Tag Archives: wolf hunt

WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presented: A Discussion on the Future of Wisconsin’s wild Wolf (Listen here)

If you missed the live show here it is. Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin and Manish Bhatt were co-hosts 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,

An Informative Discussion About The Future Of Wisconsin’s Gray W…

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.

Photo credit artist Jane Ryder http://www.janeryder.com “Effigy Mounds” 19×20 Gouache on paper, 2014

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.

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

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 Films. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Livestream of Wisconsin’s Wolf Management Plan Committee Meeting, August 19, 2021

Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) Meetings: The WMPC convenes for a series of four meetings to discuss wolves and wolf management and provide input towards the revised wolf management plan. The following is the livestream of the second WMPC meeting today August 19, 2021.

The DNR is currently in the process of revising the state’s wolf management plan. This page will be updated frequently throughout the process.

To stay up-to-date on current and upcoming events, public input opportunities and progress updates:

The wolf management plan provides overall guidance to the state’s wolf management efforts. During the plan update process, the DNR will collect extensive public input through a wolf management plan committee, an online questionnaire and an opportunity to review and comment on an initial draft of the management plan. Throughout the process, the DNR will work closely with our tribal partners and other natural resource professionals involved in wolf management in Wisconsin.

Grey Wolves & White-tailed Deer: Urban Legend versus Scientific Fact

Stats are from 2019, but still hold true in 2021 proving there is no scientific basis for a wolf hunt in Wisconsin or anywhere else!

“Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves and Deer 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs.

Producing a trophy White-tailed deer

Minnesota has developed one of the largest deer herds in the nation while simultaneously restoring the gray wolf to an estimated 3,000 animals. Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white-tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.
Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website
Wisconsin’s White-tailed doe with fawns photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Misleading the public

Considering that all the data points to “wolves and deer are coexisting very well” why do we only hear negative news about the gray wolf? Case in point From a staunch anti wolf website. Wisconsin Wolf Facts claims that Gray wolves killed more deer than hunters. The cherry picked data claims wolves are killing more deer than the gun-deer hunters in the 2019 season:

“Gray wolves are now responsible for killing more white-tailed deer in four counties of one Great Lakes state than annual the number of deer killed by gun-hunters, according to data released this week by Wisconsin Wolf Facts.” The group is headed by Lauri Groskopf, a hunter that lost two dogs to wolves while bear hunting a few years back. Wisconsin Gray wolves photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Laurie Groskopf has a seat on the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan Committee.

The following table is being widely distributed to pro wolf hunting groups in the hopes that if gray wolves get delisted this cherry picked data will serve as proof that a wolf hunt is needed.Table from Wisconsin Wolf Facts shows incomplete data from Wisconsin White -tailed deer hunt 2019 

The above table only shows results from gun-harvest summarizes for 2019. This table conveniently scapegoats the gray wolf, proving it’s biased data.

In reality when WDNR data of Deer Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000. Deer

Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests From WDNR 2019

Gray wolves in Wisconsin’s Northern and central forests are helping to keep white-tailed deer healthy by culling the weak, the sick and the old. Gray wolves are providing Wisconsin’s deer hunter with a stronger and healthier White-tailed deer. 

Science versus anti wolf bias 

A single gray wolf while hunting comes across an abandoned White-tailed deer bed, and gently blows upon it causing all the particles to flow up into the wolf’s olfactory sense. The wolf then can determine if the blood in the tick, that fell off the deer the night before, contains pus in it. Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000.

Perhaps White-tailed deer have become wise to deer baiting and may be eating at night while hunters are sleeping.

Today’s white-tailed deer hunter sits in a tree stand waiting for an unsuspecting deer to approach and eat the corn or apples used for deer bait. The baiting of White-tailed deer for hunting is allowed only in areas where there is no CWD present. Wolves have a sense of smell 100 times greater than humans and they use this keen sense while hunting. Photo credit NPS

In summary 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs. “Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website

Following video is from the Great Lakes Symposium

Post Wolf Hunt: The Latest News Concerning Wolf Depredations in Wisconsin

Photograph credit John E Marriott

In February 2021 WDNR was forced by a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, lawsuit to hold a wolf hunt. Needless to say it was disaster for gray wolves in the midst of mating season. I’ve been keeping a close eye on WDNR wolf depredations after the hunt. I was reading through the WDNR Wolf Depredations Report 2021 and wanted clarification on two of the counties, Bayfield & Marquette. Specifically, I wanted to find out if these depredations were due to losing pack members in the February 2021 wolf hunt. In Bayfield county there were 2 confirmed wolf depredations of beef calves on two separate dates post hunt (2-22-21) and (3-08-21). Then in Marquette county one calf on 3-23-21. I contacted Randy Johnson The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Large Carnavore Specialist to ask him about depredations in these two counties and was it tied to packs losing members in the wolf hunt.

He said, “In both cases, I see no reason to believe these conflicts were triggered by the harvest season.”

The following is Johnson’s email response regarding confirmed wolf depredations in the two counties.

There are no (Wildlife Services) WS efforts underway in Marquette County. There were 7 harvested in the south-west part of the county in Feb., including a collared adult female, but the depredation is in the north-west part of the county and well beyond the range of the collared female. The livestock producer is being issued a wolf removal permit which allows the individual to take a number of wolves (I’m not sure the #, often it’s 2 wolves) but this is a much less effective route than WS targeted removal efforts.

There are recent (Wildlife Services) WS removal efforts underway in northern Bayfield County. These are in response to 6 verified conflicts on 3 farms, some of which occurred well prior to the Feb season. WS attempted similar removal in January but were unsuccessful. There were 10 wolves harvested in Bayfield, 9 of which were in the southern part of the county (away from the conflict) and one in the north.

In both counties the depredations occurred after the February 2021 wolf hunt. Marquette county depredations were not in the area were hunters took a collared female wolf. Depredations happened in the north-west part of Marquette county from a different wolf pack. Along with the two depredations Bayfield county that have been occurring prior to the February wolf hunt.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shut down Wisconsin’s February 2021 wolf hunt after only three days. Licensed hunters had killed 216 wolves, 82 percent more than the 119 quota, in three days. The DNR rules allowed hunters to employ bait in trapping, to hunt at night, and to use dogs to pursue the wolves. Trappers could utilize cable restraints and foot-hold traps. Since the timing of the hunt was during the wolves’ breeding season, and with hunters wiping out 20 percent of the population, wolves may end up on the endangered list again.


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

Gray Wolf photograph credit Voyageurs Wolf Project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WORT Radio’s Access Hour Presents: Ma’iingan (Wolf) Relationship Plan, Monday March 8th at 7:00 PM

I’m Rachel Tilseth, author or Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. I invite you to join me this Monday on the Access Hour, where I’ll be hosting an in-depth conversation about the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan, and Native People’s perspective about the recent wolf hunt, with guests Marvin DeFoe & Peter David. On this Monday, March 8th at 7pm on the Access Hour right here on WORT.” www.wortfm.org

Art by Mark Anthony Jacobson Gray Wolf

I’ve become disillusioned with the words “wolf management” because those words represent death to the beings I’ve come to respect and appreciate; as witnessed by the recent barbarism in the DNR’s wolf hunt. The Ma’iingan Relationship Plan gives me hope, and I want to learn more about this plan.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the plan from Marvin Defoe a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Peter David a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and
Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).

A Brief Explanation of the plan

The plan was aproved by Red Cliff Tribal Council November 2, 2015. Ma’iinganag are a culturally important species to the Ojibwe people of northern Wisconsin and more specifically the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Red Cliff Wolf Survey, 2012). The plan is intended to define the status of the wolf from the perspective of the Red Cliff reservation and its peoples.
The Ojibwe people (and more specifically the Red Cliff Tribe) hold a deep relationship with Ma’iinganag (wolves) that spans back to the origin story of the Anishinaabeg people. According to the Ojibwe creation story, Original Man was the last species placed on Earth. However, Original Man was placed on Earth alone and not in pairs. When Original Man asked the Creator why he was alone, the Creator sent him a brother, the ma’iingan. Original Man and ma’iingan walked the Earth together becoming very close to each other along their journey. Eventually, the Creator told Original Man and ma’iingan that they would travel separate paths, though their lives would be forever linked and what shall happened to one would also happen to the other.

Due to the cultural significance of ma’iingan to the Ojibwe, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa view ma’iingan as a tribally important species and officially declared wolves a protected species within the exterior boundary of the Red Cliff reservation,” the protection plan states. “Hunting or trapping of wolves is prohibited.”

I invite you to join me this Monday on the Access Hour, where I’ll be hosting an in-depth conversation about the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan, and Native People’s perspective about the recent wolf hunt, with guests Marvin DeFoe & Peter David. On this Monday, March 8th at 7pm on the Access Hour right here on WORT.” www.wortfm.org

Photo credit Native American artist Jane Ryder http://www.janeryder.com “Effigy Mounds” 19×20 Gouache on paper, 2014

WORT is a non-commercial, listener-sponsored, member-controlled community radio station broadcasting to South-Central Wisconsin and maintaining an active Internet presence. WORT programming shall respect all peoples and their environments, and shall serve a broad spectrum of the community by:

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

John E. Marriott

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisconsin gray wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Press Release

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

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board 
Announces Special Meeting Feb. 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. 

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

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

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

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

 

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

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted no to early wolf hunt.

Image credit stock photo

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for thier brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt.

The following is from NPR article on today’s NRB hearing.

Board member Marcy West questioned whether a hunt would be worth risking the state’s relationships with tribes and other organizations, as well as state management of the wolf.

“I just really have a concern that we have to prove right now that the state is credible in managing the population,” said West. 

Much of the concern discussed by the board revolved around the state’s obligations to Wisconsin tribes.

Representatives of the Red Cliff, Menominee, Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River and Lac du Flambeau tribes urged the board not to hold a wolf hunt this winter. Several referenced a 1983 court ruling known as the Voigt Decision that affirms tribal rights to hunt, fish and gather in ceded territory under treaties with the federal government. Under the ruling, the state must consult with tribes on natural resource management.

“In making any decision about wolves, the department must abide by the requirements to consult and collaborate with the tribes as set forth in court decisions and agreements,” said Mic Isham, executive administrator with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Tribal officials said the hunt would have a detrimental impact on the wolf population in Wisconsin. Tribal members, including Red Cliff tribal elder Marvin Defoe, said they view the wolf as a brother and that the animal is significant to their cultural and religious practices.

Continue reading Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted no to early wolf hunt.