Wildlife in Crisis: Wisconsin Doubles Bobcat Kill Quota and The Lack of Democracy in “Wildlife Management”

Bobcat_sitting_in_tree

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m sure that all of you hear or read daily the time tested propaganda about how the killing cartels claim that “hunters” are “conservationists” and “fund conservation.” You also hear how non-hunters don’t “fund” anything. Not only are these claims greatly embellished, they are also patently false. Not once have I ever heard a non-hunter refuse to pay into the conservation system that land-wise we already mostly fund through our tax dollars. The only thing that killing license fees pay for, especially in Wisconsin, are the agencies that exist solely to create “hunter opportunity” despite platitudes about “managing” wildlife for ALL citizens. Paying for agencies that farm non-native wildlife to be killed is not “conservation” and frankly it’s completely disingenuous to claim otherwise.

The most recent example of fake “conservation” is how the Wisconsin DNR has decided to DOUBLE the kill quota of the state’s bobcat population. Once again the DNR has relied on the selfish wants and bloodlust of the killing cartels and the general public has had ZERO say in this decision. At last estimate there were believed to be around 2300 bobcats in Wisconsin. This year hounders and trappers will be able to kill off at least one-third of the estimated population. Is it because bobcats are threatening grandchildren at bus stops like the anti-wolf zealots claim wolves are? Is it because bobcats are “eating all the deer” as the anti-wolf zealots falsely claim wolves are doing? Of course not. It’s so the skins of these animals can be sold to “fur buyers” and shipped to the wildlife black holes like China and Russia. In other words it’s very likely that these bobcat skins will end up in China or Russia and  made into “luxury” vanity clothing that often sells for between $50,000 and $100,000.

img_4717

Yes this sick blood trade still exists in Wisconsin and across the nation with a vast number of animal skins ending up in China or Russia. Notice how the DNR refers to trappers as “fur harvesters” as if the hounded, bludgeoned, drowned, crushed, or poisoned animal grew out of the ground like corn or soybeans.

From a news article about the doubling of the bobcat killing quota:

Bobcat population estimate research is led by Dr. Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.

“DNR works closely with trappers and hunters to learn more about this elusive, but common, species – together, we are working to refine our understanding of Wisconsin’s bobcat population and are finding that Wisconsin’s bobcat population is healthy and robust enough to provide additional harvest opportunities,” Roberts said. “The information we gather from ongoing research efforts will be used to update population models and continue to guide harvest quotas in the future.”

Notice what is missing from this quote? Not one mention of non-killing groups or persons being involved in the decision. Not one mention of scientists or biologists from outside of the DNR having any input into this decision. None of this comes as a surprise. The Wisconsin DNR, like many “fish and game” agencies in the United States are the very antithesis of democracy and often their statutory obligations to work for ALL citizens. Instead of asking the 87 percent of Wisconsin citizens who don’t recreationally kill wildlife if they are okay with one-third of the estimated bobcat population to be trapped, hounded, and killed all in the span of three months, the DNR just took the word of the trappers and hounders who seek to kill and profit off of the dead cats. Of course they don’t ask us or allow is to participate in these decisions because despite statutory obligations and wildlife being in the “public trust,” they only work for their “customers” and those whose killing license fees pay for the DNR’s operations. Every time non-recreational killing citizens have tried to change this funding mechanism we have been immediately blocked or our proposals have been shot down. Why is that? It’s because if we are allowed to help fund wildlife “management” in this state we would be obligated to have a “seat at the table” for “management” decisions. There is no way that the politically powerful killing special interests like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, various deer hunting groups, and the deceptively named hunter/trapper/hounder front group the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation would allow a non-killing voice to have any say in how wildlife is “managed” here in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

A recent study produced some very interesting poll results about who the real conservationists are in the United States. Despite the killing cartels staking claim to being “conservationists” this study by three very well regarded wildlife/environmental scientists casts major doubt on that claim shows who the real conservationists likely are.

The lack of responsiveness by wildlife agencies to animal welfare interests is not surprising. Wildlife professionals often view conservation and animal rights as antagonistic (Schmidt 1990, Muth and Jamison 2000). The Wildlife Society’s standing position statement, Animal Rights Philosophy and Wildlife Conservation, describes the conflict between animal rights and wildlife conservation as “profound.”

Yet, that antagonistic view does not seem to be shared by the general public — or even by most self-identified conservationists, as the results of our recent survey show. We polled more than 1,200 adults via KnowledgePanel, a representative online panel of U.S. residents recruited to take part in survey research. We asked them to indicate the extent to which they identified as hunters, conservationists and animal rights advocates. Although a plurality (37 percent) self-identified as both conservationists and animal rights advocates, far fewer (27 percent) self-identified as both conservationists and hunters. Those identifying as conservationists were more likely to identify as animal rights advocates (r = 0.52) than as hunters (r = 0.26).

Animal Rights and Conservation: Conflicting or Compatible? (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318275505_Animal_Rights_and_Conservation_Conflicting_or_Compatible [accessed Jul 31, 2017].

While I personally do not identify as an “animal rights advocate” and prefer to be considered an “animal protectionist/environmental preservationist” this study outlines what many of us in this movement have known all along. This is that killing is NOT conservation and many who participate in modern “hunting,” trapping, and hounding are the antithesis of what “conservation” is supposed to be. The very idea that recreational killing somehow fosters a spirit of “conservation” and protecting “sustainable” wildlife populations is absurd. To me that is like saying that promiscuous sex promotes abstinence. The same absurdity is at play with how the word “conservation” has been co-opted and redefined by the killing special interests and the politicians and agencies under their thumb. Agencies like the Wisconsin DNR have turned our lands into giant “game farms” for favored species and only seek to further artificially inflate those populations to appease Wisconsin’s never satisfied “sportsmen” no matter the impact on the ecosystem and the future survival of individual species. Killing off over one-third of a wildlife population in one “season” flies directly in the face of what the word “conserve” means. It is also absurd that living and breathing creatures are labeled as a “resource” and that those killing them are allowed to profit off of OUR PUBLIC “resources.” Enough is enough.

Bringing Democracy to Wildlife Management

It’s time to bring democracy to how wildlife is “managed” in Wisconsin and around the nation. These agencies, state legislatures, and the boards overseeing them are clearly discriminating against non-killing individuals and groups that have an interest in how wildlife is “managed” in this state. If you are in or near Madison and want to have a conversation about how we can bring democracy to openly undemocratic institutions like the Wisconsin DNR, please consider attending this FREE event on Thursday August 3rd in Madison.

dnr-event-image

 

This is a discussion that needs to be had. Please consider attending and add your voice to the rising call for democracy in how wildlife is “managed.”

Advertisements

Hounder Free For All: Wisconsin’s Wildlife Hell Is Worse Than We Thought

USFWS Photo of black bear.

For decades the State of Wisconsin has been waging a war on our native wildlife and using hounds as four legged weapons. Even though the use of hounds against wildlife, particularly bears, has only been legal for a few decades it somehow has been warped into being considered “heritage” and “tradition” by the Wisconsin DNR and stake killing groups. For a signifiant portion of each year our public lands, particularly our federally owned national forests, are over run with a violent subset of the “hunting” community and thousands of bloodthirsty hounds. This same violent subset of the “hunting” community is also responsible for dumping at least 4.6 MILLION GALLONS of stale junk food, used cooking grease/oil, and toxic blocks of chocolate as “bait” for six months of each year beginning in April and used to condition bear and other wildlife to human food sources. In fact a recent study showed that an average bear receives 40 percent of their yearly food sources from this “bait.” Despite this the Wisconsin DNR refuses to make any changes to the duration of the baiting “season” or what type of bait is allowed.

“The agency is not likely to recommend changes to bear hunting tactics. It’s also not known at this point how much appetite the public has for change.”

I would say that if “the public” had any idea about what is allowed to really allowed you can bet that there is quite the “appetite” for change.

That isn’t even the most concerning thing that we discovered recently. This is posted in the Wisconsin DNR’s 2017 Bear Hunting Regulations:

img_4697

“Bear shooting/ dog training hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 20 minutes after sunset.”

After reporting several instances of Wisconsin hounders chasing and treeing bears late at night and in the early morning hours we were told by a Wisconsin DNR Warden today that no matter what the pamphlet states, hounders are allowed to go after bears 24/7 with no restrictions from July 1st until the killing season begins in September despite it being illegal to “hunt” or hound bears at night during the killing season. So why can hounders “train” their dogs to chase and attack bears at night during the “training season” despite those not being allowed during the killing seasons? Isn’t “training” supposed to “train” the dogs to do what they are allowed to do during the killing season meaning during the day? We also raised concerns about social media posts showing not only night hounding but also hounders chasing and treeing sows with cubs despite this being illegal during the killing season. While it is allegedly illegal during the killing season to kill a sow with cubs hounders are allowed to chase both mercilessly during “hound training” season once again 24/7 with no restrictions. Once again we were told that the “rules and regulations” are not “correct” despite being posted online and in physical form for years. This reads quite clearly if you ask me. Is the DNR giving false information in their “rules and regulations” or are their wardens refusing to enforce hounder violations?

img_4699

Black bear sows and their small cubs, like these, are allowed to be chased by hounds 24/7 during the hound “training” season in Wisconsin. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In other words the abomination known as “hound training” season is a legal free for all where hounders can let their dogs chase, fight, harass, and otherwise rampage though our woods for over two months with ZERO permit requirement or ZERO restrictions other than they allegedly cannot allow their hounds to kill a wild animal “without DNR permission.” You read that right. Animal/dog fighting is perfectly legal in Wisconsin and it is all written into law or there are no laws in place forbidding it. The state considers all of this to be “heritage” and “conservation.”

We have a real problem here in Wisconsin. Despite all of the blather from bought and paid for elected officials and paid “hunting” group lobbyists about this sick form of “recreation” being “heritage,” “conservation,” and “fair chase” it is none of those things. If these people carried out in a city to domestic animals what they are allowed to do to wild animals if would instantly be condemned as dog fighting, they would brought up on charges, and made pariahs in the media. Because this is happening in our woods to wild animals and they hide under the banner of “heritage” and being “sportsmen,” this is protected under law and lauded as “heritage” and “conservation” by disingenuous politicians and the special interests that own them. What exactly is the difference between a dog fighting ring in an urban area and the legal animal fighting that is allowed in our forests and rural areas? On top of that if a wolf allegedly kills one of these hounds the hounder gets paid $2500 for each dead hound by the state. What is wrong with this picture?

What we have here is a sadistic free for all for legal animal fighters from across the nation and a supplemental feeding free for all to artificially inflate the bear population and condition them to human food. No permit is required and the “regulations” that are posted apparently aren’t really “regulations” at all according to the DNR warden that we spoke with today. Here are a few questions to ponder:

What the hell is going on in this state and why aren’t more people aware that this is occurring?

Are the majority of state citizens really okay with these practices and the lack of regulation and enforcement?

How do we fight back and make our fellow citizens aware of what a small but violent subset of “hunters” are allowed to get away with?

Do so-called “ethical” hunters support or condone this behavior?

Why do the hounders and their paid lobbyists have so much sway and power in this state?

Why are clearly written rules and regulations NOT enforced or claimed by those tasked with enforcing them to not be correct?

These are just some questions that need to be answered in this state about why these sick practices are protected and allowed to continue. The more that we learn the more horrifying that it becomes. Is this what we really are all about Wisconsin? A recent letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal by Bill Stokes of Mazomaine summed this up best:

Wisconsin citizens need to put down their brats and beer long enough to do away with this outrage. Call, write, march, yell and scream. Show that Wisconsin decency is above manipulation by a small group of insensitive, special-interest hounders.

We could not have said it better ourselves.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Wisconsin’s Right to Hunt Act

This is HUGE and only the beginning. See you in court Adam Jarchow, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Wolf Patrol

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 2.14.32 PM 7/15/17: Wisconsin bear hunter citing Right to Hunt Act as evidence that Wolf Patrol has no right to film his activities on public lands.

Animal Legal Defense Fund Lawsuit Takes Wisconsin to Court for Violating First Amendment

Contact:
Natalia Lima, 201-679-7088, nlima@aldf.org

MADISON, Wis. – Today the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal court aiming to strike down a recently amended Wisconsin statute which bans photographing, videotaping, approaching or even “maintaining a visual or physical proximity” to a hunter. The organization argues the law unconstitutionally restricts free speech and violates the First Amendment.

Today’s lawsuit claims the law’s restrictions violate the First Amendment – the same constitutional rights two federal judges ruled had been violated by Idaho’s and Utah’s Ag-Gag statutes. Just like these Ag-Gag laws, the Wisconsin statute at issue in today’s lawsuit is unconstitutional for suppressing speech critical of animal exploitation.

“The First Amendment guarantees…

View original post 327 more words

Senator Tammy Baldwin: Anti-Wolf and Pro-Lead Poisoning Bill Supporter

My Approved Portraits

Anti-wolf Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. Photo via Wikipedia.

I am sure that I am not the only person who has been feeling a foreboding sense of doom and despair for what the future holds for wildlife in Wisconsin and beyond. The mere existence of wildlife today is almost exclusively for the killing opportunities that they provide with little to no credence given to the entire ecosystem. State like Wisconsin only view wildlife as a “resource” to be “harvested” for “hunter opportunity.” Those of us who desire for wildlife to have safe havens and unmolested existence from human interference have no say at any level of government in Wisconsin and beyond. State and federal “fish and wildlife” agencies have decided that wildlife is only allowed to exist as a “resource” to appease the bloodthirsty killing cartels and their existence is often only allowed based on what kind of “trophy” they can provide recreational killers. Now we can once again add congressional “Democrats” to the list of those seeking to wage war against our wildlife.

There was a time when those of us in the wildlife advocacy and environmental movements thought that we had allies in the Democratic Party. Oh how those times have changed. Starting with the infamous 2011 “budget rider” supported by President Obama and a significant number of congressional Democrats that forced a delisting of the gray wolf in the wildlife hostile northern Rockies states, the Democratic Party showed that bedrock environmental laws and imperiled species were no longer off limits for “political gain.” Taking this one step farther so-called “Democrats” like Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Cardin and the DINO (Democrat in Name Only) of all DINO’s, Colin Peterson of MN, have been waging an all out legislative war on wolves, the Endangered Species Act, and a myriad of other laws designed to protect wildlife and wild habitat. Their latest assault on wolves and wildlife comes in the form of a deceptively named bill called The Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act. By “hunting heritage” they mean further weakening the Wilderness Act by opening more areas to recreational killing and to make recreational killing a priority on federal land. That also means allowing for easier “hunter access” which will inevitably lead to building roads and other destructive practices on sensitive wild lands all so the Elmer Fudd’s of the nation don’t actually have to walk to kill their “trophy.” While that is disturbing enough what the bill contains regarding wildlife is frankly horrifying and shows what the modern Democratic Party has become. The bill, of course, forces a congressional delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes and blocks American citizens from exercising our right to challenge our government in court. If that isn’t enough the bill next blocks any and all federal regulation of lead fishing equipment despite the countless number of wildlife that are poisoned by these implements each and every day, week, and year. Nice to see that Democrats are now pro-lead poisoning. I wonder how the people of Flint Michigan will feel about that? Next the bill gives cover to bird poaching farmers that illegally place bait to kill said birds. Yes you read that right. The bill then requires shooting ranges to be built or expanded on the taxpayer dime on public land. In other words this bill is anti-wolf, anti-Endangered Species Act, pro-poaching, pro-lead poisoning, and anti-Wilderness Act. How very “progressive” of “Democrats” to support a bill so vile.

Where exactly does this bill “HELP” wildlife? By gutting the ESA? No. By keeping toxic lead from birds, fish, and other wildlife? No. By weakening the Wilderness Act? No. By protecting big ag poachers? No. So where exactly is wildlife going to be “helped?” The answer is nowhere at all. The bill “reauthorizes” a couple of symbolic “acts” without appropriating any money for their funding. What this bill is in reality is just another in the long line of attacks on the Endangered Species Act and our other bedrock environmental laws in the hopes that the anti-wolf and far right rural voters of states like Wisconsin will vote for the senators, like Baldwin, who are supporting it. Quite telling is how there is ZERO mention of this bill on Baldwin’s Facebook page and the release on her website, while bragging about forcing a delisting of wolves and blocking judicial review, does not mention one word about the pro-lead poisoning elements of this sick bill. She sure seems proud of helping Wisconsin to once again eradicate wolves and block the rights of citizens to challenge this in court.

Senator Baldwin should be ashamed of herself to support such an attack on endangered species and our environment. It apparently makes zero difference to her that this bill allows hostile states like Wisconsin to practice legal dog fighting against wolves 24/7/365 and allows the state to kill off the population to a token number or potentially eradication at the behest of the politically powerful anti-wolf groups like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association. It also apparently makes little difference to her that more wildlife will suffer excruciating deaths from lead poisoning because for some inexplicable reason modern fishermen are too lazy or arrogant to stop using lead when other alternatives exist. How “progressive” of her. Baldwin’s support of this bill should infuriate anyone that supports wildlife, wild lands, and protecting species from toxic substances.

Frankly I am utterly disgusted at Baldwin and this only reaffirms my decision not to vote for her in 2018. While I won’t vote for a GOPer I will also not vote for Baldwin. She has made it quite clear that she would rather sell out individual species and environmental protections to pander to the anti-wolf, anti-environmental, big ag, and killing cartel crowds. This is NOT someone that deserves my vote or the vote of any wildlife advocate. But that is your decision. Baldwin may gain the vote of an anti-wolf farmer or two but she has lost mine and that of several other wildlife advocates. I wonder if it will be worth the trade off? Remember this the next time that someone tries to call Senator Baldwin a “progressive.” How is allowing states to wipe out a species again and promoting lead poisoning “progressive” in any way, shape, or form? Sounds rather regressive to me and like something that would come from the current party in power not from what used to be the Democratic Party.

Please contact Senator Baldwin’s office to let her know how you feel regarding her support for this vile anti-wildlife bill.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5653

MADISON
30 West Mifflin Street, Suite 700
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 264-5338

Constituents can also email her here:

https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback