Meet the “Barstool Biologist” That Thinks He Speaks for “Everyone” in Wisconsin about Wolves

The apparent meeting place for Wisconsin's most esteemed biologists.

The apparent meeting place for Wisconsin’s most esteemed biologists.

One of the terms that I like to use to describe anti-wildlife elements who think they have the answers to everything is that they are a “barstool biologist.” Nowhere is this more prevalent than among the anti-wolf elements in northern Wisconsin. These people like to run with the lies and myths such as “them wolfs is eatin’ all the deer” and “I don’t see no deer, but I see wolfs everywhere.” The latest propaganda talking point being furthered by anti-wolf factions and arrogant legislators like Taconite Tommy Tiffany is that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is turning Wisconsin into a “predator state.” To listen to these people you would think that Wisconsin was just overwhelmed with wolves, bears, coyotes, and those evil and horrible bobcats.

Nowhere have these lies and propaganda talking points been better illustrated than in a recently published “letter to the editor” of The Lakeland Times by Hazelhurst, Wisconsin resident and anti-wolf fearmongerer, Al LaPorte. If Hazelhurst, Wisconsin sounds familiar it is because this is where Taconite Tommy lives and in a strange coincidence the talking points of both are exactly the same. Here is the letter:

What does a D.C. judge know about Wisconsin wolves?

To the Editor:

I read Melissa Smith’s letter to the editor of The Lakeland Times (Friday, May 8, 2015). While I agree the DNR has screwed up our deer population (too many doe permits for too many years), I have to wonder how a judge in Washington D.C. knows so much about Wisconsin wolves?

If you don’t think the DNR is turning northern Wisconsin into a predator state, why does it take about eight years to get a bear tag, six to seven years to get a bobcat tag, and you can’t even get a wolf tag? She thinks wolves are at a dangerously low population. Well, maybe in Madison there aren’t many, but in the Northwoods there are more than the area can handle (remember the 350 wolves everyone agreed to?)

As far as dogs being used to fight wolves, what world does she live in? I guess Ms. Smith can just distort reality to make a point. Wolves are not in a “dirty culture war.” It is groups like hers that take up the wolf as a “symbol of wilderness” when in reality the wolf is just a part of the whole system.

The coyote has had no season and no limit (except during some deer seasons) and they have survived. Why must we put the wolf above the rest of the wildlife?

So, what has happened is the DNR depleted our deer heard, and the predators are stopping the comeback, and I am tired of the people in Madison shoving their opinions and rules down our throats. How would it be, if we took away the number of police officers in Madison because we do not need that many in northern Wisconsin, and said you should learn to live with the chaos?

Al LaPorte
Hazelhurst

While it just induces a migraine to read the false equivalencies, fabrications, propaganda, and downright arrogance of this letter, I will break it down point by point.

The letter starts with the usual barstool biologist/rural talking point that it is just impossible for someone in the “big city,” in this case a federal judge, to know anything about Wisconsin wolves. How arrogant this judge must me to actually read and interpret a law the way that the law was written. Didn’t you know that rural folks apparently know everything and some big city judge has no right to tell them that they can’t fight wolves with their dogs or trap, shoot, and arrow those evil grandchildren eating beasts?

Next we have the latest Northern Wisconsin anti-wolf talking point that Wisconsin is being turned into a “predator state.” So why are we now a “predator state?” According to the esteemed barstool biologist, Al LaPorte, it is because it just takes too darn long for him to get a kill permit for one of those evil predators. Obviously this must be because there are just so many predators in the state that the tree hugging Wisconsin DNR want to protect. What? Mr. LaPorte is apparently of the opinion that predator killing should be a free for all and kill permits should be given to everyone that wants one. Then he completely contradicts his own argument later in his letter by stating that wolves should be treated like all other wildlife. So if he believes that wolves should be treated like all other wildlife then that means a system of quotas and limits to the number of permits issued, right? This argument and “woe is me” arrogance of these anti-wolf types show exactly what they are all about. They believe that their selfish “need” to kill takes precedence over everyone else or the health of a species.

The next part uses another barstool biologist talking point by claiming that “everyone agreed” to the number of 350 wolves in Wisconsin. By “everyone” I assume LaPorte is referring to his own circle of anti-wolf elements that had to be be essentially bribed by the Wisconsin DNR so that they wouldn’t poach wolves? The bear hounders are so special that they had to make an “agreement” with the Wisconsin DNR so that they wouldn’t break the law by poaching a federally protected species. That should tell you all that you need to know about the types of people LaPorte represents in his letter.

The biggest whopper of the entire letter appears next. LaPorte claims that the idea of dogs fighting wolves is just absurd. He asks what world does the original letter writer live in? Gee I wonder what world that is. Maybe the world where the Wisconsin DNR paid out a total of $55,827.32 in the past year for hounds allegedly killed or injured by wolves? How about the total payout of this scam program of $573,512.38 since the whole hounder bribe system started? Nope dogs don’t fight wolves. If that is the case then I expect all the hounders that received reimbursements to refund each and every dime that they were paid.

Mr. LaPorte then claims that there isn’t a “culture war” surrounding wolves. The absurdity of this claim is proven false by the mere fact that he wrote his letter. The letter contains nothing but hyperbole and whining about how those poor rural folk are “told what to do” by those evil people in the “big city.” All one has to do is take a look at the vile, racist, and hate filled postings by one of the several anti-wolf hate sites that infect Facebook and other media forums to see that the wolf is central in this “culture war.” Any bets he is a fan of such sites?

Finally LaPorte has to sum up his letter by claiming that predators are stopping the “comeback” of the deer population in Wisconsin. Funny I didn’t know that deer were an endangered species that needed to “comeback.” But when one looks at it from the selfish viewpoint of the “great white hunters” of Wisconsin there can never be enough deer to kill in their “whole state is a game farm” mentality. People like LaPorte want “on-demand” hunting where they are guaranteed a kill and nothing, especially predators, can get in the way of the dominionist attitude that many like him posses. He is “tired”of people in Madison “shoving their opinions down his throat.” Really? Last I checked, Madison and it’s residents were tax paying citizens of the State of Wisconsin. Much of that tax money goes to prop up rural areas like Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Last I saw residents of Madison also far outnumber the residents of Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. I see plenty of rural mindsets and opinions being shoved down our throats in the “big city.” Using dogs against wolves and other wildlife? That didn’t come from urban representatives. Archaic abortion restrictions? Those didn’t come from urban representatives. Act 10? That sure didn’t come from Madison representatives. Nor has the myriad of other anti-environment, anti-wildlife, anti-progressive, anti-education, anti-everything “liberal” scorched Earth polices that were rammed down OUR throats by arrogant rural blowhards like your very own Tom Tiffany. So don’t pretend to act like those of us in the “big city” are “forcing” anything on you. Frankly on both the state and national level it is exactly the opposite. Urban citizens and majority opinions are being ignored in favor of rural minority positions and dominionist attitudes. 

The final sentence of LaPorte’s letter is the typical rural straw-man argument that barstool biologists and the anti-wolf rural types use all the time.

How would it be, if we took away the number of police officers in Madison because we do not need that many in northern Wisconsin, and said you should learn to live with the chaos?

The false equivalency here is staggering. Actually with all of the poachers and law breakers that infect northern Wisconsin, I would argue that you do need massively increased law enforcement up there but that is not the issue in this post. Barstool biologists and “the sky is falling” rural types like to pretend that if something doesn’t go THEIR WAY that everyone feels the same way or that there is “chaos.” When it comes to wolves the very anti-wolf DNR, commissioned a survey last year showing overwhelming support for wolves and maintaining their current populations. There was even majority support in the areas of the north that wolves inhabit contrary to this guy’s assertions. If not getting to kill a bear, wolf, bobcat, deer, etc. is what constitutes “chaos” in Mr. LaPorte’s world then his issues go far beyond that of wildlife management.

Judging from his history of letter to editors this is not the first time Mr. LaPorte has used such hyperbole and overexaggerations to illustrate his “points.” One only has to look at a letter he wrote to the same publication in December of 2014 crying out about the “thousands” of wolves in Wisconsin.

Predators – Until 1984, hunters received a bear tag with their rifle tag and a bobcat tag with their small game license. Also, hunters legally shot every wolf they saw. Now it takes a hunter nine years to get a bear tag, (8 1/2 years average in zone D) and seven years for a bobcat tag. There are more bear and bobcat than ever. Plus the DNR doesn’t seem to have a clue about how many thousands of wolves there really are in northern Wisconsin. These predators need to eat, and deer meat is on the menu.

Does anyone wonder why so many wildlife advocates do not want states like Wisconsin to ever regain “management” of wolves? In the meantime enjoy more of the barstool biology and musings of a very arrogant man that thinks he speaks for all of Wisconsin in this other “letter to the editor.”

Letter: ‘Pro-wolf’ writers don’t know Wisconsin

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One thought on “Meet the “Barstool Biologist” That Thinks He Speaks for “Everyone” in Wisconsin about Wolves

  1. Pingback: Wisconsin’s Dubious Wolf Population “Increase” and Taconite Tommy Strikes Again | Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife

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