Flash back to April 01, 2012 just before WISCONSIN ACT 169 Date of enactment: April 2, 2012 calling for a trophy hunt on wolves. I did my first news story in an effort to stop the Wisconsin wolf hunt, read on:
Posted: Apr 01, 2012 9:18 PM CDT
Menomonie (WQOW)- Just two months ago, killing a wolf in Wisconsin was illegal. Fast forward to the present, Wisconsin lawmakers have called for a statewide wolf hunt beginning in October.
“It’s funny how the wolf is either loved or hated,” says Rachel Tilseth.
You can pencil volunteer wolf tracker Tilseth into the love category. She’s been tracking wolves in the area for the last 15 years.
“There’s a bunch of us that fan out throughout the state during the winter time to track wolves and to monitor their whereabouts,” Tilseth explains.
She’s one of 300 volunteer trackers that send their data to the DNR so they can come up with official state wolf numbers. Those numbers are way up, but Tilseth warns if too many wolves are targeted, other species will be affected.
“A wolf is a key predator and once you save him, you save everything else in his environment,” Tilseth says. “The wolf acts as a steward of the deer herd. It will push the animal so that it doesn’t overgraze an area.”
Tilseth says the state is moving too quickly and she has at least one lawmaker that agrees with her.
“You can’t go from being on the endangered species act one day to night-time hunting with dogs and spotlights the next year without people being concerned,” says State Representative Brett Hulsey.
“They just went off the endangered species list in January,” says a bewildered Tilseth. “I don’t think that’s enough time. I think we need to take a longer look at it.”
So now trackers like Tilseth are trying to get the attention of those that can make a difference.
“I have written the governor. I have written to my legislatures, everybody I could get a hold of. I would like to see the bill vetoed and if that’s not the case, I would like more input on how the hunting occurs,” she reveals.
Wisconsin lawmakers have approved the wolf hunting bill. So now it’s up to Governor Walker to sign off on it. Two other issues many have with the bill center on it being legal to use spotlights and hunting dogs to hunt wolves. Trackers like Tilseth say if it’s not vetoed, they would like to see those issues cleared up.
Flash forward to today
Wolves in Wisconsin are on the ESA but face threats in the form of anti wolf legislation now making its way into congress.
Take action for wolves call your U.S. Senator now. To call your senator: 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.
Wisconsin Wolf Trophy Hunt 2012, 2013 & 2014…
Wisconsin began a campaign towards gray wolves that resembled the dark ages of 13th century. Wisconsin wolf hunters and trappers harvested 257 wolves during the 2013-14 season. This was a 119% increase from the 2012-13 harvest of 117 wolves. The 2013-14 harvest was comprised of 134 males and 123 females. Of the 257 wolves harvested, trapping with foothold traps accounted for 180 (70.0%), 77 (30.0%) wolves were harvested by hunters. Of the 77 wolves harvested by hunters, 35 (13.6%) were hunted with the aid of dogs. One wolf was harvested with archery equipment; firearm was the method of harvest for all other animals (table 3). No wolves were harvested with the use of cable restraints. WDNR Wolf Harvest Reports.
Rachel Tilseth of the animal education group Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin says it’s vital that independent experts can now verify that dogs didn’t illegally fight with wolves.
“I’d like to have those wolves examined by an independent veterinarian,” says Tilseth. “This is a very controversial subject – this wolf-hounding – and I believe we need to see all the evidence.”
Tilseth says she’ll continue to try to get dogs banned from future Wisconsin wolf hunts. Republican lawmakers have refused to allow a hearing on a recently introduced bill ordering such a ban. WPR 2013 reposted on Exposing the Big Game.
Came across this wolf kill last year, 2018, in northern Wisconsin. I’ve come across fresher wolf kills than this one in the nineteen years I’ve been a Wisconsin Wolf tracker. A wolf kill is a humbling sight to see. What you see is a body of bones surrounded by a circle of fur, with the hide all tucked up tightly alongside the kill. Nothing is left to waste, and the pack will usually hang around and even crack open the ribs for a treat of bone marrow.
About Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films
WODCWF is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. We connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves.
We view the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide.
To support this effort, we maintain a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.
About Gray Wolves in Wisconsin
Gray Wolves in Wisconsin continually face threats of delisting and as a result; trophy hunts that are legislatively mandated in 2011 Wisconsin Act 169. It’s a constant battle to educate and advocate for Wisconsin’s imperiled Gray wolf. The Gray wolf is part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy.
For more about Gray wolves read: The Wisconsin Story
By Lindsey Botts
November 18, 2018 news…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
July 2018 news…
Vehicle collisions (39%) and illegal kills (19%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities and were similar to the rates detected the previous year.
The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report describes wolf management and monitoring activities conducted in Wisconsin during the wolf monitoring year, April 15th, 2017 to April 14th, 2018. Gray wolves (Canis lupus) reverted to federally endangered status in the Western Great Lakes region as the result of a federal court decision in December 2014. They have been in this status for the entire monitoring period. The Gray Wolf Monitoring Report done through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and can be found on their website.
Statewide continuous wolf pack range was estimated to be 23,687 mi2 in northern and central forested regions of Wisconsin. Using the 2018 minimum population count of 905-944 wolves, wolf density is estimated to be 1 wolf per 25.1 to 26.2 mi2 of contiguous wolf range, calculated by dividing contiguous wolf range by the minimum population count range according to the report.
Wolf population monitoring was conducted using a territory mapping with telemetry technique, summer howl surveys, winter snow track surveys, recovery of dead wolves, depredation investigations, and collection of public observation reports.
A total of 36 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4% of the minimum 2016-2017 late winter count of 925- 952 wolves.
Wolf mortality was monitored through field observation and mandatory reporting of control mortalities. Cause of death for wolves reported dead in the field was determined through field investigation or by necropsy when illegal activity was suspected or where cause of death was not evident during field investigation. A total of 36 wolf mortalities were detected during the monitoring period. Detected mortalities represented 4% of the minimum 2016-2017 late winter count of 925- 952 wolves according to the report.
Vehicle collisions (39%) and illegal kills (19%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities and were similar to the rates detected the previous year. Human caused mortality represented 72% of known cause detected mortalities overall. [for more details click here]
Eleven collared wolves died during the monitoring period. All were being actively monitored at the time of death (Table 5). Cause of death could not be determined for 3 collared wolves. For the 8 where cause of death could be determined, 3 (38%) were illegally killed, 2 (25%) were killed by vehicle collision, 1 likely died as a result of capture related myopathy, 1 died as a result of disease, and 1 apparently died as a result of intraspecific strife.
Livestock depredations included 29 cattle killed and 1 injured, and 4 sheep killed. The number of farms affected was the same as the previous monitoring year.
Wolf depredation incidents were investigated by United States Department of Agriculture – Wildlife Services. During the monitoring period, Wildlife Services confirmed 59 wolf complaints of the 103 investigated (Figure 6).
Unconfirmed complaints were either confirmed to be due to causes other than wolves or lacked sufficient evidence to attribute a cause. Thirty-one incidents of wolf depredation to livestock and 6 incidents of wolf threat to livestock were confirmed on 31 different farms during the monitoring period (Table 6). This included 13 of 34 farms classified as chronic wolf depredation farms (38%). Livestock depredations included 29 cattle killed and 1 injured, and 4 sheep killed. The number of farms affected was the same as the previous monitoring year (Figure 7).
Twenty incidents of non-livestock depredation and 2 incidents of non-livestock threats were confirmed during the monitoring period. his included 17 dogs killed and 10 injured while actively engaged in hunting activities, and 1 dog killed and 2 injured outside of hunting situations (Figure 8). This was a 55% decrease from 2016-17 when 44 incidents of non-livestock depredation were confirmed. Fifteen of seventeen (88%) of hunting dog incidents occurred between July 15th and October 1st. One incident occurred in January and 1 occurred in March.
Looking at the Figures 6 & 7 with years 2007 to 2018, there’s a marked decrease. This disproves the theory that wolf hunts, that took place in 2012, 2012 & 2014 would decrease wolf depredations on farms. In other words, wolf complaints have gone down as the wolf population stabilizes.
In wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range and containing 80% of the minimum winter wolf count, deer density estimates increased 19% compared to 2016.
Population monitoring and law enforcement efforts detected 7 wolves illegally killed within the monitoring period. Law enforcement staff conducted 4 wolf related investigations and issued 2 citations during the reporting period (Table 7).
White-tailed deer are the primary prey species for wolves in Wisconsin. Units used for monitoring Wisconsin deer are counties, or in some cases, partial counties. Counties were assigned to the wolf management unit that the majority of the county falls in to compare deer density changes in the wolf management units (Table 8). White-tailed deer density estimates increased 2% statewide from the previous year estimate (Stenglein, 2018). In wolf management units 1, 2, and 5, considered to be primary wolf range and containing 80% of the minimum winter wolf count, deer density estimates increased 19% compared to 2016. New recommendations from the County Deer Advisory Councils for deer population objectives were approved by the Natural Resources Board in 2018. The current recommendations are more varied than the previous recommendations, but are still primarily to increase or maintain the deer population in each of the 6 wolf management units. There is no indication that prey density is, or will negatively impact the wolf population.
For the Full Report go to WISCONSIN GRAY WOLF MONITORING REPORT 15 APRIL 2017 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2018
The House Passed the Department of Interior funding bill, which includes language that would delist wolves throughout the lower 48 states and preclude legal challenges to delisting. And now is on its way to the senate.
And…In the Senate there’s Legislation being proposed that would rewrite the Endanered Species Act. Under Barrasso’s proposal, individual states would be given key authority over the federal program to conserve threatened and endangered species.
Here’s what you can do…
You can help stop this threat to the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senator. Click here for their contact information.
Here’s another way you can help. Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor (LTE), Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper is the best way to reach a large audience with your message. Click here for more information on how to get involved.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun reviewing the status of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Working closely with federal, state, tribal and local partners, the Service will assess the currently listed gray wolf entities in the lower 48 states using the best available scientific information. If appropriate, the Service will publish a proposal to revise the wolf’s status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year. Any proposal will follow a robust, transparent and open public process that will provide opportunity for public comment.
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