Friday, October 25, 2013

WI Wolf Hunt, Fact And Fiction

Readers know there have been frequent postings on this blog about the Wisconsin wolf hunt, now in its second year. Here is additional sunlight on the matter:

*  Wisconsin increased its permitted wolf kill this year to 251 from the 117 reported in 2012. Neighboring Minnesota probably did the same, right? 


Listening to experts, Minnesota drastically reduced its 2013 quota:

The [MN} DNR has cut the number of wolves that hunters can kill from 400 last year to 220 this year.  
*  So why is Wisconsin going in the other direction, with baiting and trapping allowed along with firearm killing to hit increased quotas? 
Gray Wolf in Steel Jaw Trap 
One reason: Fewer wolves mean more elk, and that could mean Wisconsin's elk hunt might finally get under way in 2014

*  Some hunters support the wolf hunt because they believe wolves are depressing the number of deer available to be killed in the annual deer hunt. 

The DNR says that's misleading:
It is important to place in perspective the impact of wolves preying on deer. Each wolf kills about 20 deer per year. Multiply this by the number of wolves found in Wisconsin in recent years (800), and approximately 16,000 deer may be consumed by wolves annually. This compares to about 27,000 deer hit by cars each year, and about 340,000 deer shot annually by hunters statewide. 
*  Additionally, the same WI DNR website notes the deer favored by wolves are not prime targets for hunters:
Ironically, studies have shown that wolves have minimal negative impact on deer populations, since they feed primarily on weak, sick, or disabled individuals. 
*  Finally:   Do those 117 wolves 'harvested' last year by hunters with Wisconsin permits represent the sum total of wolves killed in the state last year?

No: Along with illegal kills, depredation control, and collisions with vehicles, the state recorded 243 wolf kills in 2012, DNR records show - - more than double the 'harvest.'

The DNR  supplied some data under Open Records about the illegal kills:
Sex - - 10 males, 10 females.
Counties - - Bayfield, 3. Chippewa, Price, Taylor and Douglas - -  2 each. Sawyer, Burnett, Wood, Eau Claire, Walworth, Oconto, Adams, Jackson, Dane - - 1 each. 
Cause of death - - Illegally shot, 15. One each as: Illegally shot; Illegally killed; Illegally shot as coyote; Illegally killed shot /arrow?; illegally killed-trapped, shot.


Anonymous said...

It's not just wolves the DNR wants to give to special interest groups. On Wednesday the DNR Board apparently changed the rules on Environmental Impact Studies...curtailing the DNR's regulatory powers, reducing the level of public input and in some cases eliminating public input altogether. As has been said elsewhere the biggest threat to Wisconsin's natural resources is Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources.

Anonymous said...

But they hunt bears and you have never said BOO!

Nor does anyone else -- so why the blatant hypocracy?

Wolves, you know, can be kind of intimidating (or outright dangerous) animals.

But the faux outrage shown to hunting this particular species seems to imply they are all like puppies.

Surely there is something that is less ridiculus for you, even as a journal communications man, to blog about.

Anonymous said...

The point about bears is spot-on; after all, so many children's first "friend" is a beloved stuffed teddy bear.

But we shoot them and no one is advocating that we stop hunting fozzy bear.

I think we all know that if the issue was hunting in a broader-sense, many would be up-in-arms, including much of the crowd that wants to spare wolves from what bears, deers, rabbits, ducks, geese, and a variety of other lovingly cute animals endure every year.

This is such a distraction to make the issue of the day about wolfs when there is so much real "divide and conquer" going on.

James Rowen said...

To the two more recent Anon commenters: I have criticized the bear hut, particularly the use of bait and the law - - proving that a lot of this is all about lobbying - - that allows bear hunters who lose hounds in the hunt to collect up to $2,500 in reimbursement from the state.

I think the wild animal-hunting-for-sport does reveal a side of society certainly worth questioning.

The disregard for the wolf in Ojibwe culture that was here long before Europeans arrived and were later ceded much of N. WI raises a wider question that is often overlooked.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, wouldn't want to venture out to the cold dark outhouse to do my nightly business -- I don't think it is credible to point out a given tribe's beliefs that a wolf may be sacred because we could find across ALL Native American populations nature in-general and all kinds of plants and animals were sacred.

So you are willing to take a stand against the slaughter of teddy bears for recreation -- kewl.

But what about the other cute animals?

And then there is the industrial mistreatment and slaughter of cattle, pigs, and chickens in massive and cruel farm factories.

We are talking about a very small number of wolves by comparison.

And a wild dog or wolf is clearly a danger when one is out by themselves -- just ask anyone that does cross-country biking.

Anonymous said...

You can't hunt bear cubs but you can hunt year old Wolf puppies. There is a size limit on bears. None on wolves. It is a slaughter.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

The point about bears is spot-on; after all, so many children's first "friend" is a beloved stuffed teddy bear.

But we shoot them and no one is advocating that we stop hunting fozzy bear.

you shoot teddy bears? That's weird.

Anonymous said...

Really you can look at that picture and feel no compassion for a living creature that feels pain to be made To suffer and die a slow agonizing death! Just because their wild doesn't make it right

Anonymous said...

Really ? Dangerous? How many wolf attacks on humans have you heard of? Its a questuon of humaine hunting

Gareth said...

The wolves of Yellowstone Park are being decimated and like the assault on wolves elsewhere it is fueled by opportunistic politics rather than conservation or sportsmanship:

(The article appears after you scroll past the fundraising plea)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rowen,

It is interesting that you choose to title your piece fact and fiction, and then choose to respond with fiction by way of ommisson. You state that bear hunters who lose hounds in the hunt are compensated up to $2,500.00 for their loss. The truth is that this compensation is only paid out when wolves kill the hounds. If a hound is killed by a car while hunting, or killed by a bear, etc..., no compensation is paid to the hound owner. Your statement implies that any hound loss is compensated which is fiction.

Yes the Ojibwe Culture holds the wolf as sacred., yet wolf hunting is legal. Many people hold human life as sacred, yet abortion is legal. The point is that many things that are held sacred by a certain group people. Whether that group is made up by ethnicity, culture, or shared beliefs, etc.. really does not matter. They still hold it as sacred. The other side of the coin is that for anything that one group holds as sacred, you will find another group that holds that same thing with little or no regard.

Our CONSTITUTION states that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. If we hold this to be true, then why should Ojibwe beliefs have more merit than other Native American beliefs, or African American beliefs, Hispanic American beliefs, Jewish American beliefs, Polish American beliefs etc...?

The argument that they were here before European settlement does not fly either. If you look at history, more powerful Native American tribes displaced weaker Native American tribes many times. They conquered other tribes, and killed them, or made them slaves, and even assimulated them into their tribe wiping out an entire race and culture. In some ways the parallel between Native American wars between tribes and colonizing Europeans is similar minus the European technology, and grandoise scale.

Boxer said...

James was making the point that hunters are compensated up to $2500 for hounds lost in the hunt, as killed by wolves: that the hunter willingly brings his dogs into an area and/or situation where the dog could be killed or is likely to be killed and then is compensated for the loss when it inevitably occurs is unfair, especially when other taxpayers must provide the compensation.

You people who defend the wolf slaughter as some sort of moral imperative (compared to abortion, or justified because wolves prey on deer or livestock [the loss of which also compensated] or wolves are just evil [and you're frightened]) are completely missing this: it's not a moral question. It's a scientific, biological one. Are there too many or not? If so, how will we control the population in the most humane manner? 'Humane' doesn't involve setting baited traps outside dens and then drifting by later to shoot the suffering creature.

By the way, if you're going to extend the abortion comparison, all wolf hunters should be required, before bait-trapping a wolf, to spend just 10 minutes in a leg trap without any assurance that someone was going to come by and either kill you or set you free.

BTW: You misread the Constitution and misinterpret history as well. What natives did to one another before we Europeans arrived doesn't' come close to justifying what we did to them after we arrived. Again, you try to create a false comparison, putting Europeans in the judge, jury and executioner chair. The Europeans weren't aware of that history (what little there was of it)--the natives were just in their way and they used any and all measures to dispose of them. To your false history, not all native tribes slaughtered or enslaved each other. Not most of them. So your whole analogy falls on its face.