Wildlife in Crisis: Wisconsin Doubles Bobcat Kill Quota and The Lack of Democracy in “Wildlife Management”

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m sure that all of you hear or read daily the time tested propaganda about how the killing cartels claim that “hunters” are “conservationists” and “fund conservation.” You also hear how non-hunters don’t “fund” anything. Not only are these claims greatly embellished, they are also patently false. Not once have I ever heard a non-hunter refuse to pay into the conservation system that land-wise we already mostly fund through our tax dollars. The only thing that killing license fees pay for, especially in Wisconsin, are the agencies that exist solely to create “hunter opportunity” despite platitudes about “managing” wildlife for ALL citizens. Paying for agencies that farm non-native wildlife to be killed is not “conservation” and frankly it’s completely disingenuous to claim otherwise.

The most recent example of fake “conservation” is how the Wisconsin DNR has decided to DOUBLE the kill quota of the state’s bobcat population. Once again the DNR has relied on the selfish wants and bloodlust of the killing cartels and the general public has had ZERO say in this decision. At last estimate there were believed to be around 2300 bobcats in Wisconsin. This year hounders and trappers will be able to kill off at least one-third of the estimated population. Is it because bobcats are threatening grandchildren at bus stops like the anti-wolf zealots claim wolves are? Is it because bobcats are “eating all the deer” as the anti-wolf zealots falsely claim wolves are doing? Of course not. It’s so the skins of these animals can be sold to “fur buyers” and shipped to the wildlife black holes like China and Russia. In other words it’s very likely that these bobcat skins will end up in China or Russia and  made into “luxury” vanity clothing that often sells for between $50,000 and $100,000.

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Yes this sick blood trade still exists in Wisconsin and across the nation with a vast number of animal skins ending up in China or Russia. Notice how the DNR refers to trappers as “fur harvesters” as if the hounded, bludgeoned, drowned, crushed, or poisoned animal grew out of the ground like corn or soybeans.

From a news article about the doubling of the bobcat killing quota:

Bobcat population estimate research is led by Dr. Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.

“DNR works closely with trappers and hunters to learn more about this elusive, but common, species – together, we are working to refine our understanding of Wisconsin’s bobcat population and are finding that Wisconsin’s bobcat population is healthy and robust enough to provide additional harvest opportunities,” Roberts said. “The information we gather from ongoing research efforts will be used to update population models and continue to guide harvest quotas in the future.”

Notice what is missing from this quote? Not one mention of non-killing groups or persons being involved in the decision. Not one mention of scientists or biologists from outside of the DNR having any input into this decision. None of this comes as a surprise. The Wisconsin DNR, like many “fish and game” agencies in the United States are the very antithesis of democracy and often their statutory obligations to work for ALL citizens. Instead of asking the 87 percent of Wisconsin citizens who don’t recreationally kill wildlife if they are okay with one-third of the estimated bobcat population to be trapped, hounded, and killed all in the span of three months, the DNR just took the word of the trappers and hounders who seek to kill and profit off of the dead cats. Of course they don’t ask us or allow is to participate in these decisions because despite statutory obligations and wildlife being in the “public trust,” they only work for their “customers” and those whose killing license fees pay for the DNR’s operations. Every time non-recreational killing citizens have tried to change this funding mechanism we have been immediately blocked or our proposals have been shot down. Why is that? It’s because if we are allowed to help fund wildlife “management” in this state we would be obligated to have a “seat at the table” for “management” decisions. There is no way that the politically powerful killing special interests like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, various deer hunting groups, and the deceptively named hunter/trapper/hounder front group the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation would allow a non-killing voice to have any say in how wildlife is “managed” here in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

A recent study produced some very interesting poll results about who the real conservationists are in the United States. Despite the killing cartels staking claim to being “conservationists” this study by three very well regarded wildlife/environmental scientists casts major doubt on that claim shows who the real conservationists likely are.

The lack of responsiveness by wildlife agencies to animal welfare interests is not surprising. Wildlife professionals often view conservation and animal rights as antagonistic (Schmidt 1990, Muth and Jamison 2000). The Wildlife Society’s standing position statement, Animal Rights Philosophy and Wildlife Conservation, describes the conflict between animal rights and wildlife conservation as “profound.”

Yet, that antagonistic view does not seem to be shared by the general public — or even by most self-identified conservationists, as the results of our recent survey show. We polled more than 1,200 adults via KnowledgePanel, a representative online panel of U.S. residents recruited to take part in survey research. We asked them to indicate the extent to which they identified as hunters, conservationists and animal rights advocates. Although a plurality (37 percent) self-identified as both conservationists and animal rights advocates, far fewer (27 percent) self-identified as both conservationists and hunters. Those identifying as conservationists were more likely to identify as animal rights advocates (r = 0.52) than as hunters (r = 0.26).

Animal Rights and Conservation: Conflicting or Compatible? (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318275505_Animal_Rights_and_Conservation_Conflicting_or_Compatible [accessed Jul 31, 2017].

While I personally do not identify as an “animal rights advocate” and prefer to be considered an “animal protectionist/environmental preservationist” this study outlines what many of us in this movement have known all along. This is that killing is NOT conservation and many who participate in modern “hunting,” trapping, and hounding are the antithesis of what “conservation” is supposed to be. The very idea that recreational killing somehow fosters a spirit of “conservation” and protecting “sustainable” wildlife populations is absurd. To me that is like saying that promiscuous sex promotes abstinence. The same absurdity is at play with how the word “conservation” has been co-opted and redefined by the killing special interests and the politicians and agencies under their thumb. Agencies like the Wisconsin DNR have turned our lands into giant “game farms” for favored species and only seek to further artificially inflate those populations to appease Wisconsin’s never satisfied “sportsmen” no matter the impact on the ecosystem and the future survival of individual species. Killing off over one-third of a wildlife population in one “season” flies directly in the face of what the word “conserve” means. It is also absurd that living and breathing creatures are labeled as a “resource” and that those killing them are allowed to profit off of OUR PUBLIC “resources.” Enough is enough.

Bringing Democracy to Wildlife Management

It’s time to bring democracy to how wildlife is “managed” in Wisconsin and around the nation. These agencies, state legislatures, and the boards overseeing them are clearly discriminating against non-killing individuals and groups that have an interest in how wildlife is “managed” in this state. If you are in or near Madison and want to have a conversation about how we can bring democracy to openly undemocratic institutions like the Wisconsin DNR, please consider attending this FREE event on Thursday August 3rd in Madison.

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This is a discussion that needs to be had. Please consider attending and add your voice to the rising call for democracy in how wildlife is “managed.”

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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.

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

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

How is Breeding, Raising, and Releasing Non-Native Birds to be Killed, “Conservation?”

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Female and male Chinese ringneck pheasants. These are the type of birds that are raised and released by the Wisconsin DNR for “hunter opportunity.” Photo via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most ridiculously framed arguments that the killing cartels use to justify their wanton bloodlust is that if they don’t kill wildlife, they will die. Yes that is their chief argument along with a myriad of other absurd statements. The modern “great white hunter” would lead you to believe that they are doing you a “favor” by killing millions upon millions of animals each and every year. They will also tell you they “fund conservation” through their meager killing license fees. Another fallacy. The money from those killing licenses go to fund the agencies that exist only to provide more killing opportunity. Why do I say this? Each year in Wisconsin an untold number of hand-raised and fed non-native Asian ring-neck pheasants are bred, raised, and released by the Wisconsin DNR at taxpayer expense with one goal in mind. That goal is to provide living targets to help satiate the bloodlust of the modern “great white hunter.” A question that seems elusive here is, how does raising tens of thousands of NON-NATIVE Asian birds bred only to be shot have anything to do with “conservation?” It doesn’t despite what the Wisconsin DNR and killing cartels will tell you. The state of Wisconsin has made the breeding of this non-native species of pheasant into a money maker for them to “produce” more and more birds only for the purpose of being blown out of the sky or off the ground by “great white hunters” and their shotguns strictly for “recreation.” The Wisconsin DNR, by providing facilities, staff, and taxpayer money is in the canned “hunting” business and has been for a very long time.

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Screenshot from the Wisconsin DNR Facebook page.

The DNR and killing cartels will tell you that this is “conservation” in action. I ask what exactly is being “conserved” other than the money being brought in by the “hunters” waiting at pheasant release sites with dog and shotgun in hand? In my view there is nothing even remotely related to “conservation” with this program and it exists to further exploit the sick and twisted blood cult that “hunting” in Wisconsin has become. There aren’t enough WILD animals to kill in Wisconsin? There aren’t enough “hunter opportunities” when there is one killing “season” or another open for 365 days a year? Apparently not enough to satiate that good old Wisconsin “heritage” of recreational killing. Of course should this surprise anyone? The DNR, like every other state or federal killing agency, likes to pretend that their obsession with killing, killing, and killing some more is all just “wholesome family fun” and “conservation.” If their world animals are not born, they are “produced.” In their world animals do not grow up, they are “recruited.” In their world animals are not killed, they are “harvested,” or in the most recent example of fluffing up the act of killing they are a “target animal reduced to possession.”

Kill, kill, kill some more, and if there isn’t enough to kill, the Wisconsin DNR will just “produce” more non-native animals for you to kill. Excuse me. I meant for you to “reduce to possession. As I have asked before: How is this “conservation?”

 

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?

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.