Guest Blog: Northern Exposure

The_black_bear

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.