Tag Archives: wolf hunt

Activist: Wisconsin DNR seeks to eradicate endangered wolf pack based on a fake attack story

In the wake of a discredited claim of an alleged “attack” against a hunter and NRA cheerleader last month in Adams County, the Wisconsin DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are slaughtering protected wolves in the 4,965-acre Colburn Wildlife Area.

The eradication has been ordered despite the fact that Great Lakes wolves were relisted last year under the Endangered Species Act, thus making it illegal to hunt the animals.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel outdoor writer Paul Smith brought both the falsehood of the attack claim and the subsequent wolf hunt to light despite apparent efforts by the Wisconsin DNR and USFWS to keep both a secret for as long as possible.

If wolves cannot live in areas designated for wildlife then where can they live? The reality is that wolf-hating states like Wisconsin and others will allow no more than a token population and will use any excuse to kill them in conjunction with the anti-wolf USFWS.

One of the prime reasons that a federal judge relisted wolves in the Great Lakes was because of inadequate “management” plans that kept the species in isolated pockets. It seems that, especially in Wisconsin, the moment wolves migrate out of their isolated pockets in the northern part of the state they must be eradicated. This is shameful and a direct affront to the ESA and wildlife advocates. It’s bad enough that for three years wolf haters were allowed to go deep into wolf habitat, trap, arrow, hound, bait, and destroy entire wolf packs. Now they are eradicating packs because of one alleged incident involving a convicted wildlife rule violator that just happened to run right to an NRA propaganda magazine right after the non-attack.

The Wisconsin DNR and other anti-wolf government agencies and killing cartels have been looking for ways to continue the eradicating wolves following the December 2014 re-listing. It looks like they found their tactic.

This one non-“attack” and the response to eradicate a wolf population in a wildlife area opens the door for every single anti-wolf element in the state to claim other non-“attacks” and then the WI DNR and USFWS will come in with traps and guns blazing. This is shameful but unfortunately a common practice used by anti-wolf states to keep the populations isolated to small pockets and prevent them from migrating.

We see this also in Wyoming, where they have been practicing an “under the radar” eradication, Minnesota, where keeping wolves in one area is written into their “management plan,” and in Wisconsin where anti-wolf groups like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, SCI, and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation seek to have open eradication in the Southern two-thirds of the state.

Adams County, toward the southern end of Wisconsin’s wolf range, has had two wolf packs since at least 2010, according to DNR reports.

MacFarland said the Adams County wolves have not caused problems in the past.

As a result of the recent wolf encounter, however, the DNR added a notation to its 2015 list of wolf depredations and other incidents. The Oct. 1 update includes a check mark in Adams County for a “non-livestock threat.”

Two confirmed cases of wolf depredations on livestock have occurred this year in the southern half of Wisconsin, one each in Columbia and Crawford counties.

Nellessen’s incident and the agencies’ handling of it have drawn added attention because, if confirmed, it would have been the first verified wolf attack on a human in Wisconsin.

Since their investigation and interviews found no physical contact with the wolves and no injury to the self-professed “victim,”  law enforcement officials did not classify it as an attack.

It’s quite amazing that the only people ever “attacked” or “threatened” by wolves are hunters and others who hate the species. Why don’t we hear about hikers having non-“attacks” or being “threatened?” I and other wildlife advocates can see right through the game being played by anti-wolf government agencies and the killing cartels that pull their strings. They are frustrated that Congress hasn’t yet been able to strip protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming, so they are coming up with alternate near-eradication and harassment plans to keep wolves at bare minimum numbers without attracting too much attention to their real motives. They use fragile excuses like “threats to human safety” and “livestock depredation” to continue with their eradication policies.

If wolves aren’t even allowed to be seen or live in wildlife areas, then where can they exist? Even in the areas where they are “allowed” to live, such as in our National Forests, they are still subjected to non -stop harassment by thousands of loose hounds, traps, and being baited into one of the almost 70,000 bear bait piles and 5 MILLION gallons of bait spread around the northern 1/3 of the state.

Following decades of massive deer overpopulation and the non-stop deer killing seasons the deer population in Wisconsin appears to finally be reaching a reasonable level that the ecosystem can support. Unfortunately that’s not good enough for the great white hunters in Wisconsin and the DNR. Brutal winters, endless killing seasons, vehicle crashes, and disease have allegedly brought deer numbers down slightly over the past decade and of course the great white hunters blame the few hundred wolves in the state, despite facts to the contrary. Add in the constant whining by the bear hounders, and it’s obvious what the endgame of the puppet Wisconsin DNR is.

Wolves will pay the price despite the DNR admitting through their own studies that wolf predation on deer (you know, their natural diet) is minuscule at best. Despite that fact, wolves will be pushed to near eradication in spite of their current ESA protections through the use of the loophole that says killing can occur to “specimens which pose a demonstrable but non-immediate threat to human safety.”

Please contact the Wisconsin DNR and USFWS to express your outrage at this eradication operation and the fact there was no action taken in what they admit wasn’t an “attack.” If anymore evidence was needed to see the true intentions of the Wisconsin DNR and the Dan Ashe-run USFWS to bring wolves back to the brink this is all one needs. If they can thumb their noses at the federal judge and ESA and use loopholes to continue their anti-wolf tactics. What’s the point of even having an ESA if a “protected” species can be killed just for being seen?

This species means as much alive to us as it does dead to a tiny minority. It’s time we make that very clear.

See also: GOP pushes law to protect armed hunters from the cameras of animal rights activists

To protest this new strategy of skirting the law protecting wolves, contact:

Wisconsin DNR:

David MacFarland
Carnivore specialist



Regional Director: Tom Melius
Deputy Regional Director: Charlie Wooley

Mailing Address:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458

Phone: 612-713-5360
Fax: 612-713-5280
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay) 

Edited and reprinted from ourwisconsinourwildlife.wordpress.com. 

Scientists: Vital information missing from DNR’s wolf slaughter statistics

Scientists warned federal wildlife officials that Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources produced a flawed wolf population estimate for the 18 months after January 2012, when federal officials removed the animals from the endangered species list.

The researchers said in a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month that the 2012–13 wolf monitoring report the DNR sent to the federal agency omitted information. Missing from the report was data on how many radio-collared wolves disappeared, the dates of deaths of radio-collared animals that were recovered and an acknowledgment that poaching could have affected the population, the scientists said.

The DNR under-reported wolf mortality at 28.22 percent, the scientists said, estimating it could actually be within the 35 percent to 55 percent range for the 18 months through June 2013.

DNR large carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland said in an email to The Associated Press that Fish and Wildlife didn’t require the information that was left out of the report. A review team made up of wolf experts looked over the data and didn’t raise the same concerns as the researchers, he added.

What’s more, he said the DNR has recently collaborated with UW-Madison to compile the data and has made the information available in “university reports.”

The email did not say what the data shows or where it could be located.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh responded to a request for more details by saying the data is in a 400-page dissertation housed at UW-Madison’s library.

A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest region didn’t return a message.

The federal government removed wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the endangered species list in January 2012. Days later, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill setting up a four-and-a-half month wolf season. The legislation allows hunters to use up to six dogs to track and trail wolves. Animal rights advocates contend using dogs can lead to bloody hound-wolf clashes in the woods.

The scientists warned that hunting wolves with hounds is a new threat to the population and suggested additional regulation would be required to avoid unlawful or unsustainable killing.

The DNR examined 27 of the 35 wolves killed by hunters using dogs this past season and didn’t find any evidence of fights or other illegal practices. The evaluation was inconclusive, however; the carcasses had already been skinned when the agency examined them.

The researchers also complained that the DNR included data from novice trackers in its 2013–14 monitoring report and barred the public from a May meeting in which data was aggregated and interpreted. The moves make it difficult to compare population estimates from year to year, they said.

The latest DNR estimates put Wisconsin’s wolf population at somewhere between 660 to 689 animals, down from 809 to 824 animals in 2012–13. The agency’s board has set the kill limit at 150 wolves for the upcoming season, down from 251 last year.

The group recommended an independent scientific review of the DNR’s data. They urged Fish and Wildlife officials to consider placing the wolf back on the endangered species list before the wolf season opens in mid-October to allow time for the review and to demand the DNR use a standardized format for its population estimates.

The researchers were led by Adrian Treves, a UW-Madison environmental studies associate professor who studies the interactions between humans and carnivores.

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Referendum drive underway to stop wolf hunts in Michigan

Animal welfare activists have protested in vain the past couple of years as the federal government dropped the gray wolf from its endangered species list and legislatures in five states, including Wisconsin, now allow hunters to shoot the animals. In Michigan, they’re trying a new tactic: taking their case directly to the voters.

Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder approved a bill in December that designated the wolf as a game animal – a first step toward allowing hunts. The Natural Resources Commission, a panel appointed by the governor that regulates hunting, fishing and trapping, has the final say. The commission could schedule a hunt as early as this fall in the rural, woodsy Upper Peninsula, where the wolf population is estimated at around 700.

But opposition groups and native Indian tribes in favor of protecting the wolves are campaigning for a statewide referendum on the new law. If they gather enough petition signatures to get the issue on the November 2014 election ballot, the measure – and any potential hunt – will be put on hold until after the vote.

Organizers need at least 161,300 signatures but have a goal of 225,000 in case some are ruled invalid. They are planning a series of meetings across the state to line up foot soldiers who will circulate petitions.

“People care very much about wolves and wanted them protected, and certainly don’t want them hunted and trapped just as they’re starting to recover,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan director for the Humane Society of the United States and leader of a coalition spearheading the petition drive.

It wouldn’t be the first time Michigan voters overruled legislators on hunting policy. In 2006, they rejected by more than 2-to-1 a measure allowing hunters to target mourning doves.

Pro-hunting groups are girding for battle, describing the attempt to block wolf hunting as a direct assault on the state’s deeply ingrained shooting sports culture.

“The Humane Society of the United States is just another out-of-state interest group trying to hijack Michigan’s ballot to push its radical animal rights agenda,” said Tony Hansen, spokesman for Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Eric McDonough, the group’s executive director, said regulated hunting has helped keep recovered species such as elk and wild turkeys healthy.

Wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states by the middle of the 20th century, but they have bounced back since being given legal protection in the 1960s and 1970s.

Natural migration from neighboring states and Ontario gave Michigan’s wolves a foothold around 1990, and their numbers have grown steadily since then – along with complaints about attacks on farm and domestic animals.

A 2008 state law allows owners to kill wolves attacking livestock or pets, but catching them in the act isn’t easy; they hunt in packs and kill quickly and efficiently. Some farmers – particularly in the western U.P. – say they’re overwhelmed and need hunting and trapping to keep wolf numbers in check.

The DNR says decisions about hunting should be based on scientific data and a management plan it developed in consultation with a variety of interests, including environmentalists. The plan says hunts could be justified if necessary to reduce wolf-human conflicts in limited areas where the problems are severe and other control methods aren’t working, spokeswoman Debbie Munson Badini said.

Department biologists are conducting an updated wolf census and gathering statistics on livestock depredation. It will submit a report with a recommendation about hunting to the Natural Resources Commission in May or June.

The DNR would consider a referendum “unwarranted and ill-advised” because it could undermine the regulatory authority granted to the commission in a 1996 statewide vote, Badini said.

But leaders of the petition drive say more time is needed to determine whether the wolf population is secure enough to thrive without federal legal protection, which was removed only a year ago. Scheduling a hunt this soon, they say, would be based less on science than pleasing hunters.

“Wolves are not taken for food. This is merely about a trophy for hunters,” said Derek Bailey, former chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Wolves have a strong cultural significance for the region’s native tribes dating back to their traditional creation stories, he said.

Some hunters contend wolves are killing too many deer. Rolf Peterson, a biologist who has studied wolves for decades on Isle Royale National Park, testified before a state Senate committee that wolves actually strengthen the deer population by culling sick ones and preventing spread of disease.

Advocacy groups aren’t pushing for referendums in other states where wolf hunting has resumed. Minnesota and Wisconsin don’t permit statewide votes on policy issues. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming do, but there’s little evidence that an effort to defeat wolf hunting at the ballot box would succeed in the rural Northern Rockies, where ranchers wield heavy clout.

Still, a solid victory in Michigan might begin to change attitudes elsewhere, said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

“There’s an assumptionamong politicians in these states that the public supports killing wolves for sport and commerce,” he said. “I’m confident the Michigan referendum is going to turn around that false perception … and help arrest this expansion of wolf hunting and begin to pare it back.”