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:

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“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?

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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.

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

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Plott hound. This is the type of dog 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