July 1st: The Season of Hell Begins for Wisconsin Wildlife

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Black bear. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Tomorrow, July 1st,  marks the beginning of the legal animal fighting free for all known as the bear hound “training season.” Thousands of hounds and hounders will descend on our public lands from all over the country with their trucks, bait, and thousands of GPS collared hounds to torment any wildlife that gets in their way. No permit is required for any of this and there is essentially ZERO oversight. Hounds are allowed to run bears for hours on end and will inevitably get into bloody fights with wolves defending their young at rendezvous sites. For each hound killed by a wolf the hounder will receive a $2500 check from the DNR for their “loss” despite a huge number being repeat claimants running hounds in known wolf “caution areas.”

Hounding itself is a disgusting and deplorable form of legal animal fighting/harassment that is somehow not only legal but encouraged by the State of Wisconsin. Bears, wolves, and the attacking hounds will be fighting for their lives for the next four months during hound “training” and bear killing season. For the last few months and for a total of SIX MONTHS each year an estimated 4.6 MILLION GALLONS plus of stale junk food, grease, and other forms of “bait” are used to condition Wisconsin’s 30,000 bears to human food. This bait not only conditions the bears to human foods but it also provides an estimated 40 percent of an average bear’s diet in northern Wisconsin (See study linked below). This likely leads to significantly larger litters and rapidly expanding the bear population to numbers that the habitat cannot likely sustain for the long term. Wisconsin has essentially allowed the county, state, and national forests of the north to become giant bear “game farms” where pretty much anything goes. No permits are required to dump unlimited amounts of bait and no permit is required to run unlimited numbers of unleashed hounds. This is “conservation?”

The Wisconsin DNR and groups like the politically connected Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association will try to convince you that what they are doing is “conservation,” “heritage,” and “ethical.” It is none of these. The true gravity of what occurs in the northern forests each and every day would shock and horrify most citizens if they actually knew what happens. Hounds fight and die each and every day with bears, wolves, and whatever wild animal gets in their way. Some hounders will take to social media with pictures and videos showing bloody and wounded dogs while bragging about how they self treat them and refuse to go to veterinarians for proper care for their “family members.” Then when a wolf kills a hound they run to the first reporter that they see talking about how the hound that they kept chained up outside 24/7/365 next to a hollowed out 55 gallon drum as “shelter” was a dear “family member” and how “devastated” they are. Following that they will take to their social media groups and make threats to poach, “kill ’em all,” and otherwise make calls to eradicate wolves because their “great grand daddies killed them for a reason.” In their “secret” groups they will brag about all of their “disposable” dogs that they refer to as “culls” and “shit-eaters.” Culls because once they no longer serve a purpose they are killed and “shit-eaters” because they are only fed scraps and poor quality food just enough to keep them alive to serve their “purpose.” How is this any different than using so-called “bait dogs” to train killer dogs in dog fighting rings? Hint. It isn’t but because it is good old boy rural whites doing it

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This is how many of the “family members” of bear hounders are kept. Photo of bear hound shown under Fair Use for Educational Purposes. 

How is any of this behavior acceptable in 2017? Why does society allow this seedy underbelly of the hunting “community” to take over our public lands for a significant portion of the year to practice their sick “sport?” Expect to hear multiple stories in the coming days and weeks of hounders crying about losing their “family members” like the dog above while they keep raking in those nice fat $2500 taxpayer funded checks. Those will be followed by calls from disingenuous politicians and anti-wolf zealots for a return to “state management” for the wolf population. As we all know “state management” is code for near eradication and the 24/7/365 wolf hounding that comes along with it. This should enrage each and every citizen in the state of Wisconsin that pays taxes and has any semblance of decency. If there are any “ethical hunters” left they should also be enraged that the hounders have taken over as being the “voice” of hunters in Wisconsin and are giving a black eye to your community as seen across the country and world. The hounders and anti-wolf zealots love to refer to people like myself as being “antis.” If anything they are the one who are “anti-hunting” because what they participate in sure isn’t “hunting.” Is it “hunting” to feed wild animals millions of gallons of junk food for over six months? Is it “hunting” to send packs of bloodthirsty hounds to rampage through the forests on our public lands to tree, attack, and kill our wildlife? Who are the real “anti-hunters” in this state?

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Another cherished “family member” and the conditions so many are kept in. Photo used via Fair Use for Educational Purposes.

Bear Baiting Study 2016

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?

 

Death by a Thousand Hounds (And Traps): The Endangered Species List is Not a “Farm Team” for Hostile States

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This is what “state management” of wolves looks like. Photo used via Fair Use for Educational and News Reporting Purposes.

It’s been almost one year since the end of Wisconsin’s last “legal” wolf slaughter and the subsequent federal court ruling that placed the species back on the Endangered Species Act protected list. During that last year the states, anti-wolf politicians, the killing cartels, certain media outlets, big ag lobbies, and even misguided wolf “experts” have been pushing to forcefully remove the species from ESA protections and resume the yearly killing sprees under the guise of “state management.”

Summary of what the Endangered Species Act exists for:

The law requires federal agencies, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the NOAA Fisheries Service, to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. The law also prohibits any action that causes a “taking” of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife. Likewise, import, export, interstate, and foreign commerce of listed species are all generally prohibited.

Federal Judge Beryl Howell made it very clear in her ruling last December that the states “management” of gray wolves was severely flawed and and failed miserably at providing the protections and species growth that is a key element of the Endangered Species Act. While not explicitly spelled out, the state “management” of Wisconsin very likely played a key role in the decision the judge made to order the relisting of the species in the Great Lakes region. Wisconsin’s clear and open policy of pushing the species numbers down to a token number and allowing for 24/7/365 harassment by hounds very likely also played a role in her decision.

There are times, she said, a court “must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough. This is one of those times.”

She singled out Minnesota’s plan, which she said permitted the unlimited killing of wolves in some areas. The plan calls for a minimum population of 1,600 animals in the state.

But it allows “a virtual carte blanche” for eradication of wolves in the southern two-thirds of the state by allowing land owners and managers the right to kill them any time to protect their livestock and pets, even in the absence of attacks.

What was clearly spelled out in the Judge’s decision was the inadequacy of Minnesota’s plan that forcefully kept wolves in a small pocket in the state and much like the disgusting Wyoming plan, essentially allowed for open eradication through the rest. Minnesota also made it clear that their killing season was strictly for recreation and played no real role in the adequate “management” of the species other than to provide “hunter opportunity.”

“The intent of the wolf season was to allow sustainable hunting and trapping,” said Dan Stark, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wolf specialist. “We weren’t trying to have an impact on the [wolf] population or [livestock] depredations.”

In the past year the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota have done nothing to change their plans or how they want to “manage” wolves. Instead the state “wildlife” agencies, killing cartels, big ag lobbies, and anti-wolf state politicians ran to anti-wolf representatives and senators in Congress to force a legislative delisting to continue on their “death by a thousand hounds (and traps)” management plans. Instead of making a good faith effort to change the elements of their “management” that led to the court relisting and the furor of millions of wildlife advocates the states did NOTHING except to reinforce that they are hellbent at regaining control over the species and resume their reckless killing seasons and in the case of Wisconsin, the unlimited 24/7/365 harassment by hounds.

This entire issue illustrates the failure of the true intentions of the Endangered Species Act and allowing hostile states to “manage” wildlife. The purpose of the ESA was to throw a lifeline to imperiled wildlife and protect them from the often depraved and hostile eradication methods that originally pushed them to the brink and making sure that never happens again. Instead the ESA, particularly for species like the gray wolf and grizzly, has become a “farm team” for states to provide “hunter opportunity” for mass killing immediately following delisting. That was NOT the intention of the ESA but that is what our government has allowed to happen. This happened immediately following the Obama Administration’s misguided and ESA weakening 2011 “rider” that delisted  wolves in Montana and Idaho where both states immediately instituted eradication plans. It also happened immediately following the delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes in 2012. In fact the very day, and almost to the hour that wolves were delisted here, anti-wolf legislators, led by the disgraced former Rep. Scott Suder, introduced the bill that would lead to Wisconsin declaring war on wolves and becoming the ONLY state in the country to allow dogs to be used again them, including the 24/7/365 “training” of hounds against wolves. Minnesota soon followed suit with their own “recreational” hunting and trapping season. This was in addition to their secret hiring of USDA Wildlife Services goons to kill hundreds each year even while under ESA protections.

Today, instead of changing how they want to “manage” wolves the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming are counting on Congress and the most anti-wildlife president in modern history to forcibly delist wolves once again to destroy the ESA and return to their near-eradication “management” of the species on the behest of big ag and the killing cartels. If the congressional delisting fails then they hope a federal appeals court overturns Judge Howell’s ruling. If either were to occur the ESA will become a paper tiger that becomes open for attack at the behest of any political “deal” and it will make wildlife hostile states even more aggressive and brazen with their “management” of species they already despise like wolves and soon the grizzly bear.

Wildlife advocates such as myself are often asked WHY we fight so hard to keep wolves and other vilified and imperiled species under federal ESA protections? One only needs to look at the picture above, visit the hate filled anti-wolf/wildlife social media sites, and listen to the fear mongering and misinformation presented by hostile states and politicians to have the answer. For these people “management” of the gray wolf and other “less desirable” species is an all or nothing proposition as their own actions demonstrate. Many wildlife advocates, such as myself, wouldn’t necessarily be against a delisting for the wolf if state “management” didn’t consist of what amounts to a declaration of war against the species and pushing it back to the brink AGAIN.

As I stated above species removed from the ESA should NOT be used as a “farm team” for hostile states and to provide “hunter opportunity.” This WAS NOT and IS NOT the purpose of the law. When anti-wildlife politicians talk about “reforming” the Endangered Species Act the mean that they want to further weaken it and for some outright destroy it. For wildlife advocates reforming the act means allowing it to function as it was intended to. This means the act should be in place to prevent wildlife hostile states like Wisconsin from regaining “management” of any listed species while the reckless policies that led to the initial listing are still in place. The act should also demand these states not be allowed to immediately institute mass killings of a delisted species and require that the states update their “management plans” to reflect the changing populations and changes of the reality on the ground. When a state like Wisconsin allows their entire “management” of a species to be determined by extremist “hunting” groups, like the openly anti-wolf Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, they are proving that they are not up to the task of responsibly managing a species fresh off the ESA list. Add on the disgusting and irresponsible allowance of dogs to be used against the species 24/7/365 and how can ANYONE with a straight face say that a state like Wisconsin can responsibly “manage” this species? You can’t and this is exactly why Judge Howell ruled as she did last December.

Wolves must remain under ESA protections until hostile states like Wisconsin make an effort to ethically “manage” this species. If you are a Wisconsin resident DEMAND that our state put aside the reckless and revenge minded policies that eliminated this species the first time and work WITH wildlife advocates instead of against us. By allowing the use of dogs against a species like the wolf the state of Wisconsin is showing to the world that they cannot “manage” this species in a responsible and ethical manner.

Find your Wisconsin legislators here and make it clear that they have failed miserably when it comes to “managing” the wolf population and regardless of a potential Congressional or court ordered delisting wildlife advocates will not back off nor will we accept any form of “management” that continues the use of dogs and reckless mass killing. The political pendulum always swings back hard and when it does the massive overreach Wisconsin has endorsed when it comes to “managing” this species will come back to bite the anti-wolf factions and their tactics very hard. The anti-wolf factions should be very careful about what they wish for and the ramifications of that overreach. Delsiting or not WE are not going anywhere and WE will continue to expose the reckless and barbaric attacks on wolves and other vulnerable species.

Please also contact your federal legislators and DEMAND that they not support any effort to weaken ESA protections for wolves or any other species until the states show that they will be responsible stewards for these species and not continue with their revenge/persecution policies.

 

Do Modern “Democrats” Support Legal Dog Fighting and Limiting Your Free Speech Rights? Actions Speak Louder than Words 

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This is what Senator Tammy Baldwin and other anti-wolf politicians support if they support Wisconsin’s “management” of wolves.

As a wildlife advocate nothing is more infuriating and revolting than people who speak out of both sides of their mouths. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with the modern “Democratic Party” and their spineless manner when dealing with wildlife issues and legislation. They are so afraid of upsetting the NRA/big ag lobby that they vote for anti-wildlife and even anti-free speech laws despite knowing they are deplorable. Because of this I have distanced myself from the Democratic Party and vowed not to ever vote again for any politician that supports anti-wildlife legislation and causes.

There are two very recent examples of Wisconsin based “Democrats” turning their backs on wildlife in favor of anti-wildlife and anti-free speech proposals at the state and national level.

Over the years I have voted for Senator Tammy Baldwin several times dating back to her days as a Representative in the House and for her current position as a senator. Only after her election to the senate did I learn of her anti-wolf positions and how she panders to the big ag interests that want to see wolves eradicated from Wisconsin and elsewhere. It was only after her 2012 election to the senate did I find this webpage where she takes credit for having the wolf delisted and Wisconsin allowing a slaughter season immediately following.

2011: Tammy Worked Across Party Lines and Worked to Remove the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List
Tammy supported the commonsense approach of removing the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List after population numbers exceeded both the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Plan and the federal recovery goal. This action opens the door to a new wolf hunt.

Baldwin likes to pretend that she is a “progressive” and people believe her due to her sexual orientation and how she rightfully stands up for equal protection. The problem is that she panders to big ag and the killing cartels seeking to eradicate Wisconsin’s tiny wolf population and pretending that they no longer need protection. What does she gain from it? Do those “common sense approaches” include dog fighting? Apparently, yes they do.

A couple of weeks ago a letter imploring President Obama to reject any and all “riders” weakening the Endangered Species Act was signed by 25 Democratic Senators. As expected the usual fake “Democrats” from ND, IN, WV, MN, and a few others didn’t sign it likely due to being owned by the same big ag/NRA/SCI/Koch groups that also control the GOP. Also noticeably absent were signatures from the two anti-wolf and big ag owned “Democrat” senators from Minnesota and, of course, Tammy Baldwin. As evidenced by the canned letters I receive from Baldwin’s office, she buys hook, line, and sinker the propaganda from the Wisconsin DNR and anti-wolf groups that wolves are being properly “managed” by the DNR and that they are just “decimating” livestock, deer, and grandchildren all over the state. Upon learning her stance against wolves, and apparently being perfectly fine with the legalized dog fighting that Wisconsin allows, I decided that she will never get my vote again for the Senate or any other position. I have made this very clear in letters to her office. Of course the opinions of one Wisconsin citizen like myself apparently does not matter because each response that I receive from Baldwin’s office is the same canned response regurgitating the Wiscosnin DNR propaganda even if it’s not related to the purpose of my letter. It used to to be that we could depend on the Democratic Party to stand up for wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. This is no longer the case as ones like Baldwin and the two phony senators from MN are openly anti-wolf/wildlife and owned by big ag as much as the GOPers are. This is also why Baldwin has been known as “Shammy” Baldwin among wildlife advocates for some time. But she apparently doesn’t care as long as those campaign contributions and “awards” from big ag groups keep rolling in.

For Baldwin and the other anti-wolf/wildlife “Democrats” let one thing be clear. If you support any legislation that returns “management” of the gray wolf to states like Wisconsin, you support legalized DOG FIGHTING. There is no other way around it. Because Wisconsin allows 24/7/365 hound “training” against wolves and allows dogs to be used against wolves during the killing season any Dem that supports giving Wisconsin back “management”  also supports DOG FIGHTING. There is no other way to put it. I expect this from the anti-everything GOPers but for Dems to be on board is shameful and frankly horrifying for the prospects for the survival of not only wolves but all imperiled species. Please call Senator Baldwin and your other Senators and Representatives and ask them this:

Dear Senator/Rep……

As a constituent of yours I ask that you strongly consider voting against 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. Your actions on these issues will be closely watched and strongly considered in future elections. 

Thank you, 

Find Your Senators and Representatives

In Wisconsin, at the state level, we also have a collection of “Democrats” that always seem to pander to the kill everything crowd and now apparently are also for attacking YOUR free speech rights and navigation of YOUR public lands. Yesterday, by a vote of 14-1, the rubber stamp for the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the deceptively named anti-wildlife, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Assembly Natural Resources Committee, approved moving forward with the anti-free speech bill disguised as a “hunter harassment” bill. Only one Democrat had the conviction to vote against the bill:

The Assembly’s natural resources committee passed the Republican-authored bill on a 14-1 vote. The committee’s minority Democrats questioned whether the bill might violate nature lovers’ free speech rights but only one of them, Rep. Diane Hesselbein of Middleton, ultimately voted against the proposal.

Just like the 2012 wolf kill bill the so-called “Democrats” questioned the bill yet still voted for it regardless of the consequences. Why? All that this bill does is legitimize the disgusting acts of hounding and baiting and makes those that participate in them a protected class. This despite no permitting requirement for either activity. Under this bill if you happen to take a picture or even be “in the line of sight” of a hunter, baiter, trapper, or hounder, you are potential criminal if you hold any anti-hunting beliefs. This is apparently okay with our so-called “Democrats?”

The bill would add scouting, dog training, baiting and feeding to the list of protected hunting activities. It also would expand the definition of interference to include remaining in a hunter’s sight, photographing a hunter, using a drone to photograph a hunter and confronting a hunter more than twice with the intention of interfering with or impeding their activity. First-time violators would face a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses would carry steeper fines as well as jail time.

That’s right. If a hounder or baiter gets upset because you are near them, you are a criminal. If you take a picture of a hunter, baiter, hounder, or trapper and happen to hold a different belief or political affiliation than the law enforcement officer and county District Attorney, you are a potential criminal. How can any sane person, let alone an alleged “Democrat” support this bill that criminalizes free speech, free navigation, and penalizes people based on their political ideology or views on “hunting” practices?

Then we have this:

Republicans on the committee joined with Democrats Tuesday and adopted an amendment from Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, which clarifies that someone would have to intentionally interfere with a hunting activity to be convicted. But Rep. Katrina Shankland, a Stevens Point Democrat who voted in favor of the bill, still pressed the committee’s attorney, Larry Konapacki, for his opinion on whether the bill would withstand a constitutional challenge.

“That is a really difficult question,” Konopacki replied. “This is something that might be tested at some point.”

Spreitzer said he was satisfied that it would take an intentional act to land someone in trouble. Shankland pressed on, seeking more reassurance from Konopacki. He told her no one could be convicted unless a prosecutor could prove they intended to engage in harassing conduct.

That seemed to satisfy the Democrats, except Hesselbein. She said she still had questions about the bill. She didn’t ask any, though.

Shankland STILL voted for this sick bill despite acknowledging that it may violate the constitutional rights of a segment of citizens with a different value system while protecting unethical “hunting” practices? This plays right into the revenge politics of the Walker administration and GOP dominated legislature since 2011 and they STILL went along with it?Absolutely shameful but not all together surprising considering that many of the same people voting for this bill also voted for the wolf kill bill in 2012 making Wisconsin the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of dogs to be pitted against wolves. But it’s all about “heritage” and “tradition” to protect the most sadistic and vile among us I guess. These are the “Democrat” committee members that voted for this disgusting assault on free speech and bear hounder/baiter public land takeover:

Representative Milroy

Representative Danou

Representative Shankland

Representative Spreitzer

Please contact them and ask why they support a bill that limits free speech and free navigation of our public lands while making those that practice most sadistic and unethical “hunting” methods a protected class. Also ask them why people, such as hounder and baiters, are now a protected class even though no permit is required for their disgusting activities? Shame on them.

Milroy also had a hand in the recent and astonishingly sexist bill that allowed “blaze pink” clothing for hunting to “attract women” to the “sport.” Danou is the same guy that claims to have “questioned” the wolf kill bill, yet still voted for it in 2012 and bragged to the committee in 2012 that he hoped to get a wolf tag, and then invited other people on the committee to come to his place and “shoot some ducks.” He was also part of Baldwin’s 2012 killing brag fest campaign when she was running for Senator. With “friends” like these……….

So what is the takeaway from the actions of Baldwin and the anti-wildlife/free speech “Democrats” that voted for the bill yesterday? The takeaway is that wildlife and wildlife advocates are now also an imperiled species that have very few friends in the halls of state and federal government. I think that for wildlife advocates we need to realize that the modern Democratic Party is not aligned with our interests and seems to side with the anti-wildlife factions more than not in recent years. It’s time to call them out on it and stop pretending that they are the party of the environment when in reality half are nothing more than GOP-Lite that will pander to the anti-environment factions more often than not while spitting in the faces of their supposed “base.” We will remember their stances when it comes time to vote. If they even care…..

Bill in Wisconsin Legislature Poised to Criminalize Free Speech and Allow a Bear Hounder/Baiter Takeover of Our Public Lands

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

As I wrote about yesterday the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) and their allies are not content just controlling our legislature, courts, DNR,governorship and every other element of state government. They are now, with the help of their members/allies in the legislature, orchestrating a complete and total takeover of our public lands and the First Amendment rights of non-hunter users of those lands under the guise of a “hunter harassment” bill.

This week numerous anti-wildlife legislators introduced and “sponsored” a bill that would criminalize photographing, videotaping, and even being “in the proximity” of hounders, baiters, trappers, and other people harassing and killing our wildlife on OUR public lands. This is not hyperbole or an exaggeration. The WBHA and their legislative allies are waging an all out war on OUR free speech rights and the rights of non-hunters to use OUR public lands. This is the text of a bill, SB338, that will criminalize photography, videotaping, and free navigation of OUR PUBLIC LANDS to protect the unethical practices of hounding, trapping, and baiting:

This bill makes changes to the laws prohibiting certain activities that interfere
with hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Current law prohibits a person from engaging in certain intentional conduct
that interferes with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. The conduct prohibited
under current law (prohibited conduct) includes harassing a wild animal, impeding
or obstructing a person who is engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping, or
impeding a person who is engaged in an activity associated with lawful hunting,
fishing, or trapping. Current law generally defines an activity associated with lawful
hunting, fishing, or trapping, as travel, camping, or other acts that are preparatory
to lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. This bill expands this definition so that it also
includes scouting, target shooting, dog training, and animal baiting or feeding.
The bill also expands the prohibitions in current law so that a person may not
interfere or attempt to interfere with an activity associated with lawful hunting,
fishing, or trapping by engaging in prohibited conduct. The bill also expands the
types of conduct prohibited to include disturbing a lawfully placed hunting stand,
disturbing lawfully placed bait or other feed, using a drone under certain
circumstances, and engaging in a series of acts (serial conduct) that are intended to
impede or obstruct a person engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping or an
activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. The types of serial
conduct prohibited include maintaining a visual or physical proximity to the person,
approaching or confronting the person, or photographing the person.

Want to take you dog for a walk on OUR PUBLIC LANDS? If it pisses off a hounder, trapper, or baiter YOU are committing a criminal act. Want to take a picture or video of wildlife on OUR PUBLIC LANDS? If it “bothers” or you are “in proximity” to a hounder, trappers, or baiter YOU are committing “harassment” and a “criminal act.” If YOU are in the woods and videotape illegal behavior by hounders, trappers, and baiters YOU are “harassing” them under this bill and YOU are the criminal. If YOU happen to just watch a hounder or baiter YOU can be considered a criminal under this bill.

What is even more disturbing than this blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of our citizens is the fact that hounders and baiters in Wisconsin have ZERO oversight and do not need any type of permit to practice their activities. In 2014 baiters “reported” depositing 4,639,707 GALLONS of bear bait (stale junk food like doughnuts) all over our PUBLIC lands ( via Wisconsin DNR email). This is just what was “reported” by those with bear killing licenses and doesn’t take into account the baiting done by those with no kill license. Baiters are allegedly “only” allowed to dump “no more” than 10 gallons of bait at any one site “per visit.” Just take those numbers into account before your jaw hits the floor. IF the rules were followed this would mean that there were 82,340 “reported” bear baiting sites on OUR public lands in Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin DNR. Those are just the “reported” ones. Add in the thousands of hounds being allowed to terrorize wildlife under the guise of “training” each year, again with no licensing requirement, and you can see why the hounders/baiters don’t want anyone to see what they really do in OUR woods. It’s not enough that they already harass, bully, and intimidate other users of public land, they want it all to themselves and even want to make criminals of those with a differing ideology that are also using PUBLIC lands or are reporting and documenting the violations that the Wisconsin DNR refuses to enforce.

These are the sponsors of this blatant attack on free speech and WBHA takeover of OUR public lands. The names are all familiar but for some strange reason a Democrat, Chris Sinicki, is also shown as a co-sponsor of this bill. Wildlife advocates have contacted Rep. Sinicki and she made it very clear that she has NOTHING to do with this bill and would NEVER support such a thing. It is absolutely shameful that the people behind this bill reported Rep. Sinicki as being in support of this bill.

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October 15, 2015 – Introduced by Senators Moulton, Gudex, Harsdorf, Olsen and
Kapenga, cosponsored by Representatives Jarchow, Allen, Ballweg, Born,
Czaja, Edming, Gannon, Horlacher, Hutton, Jagler, Kleefisch, Knodl,
Kremer, Kulp, T. Larson, Murphy, Mursau, A. Ott, Petryk, Quinn, Tittl and
Sinicki. Referred to Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry.

It’s no shock that WBHA and NRA member, Adam Jarchow, is leading the charge here and that convicted wildlife violator, Joel Kleefish, also signed on. Please contact each of the legislators behind this blatant attack on free speech and those with differing ideology along with your own and demand that they dos any and all support for this.

Click on the names of the above legislators to be directed to their websites and contact information.

Go to the below page and put your address into the “Find My Legislators” area to contact them and ask that they DO NOT support this blatant attack on free speech, WBHA takeover of OUR public lands, and the criminalization of having differing ideologies.

Wisconsin State Legislature 

As I stated yesterday there is a coordinated effort to provide cover for any and all “hunting” activities in this state no matter how deplorable or unethical. These proposals should come as no surprise to anyone that has witnessed the gutting and selling off of anything deemed “progressive” or “liberal” since 2011. Wisconsin has made efforts to criminalize free speech before and has gone out of their way to give those that kill wildlife free reign to take over our public lands. This bill is just another example of what extremist one party rule looks like. What else do these bought and paid for politicians need to do to our rights before they get voted out? The entire country saw real fast what this kind of neo-fascism would look like on the national level and they shut it down in two months. Are we not smart enough in Wisconsin to do the same thing?

Wisconsin GOP Legislature Seeks to Attack Free Speech, Allow Toddlers to Hunt, and Promote Trespassing and Poaching: Just Another Week in the Bloodsport Capital of the United States

This should be ancient history. Instead this is

This activity should be ancient history like this painting. Instead this is “recreation” in Wisconsin and more important than YOUR First Amendment rights.

The poor great white hunter. They are such a persecuted entity in the state of Wisconsin. Not only can they shoot, arrow, hound, trap,bait, and kill almost any species throughout the year they also control the governorship, legislature, Natural Resources Board, courts, county boards, and apparently every other government entity, but that is apparently not enough.

As I pointed out last week there is a new extremist killing cartel shill in the legislature to take the place of the disgraced Scott Suder (R-ALEC) as the mouthpiece for the bear hounders. This week the legislative mouthpiece for the extremist killing cartels, Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-WBHA), introduced legislation to criminalize the First Amendment for those that share a different ideology and have the nerve to videotape and report on the myriad of illegal and unethical behaviors perpetrated by bear hounders and baiters on OUR public lands.

Jarchow stands with hunters? I didn't know hounders, baiters, and trappers were real

Jarchow stands with hunters? I didn’t know hounders, baiters, and trappers were real “hunters.”

Yes nothing says “family friendly” like using packs of vicious dogs to rip apart bear and other wildlife 24/7/365. Nothing says “family friendly” like depositing almost FIVE MILLION gallons of stale junk food on our public lands for SIX MONTHS in the hopes of conditioning and later executing a bear while eating. I would also like to know which “fishermen” are being “harassed?” While I am not a fan of fishing I know plenty of fishermen that sure wouldn’t want to be lumped in with hounders, baiters, and trappers.

Those “few precious days” for bear hounders start July 1st of each year and lasts until mid October. For bear baiters they have a full SIX MONTHS to deposit their stale junk food on OUR public lands. But that is never enough for extremist wildlife killers and their shills like Jarchow.

Let’s get to the real point behind this bill. The bear hounders/baiters and their mouthpiece, lobbyist Bob Welch, know that the group Wolf Patrol has shone a light onto the depraved and often illegal world of the whole hounding/baiting “culture” so this bill is another legislative attack against those with a differing ideology. One look at the terminology that Jarchow (R-WBHA) uses in his “press release” shows exactly what this is about. It also doesn’t hurt to look at those commenting on his Facebook page and the symbols that they use on their profiles. Here is an example of what is used by at least two of his fans.

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One of Rep. Jarchow's bill supporters. Screenshot shared under Fair Use.

One of Rep. Jarchow’s bill supporters. Screenshot shared under Fair Use.

This is all about wolves and the desire of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) and affiliated groups to eradicate them from our landscape. The calls of “smoke a pack a day” from these people show exactly what the ultimate goal is. While I may have small differences with the Wolf Patrol, they are doing what needs to be done. They are showing blatant illegal behavior perpetrated by hounders, baiters, and trappers while the Wisconsin DNR does NOTHING as usual. Jarchow and his buddies in the hounder/baiter groups don’t like the public seeing what their “sport” is all about and how they flaunt the breaking of laws and defile OUR public lands with their bait and legalized animal fighting.

This bill like so many others in Wisconsin is emblematic of what our state has become since 2010. Freedom of Speech only applies if you agree with the majority party currently in power and if you are a politician/supporter caught breaking the law they will just change the law to make the illegal behavior legal. Then if you are a “watchdog” that catches onto and reports the illegal behavior you will be demonized and the law will be changed just as Jarchow is trying to do here.

Jarchow makes the claim that the thought of a “hunt” being “ruined” by an “extremist group” makes him “sick.” You know what makes me sick? The disingenuous crap put forth by Jarchow and his followers that makes it seem like using PUBLIC lands and exercising our Freedom of Speech rights are something to be made illegal. While Jarchow and his benefactors in the killing cartels love to make inflammatory and untrue accusations they seem to be forgetting that it was the hounders that were harassing, blocking, and following those seeking to document what the hounders and baiters were doing as shown in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrNyjK7eL_M

The hounders blocking the Wolf Patrol vehicle can even be heard claiming that “they are the law.” This is not an uncommon mindset amount hounders and baiters in Wisconsin. They are pandered to by legislators like Jarchow and are essentially given free reign by the Wisconsin DNR and local law enforcement agencies to do whatever they want. They can dump MILLIONS of gallons of stale junk food as bear bait all over OUR public lands, allow their dogs to run rampant on OUR public lands, and get a $2500 check from the Wisconsin DNR each time one of those free roaming dogs gets killed by a wolf, but it’s wildlife advocates that are “extremists” and doing the “harassing?”

What Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-WBHA) is going here is criminalizing free speech and the free navigation of OUR public lands. He is writing into law that hounders, baiters, and trappers will have free rein to behave as they want on OUR public lands and the “criminal” in the matter are the ones documenting illegal behavior. Remember that most of the hounding and baiting occurs on OUR National Forest land and this smacks of nothing more than a takeover of these lands by the extremist “hunting” elements in our state. It is also another example of trying to criminalize free speech and those that have a differing ideology from the right-wing extremists that currently run our state. Jarchow is a wealthy lawyer and should at least have some understanding of the United States Constitution and American law, but his false premise of a “right to hunt” taking presence over free speech and free passage on OUR public lands is highly disturbing. Not surprising considering the power drunk cabal that he is a part of at the state Capitol, but still disturbing.

Jarchow, in his “press release” makes the claim that hunting is a “family friendly” activity and it is somehow the “job” of government and elected representatives to get kids outside and killing’ instead of staying “indoors watching TV or surfing the internet.” Not coincidentally there are two more disturbing and likely related proposals that have been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature.

The first proposal spearheaded by Wisconsin Representative and convicted wildlife violator, Joel Kleefisch, would remove the age limit for hunting in Wisconsin for “mentored hunting” along with any limitation on the number and types of weapons that can be used.

SB 301

An Act to repeal 29.592 (3); and to amend 29.592 (1) (intro.) of the statutes;
relating to: eliminating age requirements for participating in the hunting
mentorship program and hunting devices authorized to be used under the
hunting mentorship program.

Want to take your infant or toddler out and let them hound, trap, arrow, bait, or shoot wildlife? This proposal would allow that. Is it a coincidence that Jarchow mentioned how horrible it was for youth to watch TV and use the internet when there is all that good killin’ to be done?

The next proposal, also championed by convicted wildlife violator, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, seeks to remove the current decades old requirement that hunters wear backtags for identification and to help prevent trespassing.

Under current law, when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issues
a person an archer hunting license, a deer hunting license, a bear hunting license,
an elk hunting license, a sports license, or a conservation patron license, DNR also
issues a back tag to be attached to the person’s outermost garment when that person
is hunting as authorized by the license. This bill eliminates the requirement that
DNR issue a back tag with any of these licenses and the requirement that the licensee
attach a back tag to any garment while hunting.

This proposal should be renamed the 2015 Poaching and Trespassing Protection and Enablement Act. What benefit is there to the general public for the backtag requirement to be removed other than to protect those breaking the law? Just like Jarchow’s attack on the First Amendment it seems that the whole goal is to provide complete cover for those that want to poach, trespass, and otherwise violate the law. What other explanation is there? The answer is easy enough to find by checking to see which “hunter” groups support these proposals.

For the backtag removal bill these are the groups lobbying in support:

2015-2016 Legislative Session
Senate Bill 289
Relating to: back tag requirements. (FE)
1
National Rifle Association of America
For For
Notified Date: 10/13/2015
2
Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association
For For
Notified Date: 10/8/2015
3
Wisconsin FORCE (Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, & Educators, Inc.)
For For
Notified Date: 10/8/2015

For the removal of age limits for the “hunter mentorship” program:

2015-2016 Legislative Session
Senate Bill 301
Relating to: eliminating age requirements for participating in the hunting mentorship program and hunting devices authorized to be used under the hunting mentorship program.
1
National Rifle Association of America
For For
Notified Date: 10/13/2015
2
Whitetails of Wisconsin
For For
Notified Date: 10/12/2015
3
Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association
For For
Notified Date: 10/12/2015
4
Wisconsin FORCE (Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs, & Educators, Inc.)
For For
Notified Date: 10/12/2015

What do all of these groups have in common? All but the NRA have the same lobbyist. That lobbyist is none other than Bob Welch, he of the windtunnel tested hair and hatred of wolves. The one group listed as in favor of eliminating the age restriction that he lobbies for, “Whitetails of Wisconsin,” is a lobbying group for canned hunting operations in the state. I guess allowing toddlers to shoot and kill hand raised animals behind fences must be good for business.

It’s the same names and same nefarious agendas at play here as those seeking to eradicate our wolf population. In what world does it make sense to criminalize free speech and then work to protect poachers and trespassers from being identified?

Please let Rep. Jarchow know what you think about his attempt to criminalize free speech here:

(608) 267-2365

Rep.Jarchow@legis.wi.gov

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/28/jarchow/contact-me/

Then contact YOUR state representatives and speak out against all of these insane proposals:

Find Your Legislator 

The ONLY positive to be taken from these proposals is that the hounders/baiters are scared that their sadistic behavior and “culture” of legalized animal fighting and unethical practices are being exposed to the light. Those that participate in and benefit from the killing culture of this state are also in a panic because more and more people are turning away from bloodsports or not participating in them starting in their youth. This means less and less funding for agencies like the Wisconsin DNR that exist solely for the benefit of those that kill, torment, and exploit our “natural resources.” Much like the deplorable “ag-gag” bills across the country Jarchow’s attack on free speech and navigation of OUR public lands will get its day in court. Glass houses……stones………

**UPDATE**

It turns out that according to the legislative website of Rep. Adam Jarchow, he is a member of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, National Rifle Association, and the Polk County Sportsmen’s Club. No conflict of interest here is there?

Biography
Born St. Paul, Minn., November 10, 1978; married; 2 children. Graduate Clear Lake H.S. 1997; B.S. finance U. of South Florida 2001; J.D. U. of Florida 2004. Attorney. Member: Polk Co. Economic Development Corporation (secy.); National Rifle Assn.; Polk Co. Sportsmen’s Club; Wis. Bear Hunters Assn.; Apple River Fire Dept.
Elected to Assembly 2014.

Wisconsin’s Most Rabid Anti-Wolf Zealot is Up To Her Old Tricks Again With Fear Mongering County Board Resolution

Arthur_Rackham_Little_Red_Riding_Hood

The Polk County Board apparently believes that Little Red Riding Hood is non-fiction.

It should come as no surprise that fear mongering and rural arrogance plays a front and center role when it comes to wolves and other wildlife in Wisconsin. Even when wolves were not listed under the Endangered Species Act from 2012 to 2014 the anti-wolf factions were still pushing for their numbers to be reduced to a token sum or for outright eradication. Wisconsin made sure to comply to these demands by immediately instituting three reckless and brutal killing seasons with arbitrary “quotas” that were ignored each year, the inclusion of packs of vicious dogs to be used against wolves, unregulated “training” of those same dogs against wolves 24/7/365, and allowing killing to be done in other barbaric ways with little to no oversight.

Even with the state sanctioned persecution and eradication policies it was still never enough for the rabid anti-wolf factions hellbent on completely eliminating the species from the landscape of Wisconsin. Disgusting, sexist, racist, and exploitative anti-wolf sites began to fester all over the internet and especially on Facebook. One in particular had open boasting from it’s “fans” about poaching and other illegal acts being carried out against wolves. In fact a recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that contrary to the propaganda of the anti-wolf factions that pushed the disgusting 2012 Wisconsin wolf kill bill, the state sanctioned killing seasons made the anti-wolf factions hate the species even more.

“There was a notion held widely in the scientific literature and said at public meetings that a public hunting season would increase acceptance of wolves,” says Adrian Treves, professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and co-author of the study. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cited “maintaining social tolerance” as a goal of the wolf harvest in a statement in 2013.

Treves isn’t certain whether most hunters in Wisconsin will ever embrace wolves because the predators feed on the white-tailed deer that hunters value. He suggests the harvest may have reduced the value of wolves in Wisconsin relative to other game species — permit prices were cut in half after the first year — consistent with findings demonstrated by studies of other large carnivores throughout the world.

Even after the reckless killing seasons of 2012 through 2014 the hate of this species has only seemed to intensify. The anti-wolf killing cartels continue to spread lies and propaganda that blame wolves for the alleged “decline” in the deer population and for being a “threat” to children and grandchildren all over the world. Even though the anti-wolf Wisconsin DNR itself published a survey showing vast support for the wolf population and studies showing that harsh winters, starvation, and other predators have taken a far larger toll on the sacred deer population, the anti-wolf fear mongers still seek to push the species back to near or total eradication.

One of the backdoor tactics that has been used over the last several years by anti-wolf zealot(s) has been to get the county boards in rural northern counties in Wisconsin to adopt “resolutions” stating that they want 350 or LESS wolves in Wisconsin. The chief proponent of these resolutions is none other than the rabid anti-wolf zealot Laurie Groskopf. Groskopf has been know for a long time as being the loudest voice among the anti-wolf zealots in Wisconsin seeking to push the species back to the brink. While sitting on the boards of two of the most vocal anti-wolf groups, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Groskopf has been allowed to represent both on the Wisconsin DNR’s anti-wolf “wolf advisory committee.” Groskopf is also a long time member of the anti-wolf Wisconsin Conservation Congress and has used that platform to push her agenda for wolf eradication. However, in recent months even the rabidly anti-wolf Conservation Congress has refused to adopt the extreme proposals Groskopf has been pushing for and that has led her to write to various newspapers to throw a hissy fit. Most laughable of all was the letter that she wrote to the openly “liberal” Capital Times in Madison whining about how poor Laurie was no longer going to work with the Conservation Congress because they didn’t adopt her wolf eradication proposals.

Dear Editor: When I got involved with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, many of my friends said I would be disappointed. They said the Congress existed to rubber-stamp DNR policies.

I thought the Congress was the greatest idea since sliced bread. Imagine, a citizen-based organization created for the purpose of influencing public policy. The essence of our democracy is allowing regular people to have input into administrative and legislative decisions.

After more than five frustrating years, I’ve decided this “good old boys club” is not fulfilling its purpose. As a respected fellow delegate told me, “With the Congress, it’s not what you know but who you know.”

One example: No Wolf Committee resolution passed at the spring hearings has enjoyed the support of WCC leaders in the past five years. A 2011 vote approved a wolf population goal, with 3,989 in favor and 827 opposed. However, the Wolf Committee chair, handpicked by the Congress chair, chose to support a different population goal than the one approved by the public at the spring hearings.

The annual spring hearings are Monday, April 13, in each of our 72 counties. Citizens are allowed to introduce resolutions, and they vote on resolutions that have gone through a rigorous WCC process. But if these resolutions are ignored by the Congress leaders, what is the point of attending these hearings?

Sadly, my friends were right. I have decided that the Congress leadership is dedicated to pleasing the DNR upper management. The WCC’s purpose has been subverted, and its promise goes unfulfilled. I’m moving on to more productive pursuits.

Laurie Groskopf

Tomahawk

Do you need any tissue yet? This next letter from LG to the Wausau Daily Herald will surely make you cry.

Did you ever wonder what happens to those Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring hearing resolutions introduced by locals in each county? Sometimes the answer is that they get squashed by the WCC leadership.

This happened recently with two local resolutions from last year’s Marathon County spring hearing. The subject of both was the wolf situation.

One resolution was to provide unlimited harvest opportunities for wolves in harvest Zone 6, which was originally called “unsuitable wolf habitat” by the DNR experts. The experts later abandoned that label because they felt there were ample opportunities for wolves to live in most areas of Wisconsin originally designated as inferior wolf habitat.

The resolution, which passed in Marathon County with a vote of 122 in favor and 29 against, promoted an unlimited quota in wolf harvest Zone 6.

Local resolutions pass through an assigned committee, and if forwarded are considered by an executive council of the WCC every January. If the council forwards the resolution, it appears on the spring hearing questionnaire in April. If it is rejected, it dies.

The executive council discussed Marathon County’s resolution, and the chief DNR lawyer, Tim Andryk, told the group that the judges wouldn’t find this acceptable. He means federal judges, such as the one who recently returned wolves to endangered species status until their numbers are restored throughout their historic range.

Since when do we manage wildlife according to what some eastern judge thinks? The motion to allow unlimited wolf quotas in Zone 6 was rejected by the WCC executive council (see January minutes on the DNR web site).

A second resolution attempted to convince the WCC representative on the DNR’s wolf advisory committee to support the 2011 spring hearing vote for a wolf goal of 350 or fewer.

When it came time to vote at the DNR advisory committee, the representative called the committee dysfunctional, moved to have DNR staff select the options to present in the draft wolf management plan (this was rejected) and refused to vote on the official position of the WCC.

So this resolution also was not forwarded to the spring hearing.

Twenty-five county boards have passed resolutions supporting a wolf goal of 350, or 350 or fewer. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Farmers Union and numerous other agriculture organizations support this goal. Almost every major hunting organization supports a wolf goal of either 350 or 350 or less.

With the upcoming county deer committees scheduled for March and the WCC spring hearings scheduled in April, one has to ask whether it is worth devoting time to such efforts that are largely controlled by DNR staff and WCC leaders who often seem intent on rubber-stamping the DNR’s decisions. After over five years associating with WCC in a very intensive manner, I will no longer be wasting my time attempting to influence natural resource policies through WCC meetings.

Laurie Groskopf lives in Tomahawk.

Apparently now that LG feels abandoned by the Conservation Congress she is going back to her old tried and true method of getting county boards to pass resolutions that build on the fear mongering myths and propaganda that led wolves to be eradicated the first time in this state. On May 19, 2015 the Polk County Board approved a resolution in support of the having 350 or LESS wolves in the state and that wolves were a threat to your pets and children, especially if they walk around the woods wearing red hoods. While Groskopf is not specifically mentioned in the article, this resolution has her fingerprints all over it along with the resolution submission bearing her name on the Polk County website.

In anticipation of Wisconsin regaining control over its gray wolf population, the Polk County Board passed a resolution May 19 in support of keeping wolf numbers to 350 or fewer in the state. The resolution chiefly concerns wolves in northern Wisconsin, where the core population resides. 

David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist for Wisconsin’s DNR, said that when the number was established, there were about 200 wolves in the state, and 350 was set as a goal. There has been some debate since over whether it was ever meant to be considered a cap. (It was NOT)

According to MacFarland, the resolution Polk’s board approved is a citizen-led initiative meant to influence the agency as it creates a wolf management plan.

“The DNR is in the process of writing a species management plan that would contain various objectives,” said MacFarland. ‘The resolution is aimed at pressuring the DNR to adopt a population of 350.”

According to MacFarland, whether the DNR adopts that number or not, it will first approach the public. The agency is planning to hold meetings throughout the state from mid to late summer to ask the public what kind of wolf management it would like.

Then the fear mongering and “them wolf’s done be eatin’ all the deer” lies begin:

Among Polk County Board members, reasons for reducing the wolf population included wolves’ threat to deer, livestock, pets and humans.

“When you have a high wolf population, they affect the deer,” said Supervisor Patricia Schmidt, Luck, as she introduced the resolution. “[Wolves] affect the farm livestock and family pets.”

Board Chair William Johnson noted that he wasn’t aware of any claims that had come to the Community, Development, Recreation and Education Committee for damage done by wolves, but he imagined that predation on the deer population was evident.

Sound familiar? These are the exact same scare tactics folks like LG, the killing cartels, politicians, and big ag interests have been using for years. All of these claims have been proven false time and time again yet the lies persist. But the real reason for this resolution reared it’s head later in the hearing:

Supervisor Jay Luke, Amery, defended the population goal, saying that the maximum had been established through a series of hearings, with experts weighing in to set a number for a healthy population. The limit is meant to keep wolves from expanding into high-population areas.

Luke also argued that special interest groups were responsible for the wolf’s current protected listing.

“They sit in an urban area and dictate what we should be doing in western Wisconsin,” said Luke. “I’m in full support of this to let our government do what’s necessary to control what we believe is a problem.”

There was never a “maximum” number established. There was a “goal” number that would allow the state to “manage” the species but it was never intended to be a maximum. If that is the case then every single species in Wisconsin should be “managed” to the “goal” number and no higher. That should include deer. It’s only fair, right?

Then we have the old complaint of “interest groups” being responsible for the relisting of the wolves in the Great Lakes. The anti-wolf/wildlife factions across the country always complain about “outside interest groups” when things do not go the way they want them to go. Funny how there seems to be no mention of the anti-wolf “interest groups” that wrote the 2012 wolf kill bill and are lobbying congress to pass legislation that will destroy the Endangered Species Act.

Those comments aside we then see the real reason for this resolution. In another example of rural arrogance people like Jay Luke stomp their feet and scream that no one from the “big city” is going to tell them what to do. Apparently there aren’t other problems for rural Wisconsin and Polk County to deal with other than the scourge of wolves. How about the recent article complaining about how some how rural Wisconsin residents claim that they have a hard time “accessing” food? Also, Polk County should really be worried about the real predators and monsters in their midst. Take for example the recent arrest of several people involved in a cock fighting ring in Polk and St. Croix Counties. Maybe those are the predators and real monsters that these people need to worry about being around their children instead of fear mongering over the big bad wolf?

Only one member of the Polk County Board spoke out against this fear mongering “don’t tell me what to do” resolution. 

The lone voice of objection to the 350 maximum came from Supervisor Warren Nelson, Amery.

“I have a problem limiting wolves for a couple of reasons,” he said. “Wolves control the deer and elk populations, which protects vegetation from being over-consumed.”

Nelson cited the re-balancing of the ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park after wolves were reintroduced there as evidence of his assertion.

According to Nelson — and contrary to the idea that wolf predation costs the county in claims for damage to livestock and pets — Polk approves more claims for damage done by deer, which get into feed and crops, than by wolves.

Nelson went on to question the legitimacy of the resolution’s claim that wolves are a threat to people.

“I’ve never heard of a documented case of a wolf attacking a human, and I see that’s part of this resolution, to protect humans,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. … I think it would be reckless to kill off half of the wolf population.”

Thank you Mr. Nelson for being the lone voice of reason among the fear mongering bumpkins that sit on the board with you. You didn’t buy into LG’s lies and propaganda and we thank you for that. The rest should be ashamed for buying into the lies and barstool biology that is trying to dominate the narrative of wolves in Wisconsin. Please take the time to thank Board Member Nelson for being the only one of the group not to buy into the lies and fear mongering approved in this resolution. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask the other board members why they believe the lies and misinformation that Laurie Groskopf and her fellow barstool biologists spread in these resolutions.

Polk County Board Members