. Typically wolves leave their pups at a rendezvous site for safe keeping to be watched over by a babysitter. The pup’s family members keep a close eye on the rendezvous site while off hunting. WODCW blog

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves.  One such Wisconsin legislator stated:

“We’re seeing depredations have almost doubled this year, and it’s not just hunting dogs, it’s people’s pets,” said State Senator Tom Tiffany. “They’re expanding throughout the state, we’re beginning to see it, it’s really a big problem.” Source 

There is -no-big-bad-wolf here to blame.  However, there is a lack of regulations with bear hunting & training and it has led to a conflict between wolves and bear hunters. Once the training & hunting class B license was removed, that change allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

Are wolves decimating the White-Tailed deer herds in Wisconsin?

Wolves are not eating all the deer. All one needs to do is go to: News Release Wisconsin Natural Resources for Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest posted on November 18, 2016:  The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags.
Wolves are not decimating the deer herds in Wisconsin. In fact, the Northern Forest Zone is home to Wisconsin’s wild wolf.  So there is no-big-bad-wolf killing all the fringe hunter’s deer. I use the term ‘fringe hunter’ only because real ethical hunters know that deer will hide from predators such as the wolf. 

Are wolves killing more livestock? 

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock. 

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2016 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

In conclusion, It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. When in reality the facts prove otherwise. Facts such as; a lack of bear hunting regulations caused the increase of wolf depredations on hunting dogs, the largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) and 52 livestock depredations out of 3.50 million head, proves; there’s no-big-bad-wolf here.

There’s only politicians with carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.


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Please take action for wolves; click HERE

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Photographs used to make the graphics are by John E Marriott Wilderness Prints
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