Tag Archives: wolf quota

Listen to the recording of Monday Night’s Show: WORT Radio’ Access Hour of Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week Show

Rachel Tilseth, the author of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, hosted this week’s Access Hour. She was joined by Alexander Vaeth this past Monday, October 11th at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour, where they hosted an in-depth conversation about Wisconsin’s Thirty-First Wolf Awareness Week (WAW) with special guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, and Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

In 1990, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed the proclamation of Wisconsin Wolf Awareness Week (WAW), a time to celebrate these important animals, by highlighting the threats to their survival, spread the word about what you can do to help wolves stay protected, and help humans learn to live alongside them.

Federal Lawsuit by Tribes is the Latest Challenge to Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt

“The legends and stories tell us as brothers we walk hand in hand together. What happens to the Ma’iingan (wolf) happens to humanity,” said Marvin DeFoe in a statement, Red Cliff tribal elder and member of the Voigt Intertribal Task Force with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

WPR
Art by Mark Anthony Jacobson Gray Wolf

6 Wisconsin Tribes Sue State To Stop Fall Wolf Hunt

Tribes Say State Is Failing To Uphold Tribes’ Federal Treaty Rights By Danielle Kaeding From Wisconsin Public Radio:

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 11:45am

Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2021,

Six Ojibwe tribes in Wisconsin are suing the state in federal court to stop the fall wolf hunt, arguing their treaty rights are being violated.

The Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Lac Courtes Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St. Croix Chippewa Indians and Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa tribes filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin against Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole and the Natural Resources Board.

The tribes say their rights under the 1837 and 1842 treatieswith the United States government are being violated by actions taken regarding the upcoming Nov. 6 hunt.

“First in setting the quota for the upcoming wolf hunt, Defendants purposefully and knowingly discriminated against the Ojibwe Tribes by acting to nullify their share. Second, the Defendants failed to use sound biological principles in establishing the quota for the upcoming hunt,” the complaint reads.

Tribes are asking a federal judge to rule that the Natural Resources Board violated their rights when setting the harvest quota and bar the state from a holding a hunt this fall.  The six tribes say the state has failed to put “adequate safeguards” in place to protect tribes’ share of the wolf harvest quota, pointing to the February wolf hunt. In February, hunters blew past their 119-wolf quota, killing 218 wolves in less than three days.  

John Johnson Sr., president of the Lac du Flambeau tribe, told WPR on Monday prior to the filing that tribes are going to stand together and fight to uphold their treaty rights. 

“I would like to see the state working with the tribes, allowing us to take our fair share,” said Johnson.

Tribes are entitled to half the share of all natural resources off-reservation in territory ceded to the U.S. government under federal treaties. In August, the Natural Resources Board voted 5 to 2 to set a quota of 300 wolves for the fall hunt — more than double the quota recommended by the DNR. 

At the Aug. 11 meeting, the board’s vice chair, Greg Kazmierski, proposed an overall quota of 504 wolves, saying that would allow hunters to harvest roughly 300 wolves after splitting the quota with tribes. Cole accused him of trying to manipulate the quota and set it higher, knowing tribes can claim up to half the amount. Kazmierski fired back, saying the agency’s quota recommendation was manipulated when it came before the board.

DNR staff urged a conservative harvest of 130 wolves due to uncertainty over the population’s response to the February wolf hunt. 

Tribes consider the wolf a brother and seek to use their share of the wolf harvest quota to protect the animal.

“The legends and stories tell us as brothers we walk hand in hand together. What happens to the Ma’iingan (wolf) happens to humanity,” said Marvin DeFoe in a statement, Red Cliff tribal elder and member of the Voigt Intertribal Task Force with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Tim Preso, an attorney for Earthjustice, said they’re filing the lawsuit on behalf of tribes who don’t intend to see a repeat of February’s wolf hunt. 

“The February hunt resulted in an overkill of wolves by non-tribal hunters that consumed the entire tribal share of the wolf quota under the tribes’ treaties and more,” said Preso, managing attorney of the biodiversity defense program for Earthjustice. “This time around, the state has, through the Natural Resources Board, established a quota that was explicitly calculated by some members of the Natural Resources Board to take the tribal portion of the quota that the Department of Natural Resources had proposed.”

A DNR spokesperson said the agency is reviewing the lawsuit and declined to comment further. Natural Resources Board Chair Fred Prehn said he believes the board is following the law, saying the process used to set the wolf harvest quota is the same used for any other species. 

“This board is going to follow law. I’ve been saying this for many, many years. We follow statute and regulation, and we believe we’ve done that,” said Prehn. “And, if the judge rules differently, then we’ll have to digest the response from the judge and then meet and deliberate as a board.”

Prehn said the board needs to follow Wisconsin’s existing wolf management plan in setting the wolf harvest quota. The plan, which was first written in 1999 and last updated in 2007, outlines a management goal of 350 wolves for Wisconsin. The DNR is currently in the process of updating the state’s wolf management plan.

“This board is following the management plan in managing the species,” said Prehn. “And even with that in consideration, the quota that this board set still wasn’t anywhere close to trying to reach the management plan objective.”

The DNR has said the goal of 350 wolves outlined in the plan was intended as a trigger for management or harvest — not a population goal. Critics have said the plan is vastly outdated and not based on the best available science. 

Wisconsin tribes are among groups representing nearly 200 tribes across the country who are demanding the Biden administration provide emergency protections for wolves. They sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last week calling for emergency protections, arguing states have enacted anti-wolf policies that threaten to decimate wolf populations.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the agency may restore protections for gray wolves out west due to aggressive wolf hunting policies that have been enacted in states like Idaho and Montana.

The federal lawsuit is the latest challenge to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. Earlier this month, animal protection and wildlife advocacy groups sued to halt the fall wolf hunt in state court, saying the law that mandates a hunt is unconstitutional.

Hunters and farmers have argued there are too many wolves on the landscape, escalating conflicts between livestock and hounds.

The Trump administration removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list across most of the nation earlier this year. Wildlife and environmental groups immediately sued to restore protections for the animal, but the Biden administration has backed the decision to delist the animal. 

The DNR originally planned to hold a single wolf hunt this fall, but Kansas-based Hunter Nation sued in February to force a wolf hunt. A Jefferson County judge ordered the DNR to immediately hold a hunt in February.

One study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found hunters and poachers have killed a third of Wisconsin’s wolf population this year. Conservation groups like Wisconsin’s Green Fire fear the fall hunt could cut the state’s wolf population in half since earlier this year.

The DNR estimates Wisconsin had 1,136 wolves prior to the February hunt. The state’s population has grown from just 25 animals in 1980. Source Wisconsin Public Radio

Natural Resources Board’s fall harvest quota will be an unprecedented reduction to the viability of Wisconsin’s wolf population.

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Action on the Fall Wolf Hunt Quota

Rhinelander, WI. Wisconsin’s Green Fire statement on August 11, 2021

On August 11, 2021, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) voted 5-2 to establish a quota of 300 wolves for the fall 2021 wolf hunt.
The removal of 300 wolves again this fall, on top of the removal of at least 218 wolves during the three-day February wolf hunt, could result in a population of as many as 1000 wolves being reduced by over 50 to 60% or more.

This unprecedented reduction will risk long-term damage to the viability of the wolf population. It would also be likely to trigger a review of Wisconsin’s wolf management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will support arguments for re-listing wolves under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven, testified to the NRB Wednesday on behalf of Wisconsin’s Green Fire. Wydeven, who spent 23 years as the wolf specialist for Wisconsin DNR, offered this comment: “Removing 300 wolves in another hunt would likely have a de-stabilizing effect on almost every wolf pack in the state. There is no other wildlife species where that level of reduction would be acceptable. And it’s highly likely it would trigger a US Fish and Wildlife Service review of state management”.

Given the significant uncertainties resulting from the February 2021 hunt there is in fact no quota number for a fall wolf hunt that can be justified if we want to maintain stability of our wolf population. The models used to track Wisconsin’s wolf population were not designed to account for the large and unprecedented hunt that occurred in February, in the middle of the wolf breeding season.

Wydeven’s testimony points to three levels of uncertainty regarding the current status of wolves in Wisconsin, making it difficult to justify a state-wide wolf harvest:

  1. The winter 2020/2021 wolf population estimating process was cut short of the normal surveying opportunity through mid or late March due to the February wolf harvest.
  2. The number of wolves actually removed from the population in February is certain to be larger than the number of registered kills, although it is difficult to estimate to what extent.
  3. The impact of the harvest occurring during the middle of the wolf breeding season removed pregnant females and alpha males, and caused overall disruptions of packs, all of which will have drastically reduced pup recruitment in spring 2021. Preliminary evidence of this effect can be seen in howling surveys currently being conducted, but it is too early to know the extent of that loss.
    According to Wydeven: “Given these high levels of uncertainty over the pre-harvest wolf population, uncertainty over the actual removal due to the harvest, and uncertainty over impacts of the harvest on pup production and recruitment, it is difficult if not impossible to justify any wolf harvest quota in Wisconsin if we are committed to maintaining the long-term sustainability of the population”.
    Wisconsin’s adjacent states of Michigan and Minnesota are not planning a fall 2021 wolf harvest. The adjacent states of Minnesota and Michigan are not planning wolf harvest in fall 2021. Michigan with a wolf population of about 700 wolves has no immediate plans for a wolf harvest. Minnesota with a population of about 2,800 wolves has decided to hold off on holding a wolf harvest until an updated approved state wolf plan is in place. Wisconsin alone is pushing ahead with a wolf harvest because it is required to do so by state law.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire is a statewide membership organization dedicated to science-based management of natural resources. The WGF Wildlife work group members and authors of this testimony are natural resource professionals have carefully evaluated wolf population and harvest data and are deeply familiar with the populations models used by WDNR.
wigreenfire.org
PO Box 1206, Rhinelander, Wisconsin 54501

Email: Info@wigreenfire.org

Ojibwe leaders are outraged as state officials pushed forward plans to kill hundreds more animals in November 2021 wolf hunt.

Ojibwe bands are evaluating their options and plan to respond with a wolf declaration shortly. For tribes, the best use of wolves comes in the form of live animals, on the land, helping to enhance and maintain healthy ecosystems

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

In a press release on August 13, 2013 Ojibwe leaders respond. “The DNR Natural Resources Board made clear that its decision to set the wolf quota at 300 has nothing to do with science or stewardship,” said Michael Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission executive administrator. “This reckless approach to ma’iingan management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection for wolves.”

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is an intertribal agency comprised of eleven Ojibwe bands in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Minnesota. GLIFWC works with member bands to both manage and preserve off-reservation treaty reserved resources. The Voigt Intertribal Task Force develops policy recommendations for GLIFWC-member tribes in the 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories. Ma’iingan is the Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for wolf. Please visit www.glifwc.org for more information.

Press Release from Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission August 13, 2021
Press Release from Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission August 13, 2021

Ojibwe Treaty rights

This reckless approach to ma’iingan management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection for wolves.

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

Hunt closes Wednesday amidst public outcry of barbarism towards Wisconsin’s gray wolf

Wisconsin’s wolf quota was half full after just one day of hunting and trapping, the the slaughter of pregnant gray wolves will close Wednesday afternoon.

Under a court order the Department of Natural Resources launched a one-week wolf hunt on Monday. The department reports that as of Tuesday morning hunter and trappers had killed 52 wolves, filling nearly 44% of the 119-animal statewide quota. Another 81 wolves are allocated to Ojibwe tribes, for a total of 200 this year.

The hunt was Controversial for several reasons. Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season, which means pregnant females will likely be killed. 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.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reduced the wolf quote on opening day in recognition of the tribes’ off-reservation treaty rights. The wolf quota was reduced to 119, with tribes portion at 81 and they will not hunt their brother ma’iingan. 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 31 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 18 wolves. And in zone 3, which is situated just under zone 1, they expect to kill 20.

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. 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. The DNR had filed an appeal but it was denied.

Wolf harvesting zone closures go into effect 24 hours after the department posts notice of the closure. It is the hunter or trapper’s responsibility to determine the closure status of a wolf zone prior to attempting to hunt or trap wolf in that zone. Zone status updates are also available by calling the telephone information system (855-299-9653).

The Public Access Lands atlas provides interactive, detailed views of tribal lands borders, inside which wolf harvest is not permitted.

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.