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.

 

Wildlife Advocates Must Brace Themselves for the Inevitable Wolf Delisting But We Must NEVER Stop Fighting

Canis-lupus

Photo via WikiMedia Commons.

**UPDATE 12/16/2015** I have NEVER been happier to say that I was wrong. Much to my shock and the shock of wildlife advocates everywhere the desliting rider was not included in the spending bill. The threats remain but for now we can breathe a sigh of relief. 

As Congress is about to sell out our small population of gray wolves for some type of “political gain” on a spending bill I am left to ponder if it was even a good idea to bring a species back only to persecute, torment, and push them back to the brink again out of sheer hatred and revenge? Should Congress follow through with the very real and likely possibility of attaching a delisting “rider” to the current spending bill we are poised to return to the nightmare that we saw in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with reckless kill quotas that ALWAYS go over, the coordinated eradication of entire packs, unregulated 24/7/365 hound “training” against wolves, and the use of hounds to kill wolves in what can be described as no less than legalized dog fighting. States like Wisconsin will preach that they are “responsibly managing” the species while making sure to kill as many as possible with any and all methods throughout the year all the while presenting inflated population numbers and pretending that the species is “thriving.” It’s history repeating itself all over again.

Just as when on the very day that wolves were officially delisted in the Great Lakes in 2012 when anti-wolf Wisconsin legislators introduced the reckless and deplorable bill that led to the three years of hounds, traps, and overkill the same forces will conspire to kill as many as possible as soon as possible when they are delisted again. How this species has been able to hang on in the small numbers that they have in this state despite 24/7/365 harassment by hounds, killings by state hired USDA “Wildlife Services” goons, huge yearly kill quotas, rampant poaching, and all around government endorsed hostility toward the species is astounding. A hostile state like Wisconsin, as they have abundantly shown, is not capable of responsibly and ethically “managing” a polarizing species such as the wolf yet they keep getting the opportunity. No one seems to care that the federal judge relisted wolves because of the reckless, unethical, and frankly sadistic manner in which states like Wisconsin “managed” wolves. No one seems to care that with the 2012 Wisconsin wolf kill bill, Act 169, Wisconsin wrote legalized dog fighting into law by allowing hounds to be used against wolves. No one seems to care that there are ZERO regulations for the “training” of those very same hounds that can be used against wolves 24/7/365. What does that say about our state, society, government, and humanity in general?

All of this hatred over a wild dog? A wild dog that has no super powers. A wild dog that tries to survive like the rest of us. A wild dog that is not hiding in the shadows waiting to eat your grandchildren. A wild dog that is NOT eating all “your” deer. A wild dog that will always be a better hunter and predator than any human or so-called “sportsman” could ever be. Maybe that is the root of the issue. The wolf is a superior predator and hunter despite all of humanities technologically advanced killing implements and maybe some just cannot accept that and must kill them to feel superior. What else can explain the endless lies, myths, propaganda, and beating of the drum to destroy this species? Is it jealousy? Is it revenge? What is it that causes so many grown adults to harbor such hatred for a wild dog?

That being said no matter what happens in big ag/NRA bought and paid for halls of Congress, the killing cartel owned Wisconsin DNR, or in the hound infested killing grounds of northern Wisconsin one thing is very clear: myself and other grassroots wildlife advocates will NEVER stop fighting for OUR WILDLIFE and we will never stop exposing the brutal practices and corrupt “management” of that same wildlife. If the likely imminent Congressional selling out/delisting of wolves teaches us anything it is that we cannot trust our government to do the right thing when it comes to wolves, wildlife, and the environment in general. It is up to US to be vigilant and work to protect imperiled and vilified species from the apathetic government agencies and bloodthirsty killing cartels that seek their destruction.

In the coming days Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife will be expanding our online presence with a Facebook page to keep you better informed about the daily war on our wildlife in Wisconsin, the nation, and the world. Despite the inevitable setbacks we have to keep fighting while we still have something left to fight for.

Shame on all of the FAKE “Democrats” that allowed this. Shame on President Obama for DESTROYING the Endangered Species Act. Finally, shame on the states that will ultimately push this species back to the brink or to a second eradication to appease extremist killing cartels and the never satisfied big ag interests.

We will keep you posted.

 

President Obama’s Legacy: The End of the Endangered Species Act?

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“Wolf by Brooks Falls” by BlackburnPhoto from Overland Park, KS, USA – Wolf by Brooks Falls.

There is no other way to put this so I will be blunt. For all of our hand wringing about Congress likely stripping protections from gray wolves and actively working to undermine the Endangered Species Act itself one thing has been made abundantly clear: the Obama Administration has already destroyed the Act right under our noses and it apparently took seven years for anyone to notice. The Guardian Newspaper, out of the United Kingdom, reported yesterday some sobering and frankly horrifying information about the gross failure of the USFWS to uphold the tenants of the ESA and to protect imperiled species as is their responsibility. Instead the USFWS under current Director Dan Ashe, current Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and former DOI Secretary “Cowboy” Ken Salazar, has actively pursued policies that favor ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests to the detriment of each and every species allegedly under ESA protections.

From the Guardian article:

The US government has not halted a single project out of the 88,000 actions and developments considered potentially harmful to the nation’s endangered species over the past seven years, a new study has found.

An analysis of assessments made by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the agency very rarely used its powers to intervene in projects that could imperil any of the US’s endangered plants and animals, which currently number almost 1,600.

Of 88,000 actions assessed by the FWS between January 2008 and April 2015, just two triggered significant further action. A 2007 plan to drop fire retardant in California was deemed by the FWS to be prohibitively harmful to forest-dwelling endangered species, although this was challenged in court. The FWS also stepped in over a plan to divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta due to concerns over the impact to threatened fish.

88,000 projects that threatened species under ESA protection and only TWO were stopped? At those two were stopped under the Bush Administration which was certainly no friend to wildlife. Red flags were apparent both before and after President Obama was elected. At no time during his campaign or after did any element of the environment come into play except for the political buzzwords of the climate change movement. Obama appeared completely apathetic toward wildlife and their very survival. This was further confirmed with his selection of rancher and former Senator “Cowboy” Ken Salazar from Colorado. Salazar immediately continued Bush administration plans to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes, and Wyoming despite strong scientific evidence advising against a delsiting for all of these areas. When a federal court stepped in and relisted wolves in the Rockies the Obama Administration allowed a “rider” to be attached to a must pass budget bill in 2011 that stripped ESA protections from the gray wolf, blocked any court challenge, and led to all out eradication policies from the states of Montana and especially Idaho. The only safeguards remaining for wolves in this region is a provision that if they drop BELOW 150 in the entire region they “may” be relisted.

Then Salazar, and newly appointed Director of the USFWS, Dan Ashe, set their sites on delisting wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. Wyoming was not included in the 2011 Congressional “rider” delisting because their “management” plan was too toxic for even the anti-wolf congress members and Bush Administration. The Wyoming plan allowed wolves to be killed by any means, at any time, and over the vast majority of the state except for a small area near Yellowstone which would have “regulated” killing under the guise of “hunting seasons.” This plan apparently wasn’t a problem for Obama, Salazar, and Ashe because after a sit down backdoor meeting with Wyoming officials the plan was given the green light and the mass slaughter started almost immediately and lasted until last fall when a federal judge ruled that the Wyoming plan was fatally flawed and resisted wolves under ESA protections in that state.

The same thing played out in Wisconsin in late 2011 and early 2012 when Salazar, Ashe, and the USFWS removed wolves in the Great Lakes from ESA protections and opened the door to over three years of killing season in Wisconsin and Minnesota and one on Michigan. The Wisconsin “management” of the species entailed the 24/7/365 use of hounds against wolves under the guise of “training,” trapping, baiting, electronic calls, and the use of hounds to aid in the killing of wolves during the “hunting seasons.” Once again a federal judge stepped in and relisted the species based on the severely flawed “management plans” of Wisconsin and Minnesota in particular. Like Wyoming, Minnesota allowed for wolves that ventured out of their habitat in the northern part of the state to be killed at will and essentially cut off potential migration routes or any chance that the species could colonize other areas to the south.

Maybe most disturbing of all of the proposals introduced by the USFWS, apparently with the support of President Obama, is to strip ALL ESA protections from gray wolves in the entire United States with the exception of a tiny population of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Couple this with the refusal of the USFWS to provide ESA protections to wolverines despite only a tiny number living in the United States, and the recent decision to allow hostile states to determine the fate of the imperiled greater sage grouse rather than providing ESA protections. The USFWS also seeks to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region and once again turn management of an imperiled species to hostile states hellbent on killing them.

This is what the legacy of the Obama Administration will be when it comes to wildlife and the environment. Despite all of the meaningless lip service that the president pays to climate change and “agreements” allegedly to fight it, he has shown that wildlife has ZERO place in the world that he envisions and apparently is only a hindrance to the real agenda of his administration. If NOT ONE of 88,000 events that impact endangered species were stopped by the USFWS over SEVEN YEARS what does this tell us about the value Obama and his administration place on endangered species and upholding the Endangered Species Act?

Under President Obama the Endangered Species Act has been reduced to a paper tiger that allows wildlife hostile states to run roughshod over endangered species, threatened lands, and anything that gets in the way of “development,” agriculture, recreational killing, or just happens to “upset” anti-wildlife governors. Nothing illustrates this mindset better than this quote from Obama’s USFWS Director Dan Ashe who in 2014 made a comment at a Montana meeting stating that environmentalists:

“must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.”

Yes, he really said this and nothing better illustrates the complete and utter contempt that the Obama Administration and his Department of Interior has for environmentalists and wildlife advocates. Time and time again his administration has sided with ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests while spitting in the faces of wildlife advocates and environmentalists. I regret voting for this man and I am under the impression that most wildlife advocates share this opinion.

While we have been scrambling trying to stop the disgusting wolf delisting “rider” now pending in Congress, it is apparent that the damage has already been done and the Endangered Species Act has been all but destroyed by an apathetic, arrogant, and pandering Administration more concerned with getting insignificant short term political “victories” than preserving imperiled wildlife. I hope that I am wrong and that Congress and the Obama Administration proves me wrong and stands up for wildlife. I am not holding my breath. This administration is poised to go down as the most anti-wildlife one since the introduction of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, signed by of all people, Republican Richard Nixon. What a shame. Those of us in the wildlife advocacy movement had such high hopes for President Obama after what we thought at the time was the disastrous wildlife record of George W. Bush. We could not have been more wrong and felt duped into supporting this president that is on the verge of destroying not only the gray wolf population in the United States but also the bedrock law of species protection, the Endangered Species Act, and for what? A short term budget deal? A few meaningless concessions from the right wing in Congress?

I do not say this lightly when I say that President Obama has failed our wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. I can show you two wolf riders and 88,000 other reasons proving this to be the case.

 

 

Is Nothing Sacred? Wisconsin GOP Legislators Attack Native American Sacred Sites in New Legislation

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From Encyclopedia Brittiannica:

Neofascism, political philosophy and movement that arose in Europe in the decades following World War II. Like earlier fascist movements, neofascism advocated extreme nationalism, opposed liberal individualism, attacked Marxist and other left-wing ideologies, indulged in racist and xenophobic scapegoating, and promoted populist right-wing economic programs. Unlike the fascists, however, neofascists placed more blame for their countries’ problems on non-European immigrants than on leftists and Jews, displayed little interest in taking lebensraum (German: “living space”) through the military conquest of other states, and made concerted efforts to portray themselves as democratic and “mainstream.”

As a lifetime Wisconsin resident I ask myself each and every day “how much lower can our state sink?” Unfortunately, each and every day I get an answer. Today was no different. Over the last five years we have seen a state that, although no stranger to brutality and sadism toward wildlife no matter who was in charge, devolve deeper and deeper into the politics of revenge, corruption, and blatant cronyism. When one thinks that we possibly cannot get any lower into the world of Koch-fueled neo-fascism a story like this comes along that even makes a jaded and pessimistic person such as myself sick to my stomach and questioning how I can even belong to the same species as these types.

New bill would allow excavation of Native American burial mounds

In the Wisconsin legislature a bill is currently being circulated that would allow land owners and developers to dig up ancient and sacred Native American burial mounds to “prove” whether or not there are human remains at the site. Not even sites of cultural and spiritual significance are off limits to the neo-fascist greed of Wisconsin’s Tea Party zealots and their ingrained hated of anything and anyone not like them or that align to their sick beliefs.

The bill from Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, would force the Wisconsin Historical Society to allow property owners to excavate in order to prove whether human remains exist in effigy mounds on their land, but opponents of the legislation contend that allowing excavation defeats the purpose of mound preservation entirely.

In 2012 the Ojibwe Tribes of Wisconsin made it very clear that they would not support not allow the killing of their “spiritual brother,” the gray wolf, in Wisconsin. Despite this and despite the manner in which the Tea Party zealots in the legislature pretend to care about “religious freedom” they passed the most offensive and revolting bill against wildlife that this state had ever seen to spite both wildlife advocates and the tribes in the state. The bill, Act 169, mandated that each year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must facilitate a yearly killing season of gray wolves beginning October 15th of each year. The bill also mandated that hounds, traps, bait, electronic calls, and everything short of artillery be allowed against the species. The bill passed easily despite the objections of the tribes and wildlife advocates. Several so-called “Democrats” also voted for it despite their stated “reservations.” What followed was three years of mass slaughter where wolves were killed with the aid of everything listed above and each year the kills went over the allotted “quota.” This year there was no slaughter season because of the December 2014 federal court ruling returning Endangered Species Act protections to wolves. This ruling was partially due to the reckless “management” allowed by states such as Wisconsin. This reprieve may be short lived as Congress, including several so-called “Democrats,” is seeking to strip protections once again from wolves in the Great Lakes through the deplorable act of attaching a “rider” to a must pass spending bill. This despite the overwhelming objection of many scientists and tribal governments.

I have long advocated for tribal governments to challenge any gray wolf delisting and hunting seasons in federal court as a “religious freedom” case. History shows the significance of the gray wolf to their cultural and spiritual way of life. For the federal government and hostile states like Wisconsin to thumb their noses at the tribal belief system and what they hold sacred is an affront to not only the tribes but to all Americans. As an atheist I do not share any religious belief system with my fellow Americans, Native American or not. What I do share is a respect for the Constitutional right of religious freedom as long as government stays out of it and does not force it upon anyone. For states like Wisconsin to attack the spiritual beliefs of Native Americans in regard to wolves and their sacred burial mounds it should horrify all decent Americans. Of course we are talking about Wisconsin so decency doesn’t always come into play under the regime currently in charge.

The Tea Party zealots in charge of each and every element of Wisconsin have essentially declared war on every segment of our state that is even remotely “liberal,” “progressive,” or not lily white, Republican, or Christian . When even sacred burial mounds are not off limits to the money grubbing and greedy ghouls in charge of our government, I believe that we have crossed a line that should NEVER be crossed. How can these smug and arrogant zealots look in the mirror and not see the face of cold and dark evil greed staring back at them? Better yet how can we as Wisconsin residents stand by and let these affronts occur each and every day right under our noses?

When does basic humanity override the the pathological and frankly horrifying desire for money and power? What controls Wisconsin today should terrify each and every person with any semblance of decency. Even if you don’t care about wolves, tribal culture, or the sacred nature of their significance to the tribes you should be outraged and speak out. History has shown us what happens when people remain silent in the face of zealotry. If you think that this neo-fascist cabal in charge of Wisconsin will stop with wolves, teachers, union members, the tribes, the environment, free speech itself, and a myriad of other legislation designed to solidify one party control and to control us you are sadly mistaken.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and nowhere has this ever been better exemplified than Wisconsin since 2011. If you think that they are done then you are also sadly mistaken. I fear for what else these people can do to those that do not share their extreme and twisted ideology. What kind of person thinks that ancient and sacred burial mounds should be dug up? What if the shoe were on the other foot and the tribes circulated a proposal to dig up an old Christian cemetery to “prove” if remains were their or not so that they could pave it over? The outrage would deafening and rightfully so. How about if the tribes decided that deer should be hunted with hounds much as they decided to allow night hunting? How would the anti-wolf factions, killing cartels like the deceptively named Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and a myriad of other wolf hating groups respond? Again the outrage would be deafening. So why is it different when tribal beliefs and traditional practices are under attack?

Wake up Wisconsin and wake up now. This is not who we are, is it? Legalized dog fighting? Legal corruption? Open racism and cultural denigration? Is this what we are?

Take the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller as a warning of what happens when we are silent in the face of extremism and zealotry. Wisconsin is not Europe in the 1920’s, 1930’s or 1940’s but the formula is in place and one must never ignore attacks on an entire culture or belief system by extremists using their positions of authority as justification.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

If these words sound like they could have been written today in Wisconsin rather than in post-World War Two 1946 Germany you wouldn’t be that far off. History repeating itself is a cruel joke that plays out in human society again, again, and again. Will we ever learn?

 

Anti-Wolf Zealots and Fake “Democrats” in Congress Planning to Sell Out Wolves and the Endangered Species Act This Week

Howlsnow

Here we go a again. Where have we seen this before? The courts rightfully step in and restore protections for the gray wolf and the NRA/big ag zealots in Congress step in and remove those protections and take away your recourse to challenge it in court. Just like the infamous 2011 anti-wolf “budget rider” that was tacked onto a must pass spending to declare war on wolves in Idaho and Montana, the anti-wolf zealots in Congress are planning to do the same for wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming this week.

As I wrote about earlier in the year, there is a group of right wing politicians and a collection of fake “Democrats” like the “Democrat in Name Only (DINO)” Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and the anti-wolf “Democrat” Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin that will stop at nothing to resume the 24/7/365 persecution and hounding of wolves in Wisconsin and elsewhere. This week they along with Tea Party extremist Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin are trying to slip a wolf delisting “rider” into another “must pass” spending bill. This bill will delist wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming while blocking YOUR right to challenge YOUR government in the courts.

Not only will this bill destroy what is left of the Endangered Species Act and open the door to anti-wolf states once again pushing the species back to the brink through the use of hounds, traps, guns, arrows, and everything short of artillery, but it will open the door for each and every species currently under ESA protection to be delisted by Congress for some alleged short term “political gain.” This is a disaster waiting to happen and I am not so sure that Congress or the President care one way or another.

Does President Obama want his legacy to be that of the president that presided over the second eradication of wolves and the destruction of the Endangered Species Act? If he and Congress allow this “rider” to be slipped into the spending bill, passed, and signed then that is exactly what will happen. First it was the wolves of the Northern Rockies he sold out in 2011, then the failure to protect the greater sage grouse, and now wolves once again are in the sights of this administration. But make no mistake wolves are not and will not be the final nail in the coffin of the ESA. Next we will see the delisting of the grizzly bear in the west  likely leading to an all out war against that species by the same factions hellbent on destroying the wolf. When does it stop? When, if ever, will President Obama say ENOUGH and uphold his responsibilities to protect our dwindling wildlife and wild lands?

It is crunch time folks. The time is NOW to contact your congressional representatives, senators, and the White House to demand a stop to the assault on the Endangered Species Act and imperiled species like the gray wolf. If this passes and is signed we will be right back to the endless months of reckless killing of wolves and 24/7/365 hounding to placate the violent and extreme minority seeking to destroy this species one way or another.

Short of the disastrous Iraq war and those responsible I can’t say that I have ever been so disgusted in OUR government. I am sick and tired of our dwindling wildlife being sold out year in and year out as a political giveaway to extremists. Will they be satisfied when the last wolf is trapped or shredded by a pack of dogs? When the last sage grouse is gone? When the last grizzly is a rug or stuffed trophy for a great white hunter to brag about? ENOUGH.

Find and call your representatives and senators here:

https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

Call the White House here.

Call the President
PHONE NUMBERS
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Here is a script to use if you wish:

As a constituent of yours I ask that you strongly consider voting against (VETO for the President) any and all bills and or “riders” to spending bills that seek to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections. Despite the hyperbole and propaganda from hunting groups and agricultural interests, the gray wolf is still imperiled by centuries old hatred and reckless state “management” plans that allow for only a token number on the landscape and in isolated pockets only. It also must be noted that supporting any effort to delist wolves in Wisconsin will be viewed as a tacit approval for what is essentially the legalized DOG FIGHTING that the state allows by law. Wisconsin is the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of hounds to be pitted against wolves with ZERO oversight and the allowance of 24/7/365 “training” against wolves also with no oversight. I implore you not to support any law that furthers the persecution against this species and that seeks to weaken the already imperiled Endangered Species Act. Any legislation delisting a species from the protections allowed by the Endangered Species Act will be the death knell for not only the gray wolf but for the Act itself. Your actions on these issues will be closely watched and strongly considered in future elections.