The accelerating wolf kill in Wisconsin justifies a closer look at who and what is driving it.
First, the numbers:
The Wisconsin DNR reported 117 wolves were killed in the state's initial, 2012 hunt and, so far, 204 have been killed in this year's hunt in which 251 kills are authorized, state records show.
Now, the players:
The DNR turned over wolf hunting policy to a stacked advisory group on which hunting interests dominate and from outside experts are now barred:
This year, the long-standing Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Science and legislatively mandated Stakeholders Committees were wiped out by order of the DNR secretary. In their place, the Wolf Advisory Committee was created, membership "by invitation only" from the DNR Secretary. Twenty-five of the 26 members are wolf removal agents.That brings to mind one of the most inaccurate statements about wolf hunting, and it was made by a representative of pro-wolf hunting organizations that pushed for the hunt and even for the use of dogs to chase and confront wolves (an issue hung up in court by humane societies' efforts):
Meanwhile, members of the Bear Hunters' Association instigated resolutions to cull Wisconsin wolves in 18 counties -- the same bear hunters who were instrumental in the expedited implementation of wolf hunting and trapping legislation, mandating the use of dogs on wolves, even though the majority of Wisconsin residents oppose the use of dogs on wolves, as demonstrated both in polls and in the Conservation Congress Hearings.
And remember when hunting lobbyist and former Redgranite GOP State Sen. Bob Welch predicted that without dogs, not one hunter would be able to kill a wolf?No other state has approved the use of dogs in wolf hunts.
Bob Welch, executive director of the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition, an organization that was active in lobbying for the season and also in authoring the legislation creating the hunt, said hunters who cannot use dogs won't kill wolves.
"I think it would be very unlikely you'd even get one," Welch said.
Records show that Welch is a lobbyist for the Bear Hunters, which has a seat on the DNR's new wolf advisory committee.
More on the wolf hunt and related myths.