Wisconsinites remain heavily divided over how to manage state’s Gray wolf population.

This is a comprehensive look a Wisconsin’s wolf management problems. Adrian Wydeven, a retired Wisconsin wolf biologist, and Adrian Treves an ecologist weigh in on how badly the state legislators, in haste, jumped to a wolf hunt In 2011; instead of allowing a democratic process that would have involved public input to unfold regarding wolf management. In the end, these legislators created a one sided wolf management plan based on wolf hunting. And Mike Wiggins chairmen of the Bad River tribe discusses what the wolf means to indigenous peoples. I recommend you read the entire article before jumping to conclusions. Because of course there are some anti wolf opinions included.

Article reposted from www.wisconsinwatch.org

As wolves recover, calls in Wisconsin to end endangered species listing grow
Conflicts with farmers and hunters continue as the state’s wolf population has risen from extinction in 1960 to more than 900 animals today

By Rich Kremer (Wisconsin Public Radio)

A Wisconsin wolf photo credit USF&WS

Nearly 60 years after gray wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin, the population has rebounded dramatically, to more than 900 in the state. But the conservation success story has turned into a nuisance for hunters, farmers and others whose animals are increasingly encountering wolves — with deadly consequences.

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In November 2018, wolves killed Laurie Groskopf’s 11-year-old hunting dog in Oneida County. That was nine years after wolves killed another of her dogs.

“These animals were trailing bear at the time, and one was trailing bobcat,” Groskopf said. “They were attacked by wolves without any provocation and killed. And for us, it’s been really, really traumatic.”

Wisconsinites subsidized Groskopf’s loss. She received $5,000 through an obscure Department of Natural Resources program that compensates animal owners for losses to wolves. But Groskopf said the payments — $2,500 for each dog — could not make up for the loss of pets she treated as family.

Article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

Nearly 60 years after gray wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin, the population has rebounded dramatically, to more than 900 in the state. That is thanks to decades of protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to hunt or harm listed species.

But the conservation success story has turned into a nuisance for hunters, farmers and others whose animals are increasingly encountering wolves — with deadly consequences. That is why some are calling for the federal government to delist wolves and resume legal hunting.

Groskopf has lost two hunting dogs to attacks by gray wolves, which the federal government lists as an endangered species in the western Great Lakes region. She said $5,000 in payments from a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wolf damage compensation fund could not make up for the loss of animals she treated as family.
“I would say to people who are against controlling the wolf numbers, ‘What gives you the right to decide that my life is going to change substantially because you think wolves belong in my neighborhood?’ ” Groskopf said.

The wolf encounters are running up a tab on taxpayers. Over 34 years, the DNR has paid $2.5 million and counting in damage payments to hunters and livestock owners. Meanwhile, the compensation program appears to be falling short in one of its goals: making hunters and farmers more tolerant of wolves to reduce illegal killings of the protected animal.

The DNR has documented at least 260 illegal gray wolf killings since 1985, including 10 between April of 2018 and April of this year.

People convicted of killing a federally protected wolf can face up to six months in jail and/or a $25,000 fine, according to the DNR. Penalties can include the loss of a hunting license.

Those wanting to legally hunt the animal could get their wish. President Donald Trump’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year proposed lifting endangered species protections for wolves, calling their rebound “one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history.”

But Trump faces opposition from some conservation and animal rights groups that argue wolf populations have not recovered enough to survive hunting. And even if he succeeds in lifting protections, Wisconsin will continue to pay those who lose animals to wolves. That is because a 1999-2001 budget amendment enshrined the payments in perpetuity — regardless of wolves’ protected status.

Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford, Wis., is photographed on May 28, 2019. The state paid him $400 for a wolf-ravaged calf that would have otherwise fetched up to $900 on the market. “I’d rather see that money going toward management and control rather than buying a dead animal because we’re paying for it with our taxes,” he said.
Even some of that program’s beneficiaries question its usefulness.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

“I’d rather see that money going toward management and control rather than buying a dead animal because we’re paying for it with our taxes,” said Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford. Johnson said the state paid him about $400 in 2014 for a wolf-ravaged calf that would have otherwise fetched between $700 and $900 on the market.

The debate is only the latest in the ever-changing — and sometimes confusing — history of wolf management in Wisconsin and beyond. And it comes as Wisconsinites are divided on wolf issues.

Mike Wiggins, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission board member and chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said his community sees the wolf as a brother whose fate is intertwined with the community’s.

“And it’s been pretty remarkable to see their return,” he said. “I’ve probably had four or five occasions to see wolves in the wild, and it’s just an amazing, thrilling kind of occurrence that lights up the land, lights up everything with electricity. It really is a wilderness kind of experience, and it’s a gift.”

A 2014 DNR survey found that residents held attitudes toward wolves that were more favorable than unfavorable — by a small margin within wolf range, and by a larger margin outside the wolf range in northern and central Wisconsin. The survey also found that a majority supported a regulated hunting and trapping season.

Wolves declared extinct

Gray wolves have roamed Wisconsin since the glaciers melted about 10,000 years ago — coexisting with Native American tribes that highly respected the hunting animal, according to the DNR. As many as 3,000 to 5,000 wolves were here when the state’s European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, but that would not last. Wisconsin offered a bounty on wolves from 1865 to 1957, spurring widespread hunting that decimated populations.

By 1960, wolves were considered extinct in Wisconsin; similar trends played out in other parts of the country.

Groskopf said wolves are everywhere she hunts and trains her dogs. She operates a website, Wisconsin Wolf Facts, to raise awareness of the problems she said wolves have created for farmers and hunters.
In 1974, the Fish and Wildlife Service added gray wolves to the list of federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act. By 1980, the DNR counted a fragile population of just 25 wolves in northern Wisconsin, as a few packs moved in from across the Minnesota border.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

The animals’ listing status has since changed repeatedly, often in response to legal challenges. And the federal government allowed Wisconsinites to hunt wolves earlier this decade.

On Jan. 27, 2012, the Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the list of endangered species in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and parts of adjoining states. That also allowed the killing of wolves attacking livestock. The same day, Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill to create a wolf hunting season.

While wolf hunting advocates supported the bill, retired DNR wolf researcher Adrian Wydeven called the bill “egregious” because it mandated a season structure and methods for hunting wolves, including allowing the use of dogs to track them. He said traditionally the Legislature gave authority to DNR to create those types of rules through a lengthy, public rulemaking process.

“I think it was kind of like legislative overreaction that we finally get a chance to control this wolf population,” Wydeven said. “We’re going to do it as intensely as possible while we can do it.”

Mike Wiggins, chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, speaks during a public meeting at Northland College in Ashland, Wis., on Sept. 25, 2019. His community considers the wolf a brother. “And it’s been pretty remarkable to see their return,” he said.
The hunt drew opposition from animal rights groups and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which represents tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Wiggins, of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said he wanted to sue, but ultimately, the commission chose not to litigate.

Wisconsin held wolf hunting seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014, until the federal government re-listed wolves in the western Great Lakes area as endangered following a federal court ruling. In those years, hunters killed 528 wolves, according to the DNR. Another 176 were killed through the renewed authority to use lethal force in response to attacks on livestock and other domestic animals.

If Trump succeeds in removing wolves from the protected list, hunting would again be allowed in Wisconsin, Scott Walter, a DNR large carnivore specialist, said in an email. But it would not happen right away. The agency would need to draw up state rules such as creating quotas and a permit application process, he said.

Damage payments begin

Although wolves rarely attack humans, an ancient fear of the predators persists among some people.
In 1983, the state established an income-tax checkoff that allows residents to donate to support federally protected species. It earmarked 3%, or up to $100,000 a year, to pay for damage caused by wolves and other animals under federal protection.

Wisconsin doled out its first wolf damage payment in 1985. A Douglas County farmer received $200 for killed sheep. Two years later, the state paid $2,500 for a hunting dog named Ranger, the first payment for “personal property” under the program.

Retired DNR section chief Randy Jurewicz said the idea of paying for hunting dogs was hotly contested within the agency.

“Paying for livestock made a lot of sense to almost everybody,” Jurewicz said. “These are animals that are being raised, being sold, it’s the Wisconsin way of life, and that made sense.”

Compensation for dogs killed by wolves was controversial, he said, in part because some believed hunters were knowingly putting their dogs in harms’ way.

“What kind of ruled was the fact that we had so few wolves in the state that, really, just a little bit of real serious negative feelings toward them would have eliminated them,” he said. “People just would not have tolerated them.”

DNR wildlife biologist Brad Koele now administers the wolf damage payments. After struggling with determining the market value for each dog, he said the agency set a limit of $2,500, which Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association president Carl Schoettel described as “fair and appropriate,” adding, “It is devastating for a pet owner to have their companion viciously eaten by wolves.”

To date, payments have averaged $2,324. The DNR paid a total of $806,451 for hunting dogs as of Oct. 3.

To limit dangerous interactions between wolves and dogs, the DNR offers an interactive map showing areas where dogs have recently been killed.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

But Groskopf said wolves are everywhere she hunts and trains her dogs. Groskopf operates a website, Wisconsin Wolf Facts, to raise awareness of the problems she said wolves have created for farmers and hunters.

“Eventually, there’s so many of them that you’re going to run into them,” she said.

The goal of the payments was, in part, to build tolerance among farmers and hunters for the increased wolf population. But illegal killings continued. A 2018 study by DNR research scientist Jennifer Stenglein found 9.4% of all radio-collared wolves were illegally killed between 1979 and 2013.

Adrian Treves, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, thinks the DNR has undercounted the number of illegally killed wolves. In 2017, he co-authored a study that found up to 37 percent of wolves the DNR reported as being killed by vehicles had metal fragments consistent with gunshot wounds. Wydeven disagreed with that finding.

Although wolves rarely attack humans, an ancient fear of the predators persists among some people. Treves said lifting federal protections and allowing lethal control would send a “policy signal” to would-be poachers that they could kill wolves without consequence.

Wolves rebound; new rules written

In anticipation of a federal push to remove wolves from the Endangered Species List, the DNR released a wolf management plan in 1999 that set rules for trapping, relocating and killing wolves that attacked livestock and pets once the state assumed management authority.

If wolves were to be delisted, it also meant farmers, pet owners and hunters would stop getting payments for animals killed by the formerly protected predators. But that budget amendment, introduced by former state Sen. Kevin Shibilski, D-Stevens Point, ensured the reimbursements would continue.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year proposed lifting endangered species protections for the animal, calling its rebound “one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history.” Courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
“I don’t remember how or even whether I authored and introduced an amendment,” Shibilski said. “But I certainly remember the debate, the ongoing conversation about how we live with wolves on the landscape.”

Shibilski, a former bear hunting guide, said the wolf damage payments are about safeguarding wolves.

“If you don’t behave responsibly and reimburse people for actual losses, you risk enabling bad actors out there, vigilante wildlife managers who are trying to kill predators wantonly and end up raising all kinds of havoc in our wolves, and that’s been happening,” he said.

Shibilski pointed to an incident this spring in which a wolf, three dogs, coyotes and other wild animals were killed by poisoned meat scattered throughout Florence, Marinette and Bayfield counties. Authorities investigated the poisonings, but no charges have been filed.

Livestock losses continue

Of the $2.5 million in damage payments, Wisconsin has paid more than $1.3 million for cattle, calves and missing calves — sums that have increased as wolves rebounded.

Farms that see the most wolf-livestock conflict tend to be located near large blocks of public land like the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, according to Dave Ruid, a supervisor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services program, which investigates such livestock killings.

Michigan also pays for missing calves on farms with confirmed wolf attacks, but Minnesota does not.

Jack Johnson, who raises beef cattle on a third-generation farm outside the city of Medford, Wis., shows a photo of a calf that wolves killed in 2014. “There wasn’t much left of it — the head and the two front shoulders, and everything else was gone.”
But the majority of DNR’s livestock payments did not require physical proof that wolves killed the animal. Under DNR rules, farmers who have had livestock killed by wolves can also get paid for any additional missing calves beyond the expected annual 2.3% mortality rate.

Reposted article from www.wisconsinwatch.org

In 2011, the DNR issued a record 257 missing calf payments, with 103 of those going to members of the Fornengo family, who raise beef cattle in Burnett County. The family, which declined comment, filed missing calf claims with the DNR under Fornengo Cattle Co. and T&T Ranch between 2009 and 2019. The DNR later enacted a rule that limited livestock producers to no more than five missing calf claims for every confirmed kill — but it was only in effect for two years.

As of October, the DNR paid nearly $720,000 for missing calves throughout the program’s existence, with $239,865 going to the Fornengo-owned cattle operations between 2011 and 2019.

Ruid said the owners agreed to allow the USDA to install a 6.5-mile electric wire at the farm at government expense. He said wolves are constantly testing the fence, and the farm has had confirmed livestock killings since its installation.

Farmer: Too many wolves

Johnson, the Medford farmer, has not lost an animal to wolves since 2014. The Fish and Wildlife Service put up flags — brightly colored and hung along a roped-off perimeter — on his land to scare them off. Still, Johnson believes farmers should be allowed to kill animals causing problems on farms. When wolves are around, the cattle are scared and do not want to eat — even their breeding cycles are affected. That is why he wants the federal government to lift protections for wolves. He would like to see no more than 350 wolves roam the state.

Wydeven criticized the state Legislature’s swift passage of wolf hunting requirements in 2012, the last time the federal government lifted protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region. “I think it was kind of like legislative overreaction that we finally get a chance to control this wolf population,” he said.
Wydeven, the former DNR wolf researcher, said 350 refers to the DNR’s 1999 wolf management plan, which was based on the premise that the population would only reach 500 animals in Wisconsin. Currently, it is nearly double that.

“So, 350 was logical and reasonable as a potential goal back in the early 2000s, but now considering we know the carrying capacity is quite a bit higher, that doesn’t really make sense anymore,” Wydeven said. “And it wouldn’t make sense to try to drastically reduce the wolf population down to that level.”

A research paper co-authored by Erik Olson, Northland College assistant professor of natural resources, suggests the changing status has led to inconsistent management, declining public support for wolves — and possibly more illegal killings.

Walter, the DNR large carnivore specialist, agrees.

“The continued tennis match back and forth that revolves around wolf management is increasing frustrations by constituents, by those farmers and others that are being impacted by wolves and by legislators who are listening to those constituents,” Walter said.

After two decades of consistent and rapid population growth, the state’s wolf population has leveled off — even without hunting, Walter added.

“And I think it’s becoming clear that wolves have essentially occupied all the suitable range where they can go about their daily lives unfettered by the heavy hand of humans

Article reposted from www.wisconsinwatch.org

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2018-2019, Wolf Monitoring Report is out…

Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

Did you know that a wolf hunting and trapping season is required by law when Wisconsin’s Gray is not listed on the Endangered Species Act. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 was approved by the Governor Scott Walker-R in April 2012. This statute authorizes and requires a wolf hunting and trapping season. Numerous season and application details were described in the statute. Out of all the states that hunted wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves”.

Act 169 authorized the Department to delineate harvest management zones, set harvest quotas, and determine the number of licenses to be issued to accomplish the harvest objective.

Six-hundred and fifty-four gray wolves were killed during Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons that took place in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Thankfully, a federal judge in December 2014 threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list. This decision banned further wolf hunting and trapping in three states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

The state of Wisconsin’s misguided wolf management plans, regarding hunting and trapping, is important information to note as the USF&WS is working to revise a role to delist the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Area. USF&WS held a Public comment period that closed on July 15, 2019 with over 900,000 commenters apposed Trump Administrations Plan to remove wolf protection.

Help protect Wisconsin’s Gray wolf from a required hunting and trapping season: contact you members of Congress by clicking here to get their contact information.

The 2018-2019 Wolf Monitoring Report is out…

Once a year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources publishes a Wolf Monitoring Report 2018-2019 that 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.

In April 2019 the statewide minimum wolf population count was 914-978 wolves, a 1% increase from the previous year. There are roughly 978 gray wolves living throughout Wisconsin’s northern and central forests, minimum winter count, according to the WDNR Wolf Progress Report 2018-2019. All of this points to a wolf population that is self regulating or leveling off according to land carrying capacity.

Wolf Mortality…

A total of 41 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4-5% of the minimum 2017-2018 late winter count of 905-944 wolves. Detected mortalities represented 4-5% of the minimum 2017-2018 late winter count of 905-944 wolves.

Once again, according to the Wolf Progress Report, vehicle collisions (44%) and illegal kills (24%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities and were slightly higher than rates detected the previous year. Human caused mortality represented 94% of known cause detected mortalities overall.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wildlifehabitat/wolf/documents/wolfreport2019.pdf

Wolf Depredation…

During the monitoring period, Wildlife Services confirmed 68 wolf complaints (wolf depredations) of the 121 investigated. While the number of confirmed livestock incidents increased from 37 in 2017-2018, the number of farms affected decreased from 31 the past 2 years.

The use of flandry, red strips of material, is used as deterrent to keep wolves away from livestock.

There’s always work to be done when it comes to protecting livestock and wolves…

Watch the interview of Brad Koele WDNR Wildlife Damages Specialist. I interviewed Koele on June 11, 2015 at the WDNR Wolf Population meeting held in Wausau Wisconsin.

Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent that saves lives! Foxlights have been used by Wisconsin farmers. I gave an interview to Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Danielle Keading on June 21, 2016.

Tilseth sold 25 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS-Wildlife Services in northern Wisconsin and said they deter wolves from coming near livestock.

“It can be seen from a mile away,” she explained. “It operates with a six volt battery giving up to 12 months of nonstop protection. A light sensor automatically turns it on when it’s at dusk and turns it off during the day.”

These lights are just one of the abatements available to livestock producers in Wisconsin.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Wildlifehabitat/wolf/documents/wolfreport2019.pdf

Once again it has been proven in scientific fact that Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is keeping White-tailed deer populations healthy.

White-tailed deer are the primary prey species for wolves in Wisconsin. White-tailed deer density estimates increased 7% statewide from the previous year estimate, but the majority of that increase was in wolf management unit 6 considered to be mostly unsuitable for wolf pack development. Wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range, contain 76% of the minimum winter wolf count. Deer density estimates remained stable at 25.3 deer / square mile of deer range in primary wolf range.

Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin’s misguided wolf management plans, regarding hunting and trapping, is important information to note as the USF&WS is working to revise a role to delist the Gray wolf in the Great Lakes Area. USF&WS held a Public comment period that closed on July 15, 2019 with over 900,000 commenters apposed Trump Administrations Plan to remove wolf protection; proving the public wants gray wolves on the landscape! The Gray wolf is part is a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy!

Help protect Wisconsin’s Gray wolf from a required hunting and trapping season: contact you members of Congress by clicking here to get their contact information.

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.

Compassionate Conservation—Saving The Lives of Wild Carnavore and Livestock

Real world solutions to using non lethal wolf management for people and wild Carnavore.

I’ve been a volunteer for Wisconsin’s wolf recovery since 1998. There were only 66 wolf packs in the state at that time. Today there are roughly 232 wolf packs spread through the northern and central forests. Thankfully wolf and livestock conflicts are at a minimum, and there are many non lethal solutions available for livestock producers to employ. There are many factors involved, and employing them as soon ass possible is being proactive. There are several abatements available, such as; Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent, flandry, and guard animals. These solutions need to be put in place before wolf depredation occurs to any livestock. And it’s important that livestock producers burry any livestock so the carcasses don’t attract wolves.

One very important step to coexistence for people & gray wolves is to educate and advocate by helping & educating those living in wolf country. The objective is to save the lives of Gray wolves and livestock. Whether we live in the city or urban areas, in or out of wolf range, it’s all about solving how we live alongside wolves! Wisconsin’s wild wolf is back on the landscape, and has been since the late 1970s. The Gray wolf is an essential part of the ecosystem. Let’s work together to save Gray wolves and livestock!

I’m a distributor of Foxlights a nighttime predator deterrent.

The following is a short video I filmed of Brad Khole WDNR Wildlife Damages Specialist.

Click here for more reading about ways to reduce conflicts between wolves and Livestock owners.

The 2019 Wisconsin black Bear Management draft plan is now available to the public for comment.

Click the highlighted words to read, review and comment on the plan.

A draft of the revised bear management plan is now available for viewing.

There will be six public information sessions (topic list available here) as well as an electronic comment tool beginning March 25. If you would like to provide comments on the 2019 – 2029 Wisconsin Black Bear Management Plan, please submit them to DNRBearPlanComments@wisconsin.gov by midnight on Sunday, April 14.

  • Monday, March 25, 7-9 p.m.: Rm. 101 Commons Building, UW Milwaukee-Waukesha, 1500 N University Dr. Waukesha
  • Tuesday, March 26, 7-9 p.m.: Pippin Room, Melvill Hall, UW Platteville-Richland, 1200 Hwy. 14W, Richland Center
  • Wednesday, March 27, 7-9 p.m.: Great Room, Lunda Community Center, 405 Hwy 54 W, Black River Falls
  • Monday, April 1, 7-9 p.m.: 236 Ritzinger Hall, UW Eau Claire-Barron County, 1800 College Dr., Rice Lake
  • Tuesday, April 2, 7-9 p.m.: Room 180 Main Building, UW Stevens Point- Wausau, 518 S 7th Ave, Wausau
  • Wednesday, April 3, 7-9 p.m.: Woodruff Community Center, 1418 1st Ave, Woodruff

Wisconsinites it’s time for change concerning how our black bears are managed, or to be straight forward; how they are abused! Individual species should and must be managed for the good of the species and the habitat it depends. 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. And it’s having a devastating effect on bears! It’s time to ban running dogs on bears, and baiting.

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.

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

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. The barbaric act of Wolf-Hounding is legal in Wisconsin and is sanctioned when wolves are NOT listed on the Endangered Species List. In 2011 Wisconsin State Legislators backed by Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association rushed to create a law, Wisconsin Act 169, that mandated a wolf hunt because Gray wolves were about to be delisted. This law, Act 169 mandated a wolf hunt when gray wolves are not listed on the Endangered Species Act. Wisconsin law Act 169 orders the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to oversee a wolf hunt. In 2013 the brutal act of “wolf Hounding” began in Wisconsin. In 2013 & 2014 wolf hunters used dogs to track and trail wolves until a federal judge ordered them back under federal protection. Now it will start all over again if the senate’s version of H.R. 6784 calling for Gray wolf delisting in the lower 48 states and prevents any judicial review of the decision passes in the senate. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf could be delisted in 2019! Wisconsinites need to let Governor elect Tony Evers know about state law, Wisconsin Act 169, that sanctions the use of dogs to hunt wolves “Wolf Hounding” when wolves are not listed on the Endangered Species Act. You can reach Governor elect Tony Evers (here) at his transition website and he wants to hear from Wisconsinites!

About the photograph: This young Wisconsin Gray wolf lost his life to hound hunters in the last sanctioned wolf hunt to use dogs in 2014. On December 19, 2014 a Federal judge ordered gray wolves in the Great Lakes returned to the protection of the Endangered Species List. A little too late for this young Gray wolf being proudly displayed as a trophy for this Wisconsin hound hunter.

On Friday November 16, 2018 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.  This bill now goes to the senate, but not likely to pass. However, the Senate could attach wolf delisting riders on budget bills. In Wisconsin we must become proactive before possible delisting, because; Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves. The barbaric act of Wolf-Hounding is legal in Wisconsin and is sanctioned when wolves are NOT listed on the Endangered Species List. We must change the law, and our new Governor could use his “line item veto power” to strike out parts of the Law, Act 169, that mandates wolf hunts.

In the photograph Wisconsin wolf hunters proudly display their trophy wolf taken by the use of dogs “Wolf Hounding” sanctioned by the Wisconsin State Legislation.

Under governor Scott Walker’s administration stripped the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources of sciences & practiced a hush-hush policy that denied public access. But on November 6th 2018 Wisconsinites elected a new Governor Tony Evers!Governor elect a Tony Evers will take office on January 7, 2019. Wolf advocates take action and let Governor elect Tony Evers know about state law, Wisconsin Act 169, that sanctions the use of dogs to hunt wolves “Wolf Hounding” when wolves are not listed on the Endangered Species Act. You can reach Governor elect Tony Evers (here) at his transition website and he wants to hear from Wisconsinites! Please share this blog about the barbaric act of “Wolf Hounding” with the Governor elect Tony Evers!

 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.”  ~Rachel Tilseth

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?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting.

Two wolves were taken by the use of dogs on December 6, 2013.

Hound handlers are equipped with high tech radio telemetry devices that allow them to track GPS-collared hunting dogs from long distances. They are often not able to catch up to hounds that have a wolf at bay to prevent deadly fights between dogs and wolves. As proof of this, to date, Wisconsin has paid nearly $500,000 to “reimburse” hound-hunters for hunting dogs injured or killed by wolves. See link WDNR Dog depredations by wolves

Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”

According to DNR regulations, hound handlers are only allowed to use up to six dogs at a time to trail wolves. But handlers often replace tired dogs with fresh ones and younger dogs. It is common for a handler to be unable to retrieve the tired dogs, and end up with up well over 6 dogs chasing one wolf, potentially twice or even three times as many. There is no monitoring system in place to ensure that only 6 dogs pursue wolves.

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.  ~Aristotle

*Wolf hunters are not reimbursed when wolves kill dog/dogs while in pursuit of wolves, but are when in pursuit of bear.  

Join Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s campaign to end Wolf Hounding

 Contact us wolvesdouglasco@gmail.com

TAKE ACTION: contact Wisconsin Governor Elect Tony Evers (click here)  and make it clear you do not sanction Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin!

The Wisconsin legislature sanctioned “Wolf Hounding ” with 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that allows the use of dogs to track and trail wolves. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169

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

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.