It should come as no surprise that fear mongering and rural arrogance plays a front and center role when it comes to wolves and other wildlife in Wisconsin. Even when wolves were not listed under the Endangered Species Act from 2012 to 2014 the anti-wolf factions were still pushing for their numbers to be reduced to a token sum or for outright eradication. Wisconsin made sure to comply to these demands by immediately instituting three reckless and brutal killing seasons with arbitrary “quotas” that were ignored each year, the inclusion of packs of vicious dogs to be used against wolves, unregulated “training” of those same dogs against wolves 24/7/365, and allowing killing to be done in other barbaric ways with little to no oversight.
Even with the state sanctioned persecution and eradication policies it was still never enough for the rabid anti-wolf factions hellbent on completely eliminating the species from the landscape of Wisconsin. Disgusting, sexist, racist, and exploitative anti-wolf sites began to fester all over the internet and especially on Facebook. One in particular had open boasting from it’s “fans” about poaching and other illegal acts being carried out against wolves. In fact a recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that contrary to the propaganda of the anti-wolf factions that pushed the disgusting 2012 Wisconsin wolf kill bill, the state sanctioned killing seasons made the anti-wolf factions hate the species even more.
“There was a notion held widely in the scientific literature and said at public meetings that a public hunting season would increase acceptance of wolves,” says Adrian Treves, professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and co-author of the study. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cited “maintaining social tolerance” as a goal of the wolf harvest in a statement in 2013.
Treves isn’t certain whether most hunters in Wisconsin will ever embrace wolves because the predators feed on the white-tailed deer that hunters value. He suggests the harvest may have reduced the value of wolves in Wisconsin relative to other game species — permit prices were cut in half after the first year — consistent with findings demonstrated by studies of other large carnivores throughout the world.
Even after the reckless killing seasons of 2012 through 2014 the hate of this species has only seemed to intensify. The anti-wolf killing cartels continue to spread lies and propaganda that blame wolves for the alleged “decline” in the deer population and for being a “threat” to children and grandchildren all over the world. Even though the anti-wolf Wisconsin DNR itself published a survey showing vast support for the wolf population and studies showing that harsh winters, starvation, and other predators have taken a far larger toll on the sacred deer population, the anti-wolf fear mongers still seek to push the species back to near or total eradication.
One of the backdoor tactics that has been used over the last several years by anti-wolf zealot(s) has been to get the county boards in rural northern counties in Wisconsin to adopt “resolutions” stating that they want 350 or LESS wolves in Wisconsin. The chief proponent of these resolutions is none other than the rabid anti-wolf zealot Laurie Groskopf. Groskopf has been know for a long time as being the loudest voice among the anti-wolf zealots in Wisconsin seeking to push the species back to the brink. While sitting on the boards of two of the most vocal anti-wolf groups, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Groskopf has been allowed to represent both on the Wisconsin DNR’s anti-wolf “wolf advisory committee.” Groskopf is also a long time member of the anti-wolf Wisconsin Conservation Congress and has used that platform to push her agenda for wolf eradication. However, in recent months even the rabidly anti-wolf Conservation Congress has refused to adopt the extreme proposals Groskopf has been pushing for and that has led her to write to various newspapers to throw a hissy fit. Most laughable of all was the letter that she wrote to the openly “liberal” Capital Times in Madison whining about how poor Laurie was no longer going to work with the Conservation Congress because they didn’t adopt her wolf eradication proposals.
Dear Editor: When I got involved with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, many of my friends said I would be disappointed. They said the Congress existed to rubber-stamp DNR policies.
I thought the Congress was the greatest idea since sliced bread. Imagine, a citizen-based organization created for the purpose of influencing public policy. The essence of our democracy is allowing regular people to have input into administrative and legislative decisions.
After more than five frustrating years, I’ve decided this “good old boys club” is not fulfilling its purpose. As a respected fellow delegate told me, “With the Congress, it’s not what you know but who you know.”
One example: No Wolf Committee resolution passed at the spring hearings has enjoyed the support of WCC leaders in the past five years. A 2011 vote approved a wolf population goal, with 3,989 in favor and 827 opposed. However, the Wolf Committee chair, handpicked by the Congress chair, chose to support a different population goal than the one approved by the public at the spring hearings.
The annual spring hearings are Monday, April 13, in each of our 72 counties. Citizens are allowed to introduce resolutions, and they vote on resolutions that have gone through a rigorous WCC process. But if these resolutions are ignored by the Congress leaders, what is the point of attending these hearings?
Sadly, my friends were right. I have decided that the Congress leadership is dedicated to pleasing the DNR upper management. The WCC’s purpose has been subverted, and its promise goes unfulfilled. I’m moving on to more productive pursuits.
Do you need any tissue yet? This next letter from LG to the Wausau Daily Herald will surely make you cry.
Did you ever wonder what happens to those Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring hearing resolutions introduced by locals in each county? Sometimes the answer is that they get squashed by the WCC leadership.
This happened recently with two local resolutions from last year’s Marathon County spring hearing. The subject of both was the wolf situation.
One resolution was to provide unlimited harvest opportunities for wolves in harvest Zone 6, which was originally called “unsuitable wolf habitat” by the DNR experts. The experts later abandoned that label because they felt there were ample opportunities for wolves to live in most areas of Wisconsin originally designated as inferior wolf habitat.
The resolution, which passed in Marathon County with a vote of 122 in favor and 29 against, promoted an unlimited quota in wolf harvest Zone 6.
Local resolutions pass through an assigned committee, and if forwarded are considered by an executive council of the WCC every January. If the council forwards the resolution, it appears on the spring hearing questionnaire in April. If it is rejected, it dies.
The executive council discussed Marathon County’s resolution, and the chief DNR lawyer, Tim Andryk, told the group that the judges wouldn’t find this acceptable. He means federal judges, such as the one who recently returned wolves to endangered species status until their numbers are restored throughout their historic range.
Since when do we manage wildlife according to what some eastern judge thinks? The motion to allow unlimited wolf quotas in Zone 6 was rejected by the WCC executive council (see January minutes on the DNR web site).
A second resolution attempted to convince the WCC representative on the DNR’s wolf advisory committee to support the 2011 spring hearing vote for a wolf goal of 350 or fewer.
When it came time to vote at the DNR advisory committee, the representative called the committee dysfunctional, moved to have DNR staff select the options to present in the draft wolf management plan (this was rejected) and refused to vote on the official position of the WCC.
So this resolution also was not forwarded to the spring hearing.
Twenty-five county boards have passed resolutions supporting a wolf goal of 350, or 350 or fewer. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and numerous other agriculture organizations support this goal. Almost every major hunting organization supports a wolf goal of either 350 or 350 or less.
With the upcoming county deer committees scheduled for March and the WCC spring hearings scheduled in April, one has to ask whether it is worth devoting time to such efforts that are largely controlled by DNR staff and WCC leaders who often seem intent on rubber-stamping the DNR’s decisions. After over five years associating with WCC in a very intensive manner, I will no longer be wasting my time attempting to influence natural resource policies through WCC meetings.
Laurie Groskopf lives in Tomahawk.
Apparently now that LG feels abandoned by the Conservation Congress she is going back to her old tried and true method of getting county boards to pass resolutions that build on the fear mongering myths and propaganda that led wolves to be eradicated the first time in this state. On May 19, 2015 the Polk County Board approved a resolution in support of the having 350 or LESS wolves in the state and that wolves were a threat to your pets and children, especially if they walk around the woods wearing red hoods. While Groskopf is not specifically mentioned in the article, this resolution has her fingerprints all over it along with the resolution submission bearing her name on the Polk County website.
In anticipation of Wisconsin regaining control over its gray wolf population, the Polk County Board passed a resolution May 19 in support of keeping wolf numbers to 350 or fewer in the state. The resolution chiefly concerns wolves in northern Wisconsin, where the core population resides.
David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist for Wisconsin’s DNR, said that when the number was established, there were about 200 wolves in the state, and 350 was set as a goal. There has been some debate since over whether it was ever meant to be considered a cap. (It was NOT)
According to MacFarland, the resolution Polk’s board approved is a citizen-led initiative meant to influence the agency as it creates a wolf management plan.
“The DNR is in the process of writing a species management plan that would contain various objectives,” said MacFarland. ‘The resolution is aimed at pressuring the DNR to adopt a population of 350.”
According to MacFarland, whether the DNR adopts that number or not, it will first approach the public. The agency is planning to hold meetings throughout the state from mid to late summer to ask the public what kind of wolf management it would like.
Then the fear mongering and “them wolf’s done be eatin’ all the deer” lies begin:
Among Polk County Board members, reasons for reducing the wolf population included wolves’ threat to deer, livestock, pets and humans.
“When you have a high wolf population, they affect the deer,” said Supervisor Patricia Schmidt, Luck, as she introduced the resolution. “[Wolves] affect the farm livestock and family pets.”
Board Chair William Johnson noted that he wasn’t aware of any claims that had come to the Community, Development, Recreation and Education Committee for damage done by wolves, but he imagined that predation on the deer population was evident.
Sound familiar? These are the exact same scare tactics folks like LG, the killing cartels, politicians, and big ag interests have been using for years. All of these claims have been proven false time and time again yet the lies persist. But the real reason for this resolution reared it’s head later in the hearing:
Supervisor Jay Luke, Amery, defended the population goal, saying that the maximum had been established through a series of hearings, with experts weighing in to set a number for a healthy population. The limit is meant to keep wolves from expanding into high-population areas.
Luke also argued that special interest groups were responsible for the wolf’s current protected listing.
“They sit in an urban area and dictate what we should be doing in western Wisconsin,” said Luke. “I’m in full support of this to let our government do what’s necessary to control what we believe is a problem.”
There was never a “maximum” number established. There was a “goal” number that would allow the state to “manage” the species but it was never intended to be a maximum. If that is the case then every single species in Wisconsin should be “managed” to the “goal” number and no higher. That should include deer. It’s only fair, right?
Then we have the old complaint of “interest groups” being responsible for the relisting of the wolves in the Great Lakes. The anti-wolf/wildlife factions across the country always complain about “outside interest groups” when things do not go the way they want them to go. Funny how there seems to be no mention of the anti-wolf “interest groups” that wrote the 2012 wolf kill bill and are lobbying congress to pass legislation that will destroy the Endangered Species Act.
Those comments aside we then see the real reason for this resolution. In another example of rural arrogance people like Jay Luke stomp their feet and scream that no one from the “big city” is going to tell them what to do. Apparently there aren’t other problems for rural Wisconsin and Polk County to deal with other than the scourge of wolves. How about the recent article complaining about how some how rural Wisconsin residents claim that they have a hard time “accessing” food? Also, Polk County should really be worried about the real predators and monsters in their midst. Take for example the recent arrest of several people involved in a cock fighting ring in Polk and St. Croix Counties. Maybe those are the predators and real monsters that these people need to worry about being around their children instead of fear mongering over the big bad wolf?
Only one member of the Polk County Board spoke out against this fear mongering “don’t tell me what to do” resolution.
The lone voice of objection to the 350 maximum came from Supervisor Warren Nelson, Amery.
“I have a problem limiting wolves for a couple of reasons,” he said. “Wolves control the deer and elk populations, which protects vegetation from being over-consumed.”
Nelson cited the re-balancing of the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park after wolves were reintroduced there as evidence of his assertion.
According to Nelson — and contrary to the idea that wolf predation costs the county in claims for damage to livestock and pets — Polk approves more claims for damage done by deer, which get into feed and crops, than by wolves.
Nelson went on to question the legitimacy of the resolution’s claim that wolves are a threat to people.
“I’ve never heard of a documented case of a wolf attacking a human, and I see that’s part of this resolution, to protect humans,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. … I think it would be reckless to kill off half of the wolf population.”
Thank you Mr. Nelson for being the lone voice of reason among the fear mongering bumpkins that sit on the board with you. You didn’t buy into LG’s lies and propaganda and we thank you for that. The rest should be ashamed for buying into the lies and barstool biology that is trying to dominate the narrative of wolves in Wisconsin. Please take the time to thank Board Member Nelson for being the only one of the group not to buy into the lies and fear mongering approved in this resolution. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask the other board members why they believe the lies and misinformation that Laurie Groskopf and her fellow barstool biologists spread in these resolutions.