Wisconsin Hounders Poised to Get Immediate Payouts for their “Depredation” Scam

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Plott hound. This is the type of bog often used by bear hounders to fight other wildlife. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Just when you thought that Wisconsin’s “hound depredation payment” scam couldn’t get anymore ridiculous along comes this. From the Wisconsin State Journal:

Under a budget provision approved by the Joint Finance Committee, the DNR would write a check as soon as it was confirmed that a dog was killed by a wolf instead of waiting until after the start of a new calendar year. The delay had been designed to determine if enough funding was available for full payments or if they would be prorated.

In other words the already reckless legal animal fighters will have another incentive to encourage more wolf on dog fights and to make sure that their “disposable” dogs end up on the losing end so that those $2500 checks from the DNR just flow right in. In the past couple of years the Wisconsin legislature has removed the license requirement for bear hounders and baiters opening the door for an endless stream of legal animal fighters to flow into northern Wisconsin for the almost four month hound “training” season that begins July 1st of each year. This includes many hounders from states both near and far all hoping to cash in on those $2500 checks that seem to have become some sort of hounder welfare/lottery.

Let’s put this into another context. The hounders are practicing their sick “sport” of their own free will and with no oversight from the government in the form of a license. When something goes wrong while they freely participate in their “sport” it somehow becomes the responsibility of the government to pay them for their “loss.” How does that make any sense? Does the government pay you if you crash your bike on a bike trail? Does the government pay you if you sprain your ankle while playing basketball at a government owned park? Does the government pay you when you strike one of the deer that they insist remain at artificially inflated levels? No they don’t. So why do hounders continue to grift on the government for their own reckless behavior and the practice of their depraved “sport?”

The “hound depredation” payouts began as essentially a bribe to keep hounders from poaching wolves as they were filtering back into Wisconsin from Minnesota. The hope was that by paying off the hounders for dogs killed by wolves they would refrain from poaching. Nice message to send. “We know that you hounders will break the law and poach a protected species so here are some bribe payments so that you don’t.” The hounders must be such upstanding citizens that the government has to bribe them to follow the law. Does the government bribe bank robbers so that they don’t rob banks? Does the government bribe rapists, so they don’t rape? Murderers so they don’t murder? Thieves so they don’t steal? No, so why are hounders paid off so that they don’t commit crimes?

The latest action by the legislature to further encourage legal dog fighting at no risk to the hounders is appalling and shows that this state is incapable of “managing” wolves or any other form of wildlife. Wisconsin should be embarrassed that these legal animal fighters have such pull in our system of government and that you and I pay them for their reckless acts. What’s next? Placing an ATM in the middle of the woods for even faster payouts? This scam needs to end and end soon.

Read more here:

As payouts from dog-wolf conflicts reach new record, quicker payouts sought for hunters

Wisconsin STILL Rewarding Hounder Criminals and Scofflaws for Hound “Depredations”

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Yes, dog fighting (against wild dogs) is LEGAL in Wisconsin and worth $2500 for each dead hound. Photo used under Fair Use for Educational Purposes 

In January of 2014 Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism writer Bill Lueders published an article called “State pays scofflaws over hound deaths.” The article delved into Wisconsin’s program that pays hounders for dogs that are allegedly killed by wolves and for “vet bills” for hounds allegedly injured by wolves. Since 1987 Wisconsin hounders have been paid a total of $702,051 for hounds allegedly killed by wolves and another $34,453.99 for “vet bills” for hounds allegedly injured by wolves. In Lueders article he pointed out that a significant number of the hounders receiving payments were convicted for poaching or other wildlife and firearms violations. Some of the subjects even had their hunting “privileges” suspended while engaged in the hounding activities and STILL received the payouts.

From the article:

Wisconsin, the only state with a program that compensates the owners of dogs killed by wolves while hunting other animals, has paid tens of thousands of dollars during the past decade to individuals who have violated state hunting or firearms laws.

Seven individuals received a total of $19,000 in payments after they were convicted of crimes or paid forfeitures for hunting or firearms-related offenses, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. An additional $20,000 went to four claimants who were subsequently fined for such offenses, including bear hunting without a license.

This was from prior to the article public date of January 2014. In April of 2017, not a thing has changed. While pouring over the data for the 2016 hound “depredation” payouts some details stood out. Six of the 48 “claims” were paid to hounders from Minnesota. Five of those were to people with the same last name. Some of the names listed are also repeat claimants. The most striking thing that we were able to uncover was one hounder in particular that apparently has quite the criminal history, including open charges for bear poaching and resisting a warden, recieved $5000 from the DNR for 2016 “depredations.”

660879 7/9/2016 Hounds 1 Douglas 44 12 2 16 $0.00 DENIED WOOD MIKE AMERY WI 2016
660879 7/9/2016 Hounds 1 Douglas 44 12 2 16 $2,500.00 PAID WOOD MIKE AMERY WI 2016
660893 7/23/2016 Hounds 1 Douglas 44 12 2 8 $2,500.00 PAID WOOD MIKE AMERY WI 2016

Surprisingly one of the claims that this hounder, Mike Wood of Amery, WI, made was denied. Two others that occurred on two separate days were paid out at $2500 each. Upon digging deeper we were quite alarmed to find that a Mike Wood of Amery, WI has quite a serious criminal history. These are the most recent charges obtained from the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access system.

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As bad as these charges are, they pale in comparison to the charges that this subject was convicted of in 2009 in Bayfield County.

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Assuming that this is the same Mike Wood from Amery, WI, we find it quite alarming that a person convicted on THREE counts of Intentionally Mistreating Animals in 2009 and that is currently out on bond for charges of poaching a bear and resisting a warden, received $5000 in hound “depredation” payouts from the DNR in 2016. Bill Lueders raised the alarm about this in January of 2014 and over three years later Wisconsin continues to reward convicted criminals and wildlife violators for their reckless behavior. This is on top of the hounders that have received multiple payouts year after year. With the elimination in 2015 of the “Class B” bear hound training licenses Wisconsin no longer has any permit requirement for hounders. Any hounder, from anywhere in the world, can come to Wisconsin and run their hounds against wildlife under the guise of “training” and get paid $2500 for each dog that is allegedly killed by a wolf.

Have we had enough of this scam yet Wisconsin?

The “Wolf Depredation” Scam Continues and Your Stories Wanted

This is "tradition" and "heritage" in Wisconsin.

This is “tradition” and “heritage” in Wisconsin.

Lately this blog has been gaining a significant crop of new readers and wildlife advocates that have been elated to have found a source that will actually report the thing that I do. I am both proud and humbled at the positive feedback I am getting for publishing this blog. I am willing to bring to light the issues and opinions that many of us harbor but are afraid to put out there. One of the best things about increased readership of the blog is that wildlife advocates and average citizens from Northern Wisconsin finally feel that they have an outlet to express their frustrations and disdain over what is essentially the extremist hunting group and hounder based anarchy that the Wisconsin DNR turns a blind eye to or even encourages. As a follow up to my blog post yesterday about livestock interests scamming the wolf “depredation” system I am going to share an email that I received from a northern Wisconsin resident, that I know to be of the highest integrity, and her interactions with farmers up there.

As I was reviewing the depredation figures from year to year on the DNR chart, red flags started popping up big time. Taking into consideration years prior to wolf hunting and comparing the past three years; numbers substantially grew. Interesting considering wolf population should have decreased due to hunting or did the population rebound so significantly, that more depredation took place? With this in mind, read on.

Whenever I run into a local around here; I pose a few questions in friendly conversation to see how they respond. Yesterday, I ran into a farmer who raises beef cattle north of me. He stated he lost many cattle last year due to the hostile winter. His neighbor also raises livestock. He lost 15-cattle due to wolves. His neighbor tried convincing him to make a buck and claim the losses were due to wolves. He would not do it. Solid proof…you cannot trust farmers or the USDA. More importantly, this must be the same farmer who claimed 15-cattle killed by wolves on the DNR chart. It is the only claim for 15-cattle. How ironic is that? Now who do you believe? This kind of deceit is what controls Congress. It WAS nice to know there are some honest farmers around here though. Another recent conversation was with a (position removed). He knows I’m a wolf advocate. He is not. We were discussing wolves; his argument was about his friend who operates a hunting outfit out west. His business is dwindling due to wolves hunting all the elk. The (position removed) travels out there to hunt and has no luck. He stated, “Every time we call the elk in, the wolves come”. I wasn’t sure how to comment because it seemed like a natural thing to me. What do you expect? He also stated he believes a wolf would eat a child. I walked away waving him in disbelief.

This kind of confirms what many of us have been speculating about all along. The whole “wolf depredation” program is one giant scam for irresponsible ranchers and hounders and is used as propaganda whenever talk of delsiting wolves or opening a killing season approaches.

I would also like to share the experiences of a Northwoods resident that I received a few weeks back about how hounders have ZERO regard for property rights and the toxic mindset that revolved around their “sport.”

I live in northern WI in a remote spot. Acres away from anyone. I live w/wolves. Their numbers have decreased substantially in the past 2-yrs. I’ve caught poachers and reported them to the Federal warden and WI DNR as my property butts Nicolet National Forest. I’ve chased poachers with my shotgun. The quota for wolf harvest had been met 4-months prior. I have met w/Andy, Game Warden in my area on several occasions and he is very receptive to the problem. I spoke w/Dave MacFarland, DNR Large Carnivore Specialist and shared my concerns. Other than law enforcement, natural resource enforcement, Sierra Club and a handful of concerned individuals it seems WI residents show little or no concern regarding poaching or maintaining a healthy ecosystem. They seem oblivious to the government playing Russian Roulette with the preservation of our wildlife. Wolves are necessary to complete our ecosystem. Delisting them again is pure ignorance as WI US Representative Reed Ribble is currently pushing through congress. It seems the DNR has had their hands tied as the Bear Hunters Association gathered accomplices from NRA, Hunters Rights Coalition and Safari Club International to write a wolf hunt law and get it passed previously. The ATV clubs are even regulating the DNR as to where ATV signage should be placed. Apparently, DNR personnel w/degrees in enforcement and biology, etc are somewhat powerless to the less educated clubs who are dictating the policies. Obviously, the sport and recreation is more important than the science.

Fact is, it is science and biology that feed the sport. Then there are the hateful, crude comments from wolf haters who hunt them because they are evil or because they blame deer population reduction to wolf kill. This category if idiots are delirious. More deer are killed from road kill than wolf killing deer. During hunting season, I have half dozen or more hounds trample through my property for 2-weeks straight every day at the same time causing havoc with no hunter in sight. Whether these are bear hounds or illegal wolf hunting hounds they are illegally trespassing and chasing wolves, migrating birds, young sand-hilled cranes, and a long laundry list of wildlife. I hold a Scientific Collector’s License w/the state & US Fish & Wildlife. I also photograph wildlife and this outburst is destructive to my work and landscape much less my dog. They roam unattended. In my opinion, it seems our recreational clubs are intervening where and when they should not be. Farmers/ranchers are blaming wolves for lost livestock. And the general public…where are you? Science is not in the best interest of the clubs, wolf haters, or US Reed Ribble, etc. Look what Idaho is doing…making a contest out of wolf slaughtering. The real issue is economics. The planet is over-populated causing the need for more food. Many ranchers are honest, working hard to produce meals to put on tables. However, wolves have always lived here and farmers/ranchers were aware of that when they made the decision to raise cattle, sheep, dairy cows, etc. The percentage of wolves killing livestock isn’t even substantial. Ranchers get reimbursed. Bottom line: delisting again is just an ugly excuse to slaughter wolves for sport. The real issue is over-population of the human race. What will it take to keep wolves on the endangered species list and balance our ecosystem? Brains.

If you are a northern Wisconsin resident and wish to share your experiences with hounders, trappers, and anti-wolf people, I encourage you to comment on this post or use the “Contact Us” link at the top of the page. Your name and information will not be published but we would love to hear your stories and share them with other like minded wildlife advocates on this blog.

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