Wisconsin Wolf Kill Quota Scaled Back for 2014……..But Still Far Too High

Wisconsin wants to "legally" kill 156 wolves this year.

Wisconsin wants to “legally” kill 156 wolves this year.

Last year hounders, trappers, and hunters killed 257 wolves during Wisconsin’s second wolf killing season. This number was six above the quota of 251 set by the DNR and their “Wolf Advisory Committee.” Yesterday, the hunter/trapper/hounder dominated committee set their quota recommendation for the 2014 wolf kill season. This year they want to kill 156 wolves. 101 less than the total number “legally” killed last year.

This year the winter population survey showed that the Wisconsin wolf population plummeted by 19 percent from same time last year. This massive population drop was in line with the Wisconsin DNR’s stated goal of bringing the population closer to the archaic number of “350” set in the 1999 state wolf management plan and championed by anti-wolf lobbying groups across the state.

The committee that sets the annual wolf kill quota recommendation, the Wolf Advisory Committee, is stacked with some of the most vocal anti-wolf factions in the state.

“The Wolf Advisory Committee consists of DNR biologists and wildlife managers, several federal agency representatives, a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and several stakeholder groups, including the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and the Timber Wolf Alliance.”

By “stakeholder groups” the DNR means the very lobbying groups that are vocally anti-wolf and one in particular, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, wrote the legislation that allows the yearly slaughter of wolves. At the April 29, 2014 Wolf Advisory Committee meeting it was even suggested by several committee members that the reimbursements for hounders, whose dogs are allegedly killed by wolves, be discontinued. According to multiple witnesses the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association representative on the committee, Al Lobner, verbally lashed out at the committee stating that if hounder reimbursements were taken away there would be a wolf “bloodbath in the woods.” Most took this as a threat from Lobner that the bear hounders his group represents would brazenly engage in poaching. While the affinity of wolf haters to poach comes as no surprise the audacity of the comments took many by surprise. This compounds the concerns from people like hunter/ wolf tracker, Steve Meurett who recently stated in an article:

Poaching and worse, killing animals and leaving them to rot is especially offensive. It serves only the anti-hunting establishment and surely doesn’t improve relations with the non-hunting public. Perhaps even worse in these county forest killings was the fact that little effort was taken to hide the crime. There wasn’t the usual attitude (SSS -shoot, shovel and shut up), but rather some of the carcasses were recovered by game wardens. It seemed almost a slap in the face toward law enforcement, “What ya gonna do about it?”

It became very clear how effective these poachers have become on a recent DNR wolf survey flight I joined. Three of the collared wolves in the study area from last year were now shot-victims of ‘lead poisoning’ as the researchers call it.

Knowing how much time, money and effort scientists put into understanding the complex lives of this animal and their place in nature these killings are all the more disheartening. I constantly hear how wolves are overrunning the state and that the DNR population estimates are too low. We’ve learned, however, the illegally killed animals probably more than double the hunt quota. This is not a small number and they are unaccounted for. Those who would disregard the resource, putting themselves and their groups above the law, are greedy. They see their ‘sport’ and their disdain for one animal over another as the only true way. They see just one pinpoint perspective of how our natural world is (or should be) …all other opinions (and laws) be damned.

So we must ask the DNR why a representative for a group so openly hostile toward wolves is even allowed to sit on this committee?

This brings us to the Wolf Advisory Committee meeting that was held yesterday in Wausau, WI. Following testimony from several wolf advocates and heated discussions among the committee a kill quota recommendation of 156 wolves was decided upon. As usual Al Lobner had a fit about the “low” kill quota and again expressed his outrage:

Al Lobner, representing the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, said he was “vociferously opposed” to the quota of 156 wolves. He advocated for 300.

These hounders are NEVER satisfied. They can use their four legged weapons to terrorize Wisconsin lands almost year round, openly use their dogs to attack coyotes and other wildlife, and expect to trespass at will. What more do these people want? All they do is take, take, and take while letting their dogs tear up our lands and terrorize our wildlife. Then they expect to get paid for their irresponsibility. Enough is enough. More from the meeting:

Since members vary widely in their views on wolves and consensus on a quota was impossible, they were asked to submit their preferred harvest number on a piece of paper. The submissions ranged from 0 to 300, with a mean of 156. Eleven members preferred a quota of fewer than 150 wolves; nine wanted a quota higher than 160.

Based on two models of the impact of human-caused mortality on wolf populations, a kill of 156 wolves this fall in Wisconsin would result in a population reduction ranging from 5 to 20%, MacFarland said.

The models also factor in mortality from car collisions and depredation control efforts. Non-hunting and trapping mortality to wolves is estimated at 14% annually, said Jen Stenglein, DNR wildlife researcher.

The committee recommended the proposed quota of 156 animals be split among the state’s six wolf management zones as: 33 wolves in Zone 1, 16 in 2, 41 in 3, 9 in 4, 21 in 5 and 36 in 6.

“Some of you are disappointed the quota isn’t higher, others are unhappy it isn’t lower,” MacFarland said. “But I think this in keeping with our goal of putting downward pressure on the wolf population in a responsible way.”

Gee, I wonder which groups are “unhappy?” Representatives of the Humane Society of the United States expressed best the position of most legitimate wildlife advocates in the state:

The Humane Society of the United States, though not represented on the committee, suggested the DNR suspend the wolf season as well as end “the unsporting practices of hounding, trapping, baiting and electronically calling wolves,” said Melissa Tedrowe, Wisconsin director of HSUS. Tedrowe also called for the agency to reconstitute the committee to “better represent Wisconsin’s citizens.” The HSUS was a member of the state’s wolf committee until two years ago.

More to come on this and other wildlife topics in Wisconsin. The fight is just beginning.



Wisconsin Wolf Season Report Shows No “Conclusive” Evidence of Dog Fighting……..but………..

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In 2013 the state sanctioned wolf kill season accounted for 257 reported deaths of gray wolves in Wisconsin. The reckless kill quota numbers along with rampant poaching, killings by “Wildlife Services” assassins, and other forms of mortality led to a staggering 19 percent drop in the Wisconsin wolf population since the beginning of 2013.

2013 was also the first year that hounders were allowed to legally use dogs against wolves. Wisconsin is the only state in the country that allows this abhorrent practice. Dogs were allowed to be used against wolves starting on December 2nd of last year. When the wolf kill season ended 35 wolves were reported to have been killed by hounders. As expected the DNR and hounders reported that their dogs behaved like little angels and didn’t “engage” the wolves that they were targeting even though numerous photographs on the wolf hate pages showed injuries in addition to the gunshot wounds. Due to concerns over potential fighting between the dogs packs and wolves the DNR required that hounders turn over the skinned body of the hounder killed wolves for examination. This was a reasonable request but the time frame in which the hounders could turn in the bodies was rather suspicious. From the report:

“Wisconsin requires state-licensed wolf hunters and trappers to register their wolf using a 2 stage registration process. Within 24 hours of harvest, permit holders are required to inform the Department by phone of the location, sex and method used. This information is used to track harvest by unit and make unit closure decisions. By the 5th day of the month following harvest, hunters and trappers are required to present the pelt and skinned carcass to the department for final registration and tagging of the animal. The department collects a pre-molar for aging purposes, a genetic sample, and a reproductive tract from females.”

In some instances it could be up to 35 days before the wolf killer is required to turn over the body. In the case of the hounders they could legally kill wolves with the “aid” of dogs starting December 2nd, yet they didn’t have to turn in the body to the DNR until January 5th. One of the biggest concerns of wildlife advocates was that in order to cover up evidence of dogs being used to attack wolves, the hounders would allow the bodies of killed wolves to partially decompose or be so otherwise damaged that no conclusive evidence of dog bites could be obtained. And guess what happened? From the report:

“Twenty seven skinned carcasses were examined. The outer exposed tissue layer of the carcasses was severely desiccated. Due to the condition of the carcasses, subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema, as well as presence or absence of injuries that didn’t extend further into the muscle layers could not be assessed. Evaluation of these carcasses was inconclusive. One evaluation was conducted of a carcass with the pelt removed only from the shoulder and head. The cause of death for this wolf was a bullet wound but the carcass showed evidence of minor trauma consistent with bite wounds which occurred prior to death. Available evidence did not allow for conclusive determination of the species responsible for the bite wounds. Law enforcement personnel investigated the events surrounding the harvest of this animal and found no evidence of a violation.”

Of course “no evidence of a violation” was found by the warden. Are hounders ever charged with any violations? In 2012 NOT ONE hounder was cited or charged for any violations even though pictures and videos of dogs being used to illegally attack wildlife were turned over to the DNR. However the report does show that the DNR did issue 21 wolf killing related citations. Funny how not one of these “violations” ever made the media. I will be looking at getting information about these citations and the nature of the violations from the DNR through Freedom of Information Act requests. Please download the official report below:

Wisconsin Wolf Season Report



Wis. wolf population falls following hunting season

So why is the DNR concerned about wolf killers finding out where packs are? Considering that their sham “Wolf Advisory Committee” is stacked with the very same anti-wolf groups and individuals that give their followers the information anyway? Am I missing something here?

Exposing the Big Game

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles


Amid continuing controversy about hunting Wisconsin’s gray wolves, preliminary data shows Wisconsin’s wolf population has decreased by 19 percent over the past year due to hunting and trapping across the state.

According to the report released by the Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin’s wolf population at the end of this winter sat at a minimum of 658, down from 809 wolves last year.

“The Wolf Advisory Committee last year recommended a more aggressive harvest to start bringing the population down towards the goal that is stated in the 1999 Wolf Management Plan, which is 350 animals,” Jane Wiedenhoeft, assistant large carnivore biologist at the DNR, said.

The decrease this year is the first major decline in Wisconsin’s wolf population since the grey wolf’s addition to the federal endangered species list in 1974. Wisconsin’s wolf population hit an all time low in 1979 with 25 wolves, Wiedenhoeft said.

After the…

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