Guest Blog: Northern Exposure

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

This is a guest post from another resident of Northern Wisconsin highlighting the struggles that property owners have to deal with when living in an area full of bloodthirsty hounders. The writer also writes about the endless threats and intimidation directed at those who disagree with the behavior of hounders and other predator haters.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

As a northern Wisconsin resident, I appreciate clean air, pure water, little if any development, tranquil forests and waterways and the freedom to roam public lands with my dog any season; any time. The very reason most people live or move to northern Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s wild side is what attracts 14-million visitors to OUR state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas per year. Escape to Wisconsin. Go Wild. Well, not exactly the case and soon to regress from any “wild” due to our undermining Legislators who are rapidly dismantling OUR public lands.

Life in northern Wisconsin comes with many obstacles besides Legislators. One being the safety we are all entitled to on public lands. Hunting accidents occur all too often as many of our canine friends are shot, trapped or poisoned as well as residents who are shot on their own property due to so-called ‘hunter error’. Living in a secluded area, I have been told to stay out of harm’s way during hunting season. Apparently, it is rational for coyote hounders to run their dogs 365-days/year and bear hounders 4.5 months/year but residents cannot run their own dogs when they choose. Hunting privileges begin April 15 with bear baiting and run until the end of open bear season which is mid-October. Bear hound training begins July 1 and ends around October 6. Open bear season begins early September winding down mid-October. Basically, hunting and trapping continue for many species until spring turkey season begins. Therefore, it seems hunting and trapping take precedence most of the year regardless of tourism and resident interests even though revenue from eco-tourism is much greater than hunters who claim their contributions pay for conservation. Hunters fund conservation efforts, but it is for game animals they can hunt.

How safe are our private properties? Hunting hounds sometimes 6-at a time, trespass on my property and adjacent seasonal residents’ properties every year and often every day during open bear season and frequently during unlicensed bear training. They announce their arrival by yelping, tantalizing pets sometimes killing them, alarming home owners, trampling through gardens and disrupting any wildlife in their path. When addressing the issues with Legislators and WDNR, I am instructed to 1) call the warden, 2) call the sheriff 3) restrain the 6-cackling hounds and take them to the Humane Society. Restrain 6-bloodthirsty hounds? That’s safe. Wait 45-minutes for a sheriff? Call the warden who is on another call in a different county? For real? Trespassing on private property is a heaping fine of $25.-$100. IF caught and may escalate to $250.-$500. In 2016. Traditional hunting with hounds no longer exists. Hounders hang out by their vehicles miles away from their malicious hounds tracking them by GPS. Interestingly, residents who are left with injured or killed pets are not compensated in any way by the state. Yet, hounders who have lost their hunting hounds to wolves while bear hunting; even in dangerous designated wolf zones, are compensated by the state at $2,500/hound for the loss of their unsupervised precious gems. Why? Because they purchased a license to hunt? Wisconsin is the only state that reimburses bear hunters for their hounds killed by wolves…hounds unleashed, unsupervised in the pursuit of bear. GPS collars do not substitute handler responsibility.

Some hounders really do have a passion for their hounds. Three were abandoned and tied up to trees on state property near Antigo. Some extreme hounders kill their hounds if they do not meet their expectations. Humane Societies in northern WI report most abandoned hounds have Lyme Disease. How many hounders are checked by enforcement to verify their hounds have rabies tags and dog license tags for each dog while training and hunting? It is believed that approx. 360-450 stray hunting hounds are found in northern Wisconsin per year.

Besides stray hounds running at large, personal encounters with some hounders can be rather interesting. While Representative Adam Jarchow has schemed up a new Hunter Harassment Law, http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Wisconsin-legislator-touts-bill-to-curb-hunter-harassment-337990432.html hunters harass residents even on their own property. Some have stolen trail cams and have threatened to burn the house down if reported to the warden. Another extreme hunter claimed he would trap an alpha male wolf and torture it just for me so I could post the footage on Facebook and go “tree-hugger viral”. After all, we are all considered dumbass, city dwelling tree-huggers and are clueless to wolf issues, over-baiting bears and hounder invasion not to mention public safety. Actually, we are post-graduate bred environmentalists who live and understand the behaviors and wellbeing of wildlife but apparently that doesn’t sink in. For those who disagree with our logic and specifically the condemnation of coyote contests, why not loosen all my lug nuts on my truck and watch a 50lb rim split down the middle and launch like a missile into traffic as I experienced shortly after the Argonne Coyote Killing Contest. Revenge? Better yet, perhaps posting screen shots of several hounders’ CCAP records would provide insight to many matters including claims on hound depredation by wolves. Poaching is yet another matter.

Safety is an issue as several residents from Cable and the Bayfield area recently moved to central WI due to poaching, wild gunfire and continuous hounder conflicts, thanks to Mr. Quintessence. Residents and tourists have the right to venture in the wild of northern WI without fear of losing their pet’s limbs to traps or dodging hounds and bullets. Trespassing is a violation and extreme hunters and hounders require disciplinary action. Safety comes first and the public needs to be aware of how unsafe and unsettling life can be and how wildlife is treated and tormented in northern WI. Eventually, the wild in northern Wisconsin will deteriorate and evolve into an over developed, deforested, polluted, unnatural disaster. While Legislators ‘friend’ greedy developers, energy extractors and factory farmers and ‘unfriend’ public opinion, they continue to move forward with destructive environmental Bills which will deplete our natural resources and transform our forests, public lands and waterways into a pile of profit. Wisconsin is for sale and a more appropriate slogan might be; Escape Wisconsin.

Guest Blog: Danger On Our Public Lands

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

This is the first in what we hope is a series of guest blogs from Northern Wisconsin residents that are under siege by the bloodthirsty hounders, trappers, baiters, and predator killers that have taken over YOUR public lands. The name of the writer is being withheld due to protect them from the vicious and vile attacks that those we fight against are known for.

Danger on Our Public Lands

Wisconsin spends a great deal of tax payer money promoting our State Parks, the Ice Age Trail and our beautiful Natural Areas for fall and winter activities. A State Natural Area or Preserve was the peaceful setting last month where Dr. Deanna and her dogs were enjoying the beauty and solitude of a Wisconsin winter evening on a hiking trail. But her peace and her life were shattered forever by gun shots from a coyote hunter at close range that killed both of her beloved dogs. There was nothing natural about the events that took place that evening. It was a manmade disaster waiting to happen. Dr. Deanna’s life will never be the same and she is lucky she didn’t die that night right alongside her two dogs. To add insult to injury, this is being called an “unfortunate hunting accident” by the DNR and no charges were filed while some hunters are blaming the victim for just “being out there”.

One man already died this year when he was gunned down by coyote hound hunters as he stood in his own yard a crossed the road from public land in broad daylight. http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/la-crosse-coyote-hunter-to-stand-trial-in-shooting-death/article_4204a04b-5173-5e33-98ab-6bd0c86987ca.html

In 2015 at least seven family dogs were shot by predator hunters with no charges filed and not a full month into 2016 there have been three family dogs shot by coyote hunters. We will never know the countless numbers of pets that just go missing because they were shot or caught in traps because most are never reported. We do hear of some cases like the young dog that was recently brought into a shelter up north missing his entire front foot. He foot was later found, broken bones and foot sticking out of a trap set to catch coyotes.  Or the dog that was shot and killed with an arrow by a bow hunter. And from the dog sledder whose dog stepped off the groomed trail and was caught in a trap while he was still attached to the sled. Also the women who used to love taking her dogs for walks along the Ice Age Trail until the day she found over a dozen traps baited with marshmallows lining the side of the trail. And who can forget the dog that died in her owner’s arms after being caught in a deadly conibear trap while walking on public land. These incidents appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.

A recent article promoting our Natural Areas  http://www.wiscnews.com/news/local/article_05ed1bef-ca92-5676-98d0-08fe031945fe.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share also said the state allows deer hunting there to keep the deer population down. Deer season is a time when most citizens give up their public lands to the hunters but there is a false sense of security and safety after that season ends. While the state is busy promoting the “get out there and enjoy the wonders, the beauty and the winter activities our great state has to offer “ they have completely ignored the safety risk the public takes every time they step on to a hiking trail or go for a walk in the woods.  Predator hunting/trapping begins in earnest right after deer season and continues into the spring. If they are worried about deer overpopulation why are they killing predators in our National Forests, State Parks and Natural Areas? Wouldn’t you think if nature were left alone in these areas it would find a balance? Can we assume it’s not balance they look for but instead it’s about providing wildlife to be killed for sport? But that’s another story.

In Wisconsin there is only a month or so in the very early spring when hunting/trapping isn’t allowed and it’s actually safe for you, your family and pets to be out there. Bear baiting starts April 1st where Four to Five Million Gallons of sugar bait is used to habituate bears and cubs to bait sites in preparation for the bear hound training season starting July 1st . Continuing all summer into the fall bear killing season an estimated 13 thousand bear hounds along with  hound hunters from across the US take over our National, State & County Forests.  So our wildlife gets no reprieve and there is precious little time when it’s safe for you or your pets to be out there. Baited traps are set on roadsides, hiking/nature trails and state parks all fall and winter for fox, coyotes & bobcats. Coyote hunting, hounding, hound training, trapping and coyote killing contests are allowed day and NIGHT throughout most of the year on public lands.

Instead of our Legislators wasting their time and our money passing laws about pink hunting cloths for little girls, trying to make it legal for a toddler to hunt with his own gun or carry a switchblade, taking away back tags so violators can’t get caught, making it a crime to even look at or document a hunter/poacher or appearing on public radio espousing fear tactics to push their wolf killing political agenda http://www.wrn.com/2016/02/wisconsin-lawmaker-worried-about-unchecked-wolf-population/

They should be holding public hearings and take a good long look at the dangerous human safety crisis the DNR and Legislators have created. They are promoting summer, fall and winter activities for the public while they allow virtually unregulated hunting/trapping all at the same time, all on the same public lands. Call your Legislators and demand an investigation and public hearings. It’s likely the NRA, FORCE & Bear Hunters Association lobbies will strongly oppose ANY investigation or public hearings on this matter. After all most of them lobbied for: switchblades, toddlers with guns, pink for girls, opening state trails and parks to hunting/trapping with unlimited hounds and unlimited bait and a long list of other laws that are truly lacking in common sense safety protections for the rest of us. So we can assume these very same Lobbies will put up as many road blocks as they can against anyone who wants to look into this but call or email your legislators anyway. We should not have to fear for our lives, the lives of our children or our pets while we enjoy our public lands. Something needs to change but it cannot and will not change without public support.

There is also a petition you can sign if you think the killer of Dr. Deanna’s’ dogs should be held accountable. At the very least we can send a clear message to hunters that being reckless with their fire arms does carry  consequences:  https://www.change.org/p/ismael-r-ozanne-dane-county-district-attorney-s-office-prosecute-the-wisconsin-coyote-hunter-who-killed-two-dogs?recruiter=33845716&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-no_src-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

 

Name withheld for concerns of retribution.

Announcing Hound Free Public Lands- Wisconsin

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It’s been a couple of months since I have done a blog post and there is a good reason for that. Myself and other wildlife advocates have started a new project called Hound Free Public Lands- Wisconsin  and we are working to turn the Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife blog into an outlet for frustrated residents of Northern Wisconsin and other areas under siege by hounders, trappers, and baiters to be able to express themselves without fear of retribution.

We invite you to “like” our new Hound Free Public Lands- Wisconsin Facebook page and keep an eye out for the expansion of the movement to educate the general public about what really occurs in our woods and on YOUR public lands. Please like our new page here:

Hound Free Public Lands- Wisconsin

Our movement is growing and we invite you to join us in this.