How is Breeding, Raising, and Releasing Non-Native Birds to be Killed, “Conservation?”

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Female and male Chinese ringneck pheasants. These are the type of birds that are raised and released by the Wisconsin DNR for “hunter opportunity.” Photo via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most ridiculously framed arguments that the killing cartels use to justify their wanton bloodlust is that if they don’t kill wildlife, they will die. Yes that is their chief argument along with a myriad of other absurd statements. The modern “great white hunter” would lead you to believe that they are doing you a “favor” by killing millions upon millions of animals each and every year. They will also tell you they “fund conservation” through their meager killing license fees. Another fallacy. The money from those killing licenses go to fund the agencies that exist only to provide more killing opportunity. Why do I say this? Each year in Wisconsin an untold number of hand-raised and fed non-native Asian ring-neck pheasants are bred, raised, and released by the Wisconsin DNR at taxpayer expense with one goal in mind. That goal is to provide living targets to help satiate the bloodlust of the modern “great white hunter.” A question that seems elusive here is, how does raising tens of thousands of NON-NATIVE Asian birds bred only to be shot have anything to do with “conservation?” It doesn’t despite what the Wisconsin DNR and killing cartels will tell you. The state of Wisconsin has made the breeding of this non-native species of pheasant into a money maker for them to “produce” more and more birds only for the purpose of being blown out of the sky or off the ground by “great white hunters” and their shotguns strictly for “recreation.” The Wisconsin DNR, by providing facilities, staff, and taxpayer money is in the canned “hunting” business and has been for a very long time.

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Screenshot from the Wisconsin DNR Facebook page.

The DNR and killing cartels will tell you that this is “conservation” in action. I ask what exactly is being “conserved” other than the money being brought in by the “hunters” waiting at pheasant release sites with dog and shotgun in hand? In my view there is nothing even remotely related to “conservation” with this program and it exists to further exploit the sick and twisted blood cult that “hunting” in Wisconsin has become. There aren’t enough WILD animals to kill in Wisconsin? There aren’t enough “hunter opportunities” when there is one killing “season” or another open for 365 days a year? Apparently not enough to satiate that good old Wisconsin “heritage” of recreational killing. Of course should this surprise anyone? The DNR, like every other state or federal killing agency, likes to pretend that their obsession with killing, killing, and killing some more is all just “wholesome family fun” and “conservation.” If their world animals are not born, they are “produced.” In their world animals do not grow up, they are “recruited.” In their world animals are not killed, they are “harvested,” or in the most recent example of fluffing up the act of killing they are a “target animal reduced to possession.”

Kill, kill, kill some more, and if there isn’t enough to kill, the Wisconsin DNR will just “produce” more non-native animals for you to kill. Excuse me. I meant for you to “reduce to possession. As I have asked before: How is this “conservation?”

 

The NRA Wants “War” Against Animal Advocates….Bring it On

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Image from rationalwiki.org.

When not shilling for money on the backs of ruthlessly murdered grade school children or giving dystopian filled fear mongering speeches about the dangers of the “left wing” to “real” Americans, the gun industry/far right front group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has decided to “declare war” against animal advocates.

From the article:

The gun group is rolling out a new ad campaign geared toward hunters, a segment of firearm owners whose concerns have been eclipsed as the NRA transformed into a political powerhouse and threw its weight behind fights over self-defense and access to weapons. To sway its audience, the NRA is deploying its favorite tactic. It is trying to scare them.

“To save hunting, you must understand the terms of the battle,” a landing page for the campaign reads. “Because the animal rights extremists fighting to destroy hunting have an even more destructive goal: the systematic diminishment of humanity itself.”

The ad campaign consists of 10 videos paired with essays, featuring appearances and bylines by notable hunters and outdoorsmen like David Draper, a well-known writer for Field & Stream magazine. Put together, the package paints a picture of a world where hunting is under threat by animal rights activists.

I find it quite amazing how one minute killing cartels like the NRA and their members label animal advocates as “bunny huggers” or “snowflakes” while in the next breath compare us to terrorists like Al Qaeda.

From the article:

The NRA handed off Weaver’s hunting outreach duties to Josh Powell, now the national spokesman for NRA Hunting, who is not shy about being political.

“We are in the middle of a war,” he says in one of the campaign’s videos, before comparing tangling with organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society to “dealing with Al Qaeda.”

I can’t name any wildlife advocates that affiliate with PETA and even fewer that agree with their belief system. Actually it seems to me that the NRA and the famous chickenhawks that lead them or sit on their board are once again using fear and division to raise money. This kind of inflammatory rhetoric and calls for “war” against animal advocates may very well raise a lot of money but not in the way that they think. Calling millions of people “terrorists” and comparing them to international terror outfits hasn’t worked to well for other far right zealots, has it? In fact, as a veteran, I have a real problem with an organization with cowardly draft dodgers at the helm calling myself and others in the animal advocacy movement “terrorists.”

We are not the ones using FEAR to raise money. We are not the ones using FEAR to pass anti-free speech laws at the behest of “affiliate groups.” We are not the ones using FEAR to push for the eradication of imperiled predator species like wolves and grizzlies in Congress and through the courts. We aren’t the ones using FEAR to make every rube believe that over the last eight years the “scary black man” in the White House was going to knock on your door and take your precious guns. Instilling FEAR is a component of TERROR thus leading to terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic most often used to achieve political gain. Remind me again who look like the REAL “terrorists” here? It sure isn’t the millions of animal advocates. Could it instead be the behemoth gun industry/far right front group that uses FEAR to rake in the dollars?

Pot meet kettle NRA. It’s actually quite pathetic that these big tough, rugged, and “patriotic” Americans are so scared of the little snowflake bunny huggers like myself and the millions of other animal advocates. I guess they better just go buy more guns………

 

Man That Tortured Three Coyotes With a Snowmobile in 2009 Received $5000 in 2016 for “Hound Depredations”

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Coyote photo via Wikimedia Commons

Last week I wrote about a hounder by the name of Michael Wood from Amery, Wisconsin that received $5000 from the Wisconsin DNR in 2016 for two hounds that were allegedly killed by wolves. In the post we pointed out that a subject with the same name out of Amery had a conviction on three counts of intentionally mistreating animals in 2009 out of Bayfield County.

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Screenshot of OPEN RECORD from the Wisconsin Court System Circuit Court Access 

Upon further research we found that the same subject was also under open charges for poaching a bear and resisting a warden in September of 2016, two months after the alleged “depredation” of his hounds.

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Screenshot of OPEN RECORD from the Wisconsin Court System Circuit Court Access 

Through an open records request we were able to obtain the original criminal complaint for the 2009 incident that Wood was convicted of and it is even more horrifying than we imagined.

From the criminal complaint:

Complainant is a Conservation Warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. She makes this complaint on information and belief from the records and reports collected and maintained in the ordinary course of business. On Friday, February 20, 2009 at approximately 4:41 p.m. Egstad was at the Bayfield DNR Office when she received a phone call concerning a snowmobiler chasing what the caller thought to be a wolf on the ice of Lake Superior on Bark Bay, west of Cornucopia in the Town of Bell, Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Egstad left the office and proceeded towards the site of the complainant. Egstad spoke by phone with Dan and Sharon Sheldon who stated that they had watched one person on an orange snowmobile chase around what they believed to be a wolf on the ice at Bark Bay and had hit the animal with his snowmobile. They observed the person pick up the animal and drive to the Bark Bay point boat landing. They stated that they had observed the snowmobiler chase the animal for 30 minutes at least and hit the animal a couple of times with the snowmobile. At approximately the same time Egstad was contacted by Mark Hanson, Bayfield Department of Natural Resources Creel Clerk who stated that he had observed a snowmobiler chasing coyotes and hitting them as well as picking them up when they were laying on the ice. Hanson stated that he had taken digital photos of the pick-up truck that the snowmobiler was driving. The plate of the vehicle came back registered to Michael J. Wood of Amery, Wisconsin, the defendant herein. Egstad had previously been advised that the truck in question was at a residence in the area. Egstad went to the location and met with Michael Wood. Egstad was advised by Wood that he had been out fishing on the ice during the day and had gotten three coyotes that were in his trailer. Egstad asked Wood how he had gotten the coyotes and Wood stated that he had shot them with his .22. Egstad observed the coyotes and believed them to be suffering from much more damage than if they had been shot with a .22. Wood denied using his snowmobiles to hit the coyotes but admitted to following them until they were tired and then shot them. Egstad observed Wood’s snowmobile and the track and belly pan had blood under the front end skis and track consistent with the animals having been run over. Egstad seized the three coyotes and subsequently had them skinned. No bullet hole was found in the carcass or skin or coyote number one, however, major trauma was located throughout the body. Coyote number two was also skinned and again evidence of severe trauma was located, however no bullet hole was observed. Coyote number three showed severe trauma throughout the body, however, trauma was also located in a restricted area near the location of one bullet hole.

Download the entire criminal complaint:

Michael Wood Criminal Complaint 2009

This person received $5000 of taxpayer money for two separate hound “depredation” incidents in 2016 despite having this type of history. Then two months after the “depredations,” Wood allegedly poached a bear and is also charged for resisting a warden. Did this stop the DNR from this year paying out the $5000 for 2016 AFTER the new charges were filed? No it did not. Once again we have not only a convicted criminal being rewarded for TWO separate incidents where his hounds were allegedly killed by wolves, but he still receives the payment from the DNR after allegedly poaching a bear and resisting a warden. This guy tortured three coyotes with a snowmobile and was convicted for it. Then he allegedly poaches a bear and resists a warden. Is it any surprise that he is also a hounder that recklessly puts his dogs in danger and gets two of them killed? That sure doesn’s surprise me.

Have we had enough yet Wisconsin? Contact your state legislators and tell them ENOUGH of this scam and ENOUGH of rewarding reckless hounders and convicted criminals for their behavior.

Find your legislators HERE

 

 

Guest Blog: What happens in the woods should not stay in the woods…the secret must be told

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What is the secret?

Baiting bears begins April 15th and continues until bear hunting season ends around mid-October. Baiting is allowed in Wisconsin 145 days before the bear hunting season begins. This means unlimited bait sites, 10 gallons per site, to total six months of junk food to condition bears each and every year. Anyone may bait bears as long as they are not fed for viewing purposes. Baiting is also used to train bear hounds beginning July 1st. Packs of up to six, usually GPS-collared hounds, are used for dog training by releasing them at bait sites. In 2016; 41 hounds were killed; mostly by wolves as hounds were released at bait sites to chase bears. Wolves also bring their three to four month-old pups to bait stations that are often near their rendezvous sites. Protective wolf parents often are forced to attack marauding hounds to protect their pups. Wisconsin is the only state which compensates hounders for hounds killed by wolves. Each hound death amounts to a $2500 payout for the hounder along with any veterinary fees for injured hounds. Wolves are often targeted with very real threats of retaliation from bear hounders for the deaths of their hounds despite the monetary compensation. Hounding bears began in Wisconsin in the 1960’s. No license is needed to hound bears in Wisconsin. No permit is needed to bait bears in Wisconsin. Michigan also hounds and baits, but in 2015 only five hounds were killed in Michigan compared to 23 in Wisconsin. An MTU study was even done to sort this disparity out. The conclusion was the number of hounding days allowed, excessive baiting days, and the generous reimbursement created the difference and likely exacerbated the conflicts between hounds and wolves.

So how does this affect me?

Baiting has already to come to your neck of the woods. You just might not be aware of it. Baiting is allowed throughout most of the state even in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Each baiter averages 437.4 gallons of donuts, frosting, pie filling, jam etc. in a season. Spread that around Wisconsin and you have a lot of bait spread over our public and many private lands. 4.6 MILLION gallons worth.

Do other animals feed at bear baiting sites?

Deer, raccoon and other animals have been documented feeding at these bait sites. Congregating wildlife increases the risk of disease transmission and human scents becomes associated with food causing wild animals to lose their natural wariness. Other concerning factors related to baiting include law enforcement receiving complaints of nuisance bears, trespassing hounds (often miles ahead of the hounders), baying hounds at night, and abandoned hounds. Mother bears often do not bring their cubs to bait sites and bear cubs may be orphaned as their mothers flee packs hounds. The bears are often running miles for several hours in the heat of summer. The mother bear may never be able to return to her cubs potentially causing the orphans to die of starvation.

Is it possible to for wildlife advocates and hunters to agree on a bear baiting resolution limiting days of baiting & number of bait sites?

Yes, there is! A resolution limiting baiters to 3 permitted sites; with baiting 30 days prior to bear hunting season was passed at the Jackson County Spring Conservation Congress hearing. 48 voted for the resolution with nine voting against. Most of the voters were hunters including some bear hunters. Jackson County is rural with a wide array of wildlife including bear, wolves, and elk. If the resolution were to be passed by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) bear committee it would then be placed on the 2018 Spring Conservation Congress ballot to be voted on. The resolution itself is not a victory, but it does serve to draw attention the impact that bear baiting is having on Wisconsin.

Does the Wisconsin Conservation Congress have the ability to make policy changes?

I have attended the Spring WCC meetings for around  20 years. I have vied for the position of a WCC delegate four times and was not elected. I have proposed two resolutions which have passed. I view this as my opportunity to represent the voiceless of Wisconsin-our wildlife. The WCC is a citizen advisory board to the DNR. They are tasked to represent Wisconsin ALL residents regarding matters of wildlife, land, air, and water. Unfortunately, the annual WCC hearings are very poorly attended by citizens other than hunters, trappers, and fisherman. Most questions voted upon are meant to enhance fishing, trapping, and hunting opportunities with WCC delegates most often representing the above listed special interest groups. A resolution voted for in the Spring Hearing will be taken under consideration by two WCC committees, the DNR, the Natural Resources Board, and finally may be subject to legislative action. When a proposal reaches the level of legislative action Wisconsin has a history of allowing undue influence from lobbyists representing but not limited to various hunting groups such as The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the NRA, and big agriculture entities such as the Farm Bureau Federation among others. Change does not come easy.

How many states allow bear baiting?

Bear baiting is illegal in 40 states. Bears are hunted in 27 states; 17 states allow hounding, and seven states including Wisconsin allow both hounding and baiting. Michigan allows three bait sites per hunter with baiting occurring 11 to 30 days prior to the bear hunting season. Minnesota allows baiting 14 days before the hunting season at three permitted sites per bear hunter and does not allow hounding. In recent studies only 27 percent of Americans approve of hunting over bait. It is also believed baiting increases bear litter size.

So, what can I do about it?

We are at a tipping point in Wisconsin with a greater number of bears, baiters, hounds, and bear hunters on the ground than ever before. People need to tell everyone that they know what is really allowed here in Wisconsin. Talk to your local DNR wardens and legislators. You can also contact Dave MacFarland, the DNR’s carnivore specialist at 715-365-8919 regarding questions about ho Wisconsin “manages” predators.  Many residents and even hunters are unaware of the baiting situation. Perhaps when a comment is made about a bear roaming around a city or backyard let people know bears are baited for six months of the year and may be looking to keep that reliable food source coming. Maybe you will hear someone sickened by the hounds that are killed by wolves. That would be a prime opportunity to let them know the wolves side of the story. Perhaps deer hunters are lamenting over deer baiting bans. Try to make them aware that despite deer bait bans that bear hunters are still allowed to bait despite documentation that deer will appear at bear bait sites. The secret must be told…

Diane Cain is a small business owner, registered nurse, and a strong advocate for our wildlife and wild lands. Diane grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm and currently lives on a small farm of her own.