Saturday, July 26, 2014

Busting Myths About The Wisconsin Wolf 'Harvest,' Other Practices

Let's do some truth-telling about an issue that encapsulates the Walker administration's disdain for science, fair play and citizen participation in policy-making.

*  From time to time you will hear Wisconsin wolf-killing advocates suggesting that their hunt is about honoring or serving the fur trade.

gray wolf
Let's bury that myth, as we note in hunter/trapper survey results referenced in the posted minutes of the April meeting of the DNR's pro-hunting/trapping Wolf Advisory Committee, page four:
Most kept the pelt for taxidermy/tanning; few entered the fur trade in Wisconsin.
Other myths that should also be buried:

*  That the annual wolf killing legalized by the 2012 Legislature in thrall to special interest hunting, trapping and gun interests is a "harvest." Let's stop sanitizing it. We're not talking reaping the amber waves of grain here.

 Two-thirds of the 257 wolves killed in last year's hunt were killed by trappers. The typical outcome for the wolf after being caught in a leg trap is a fatal gun shot. 

*  That Wisconsin is embarking on a new wolf "management" plan.

Yes, a plan is afoot, but "management" is another sanitizing euphemism. It papers over a process led by the DNR and its newly-reconstituted pro-hunting/trapper 'advisory' committee to eventually legitimize and authorize the killing of hundreds of additional wolves in upcoming years.

*  That Wisconsin is a place where domestic animals and wildlife are respected.

Yes...the state was in an uproar a few months ago when dairy workers were videotaped abusing cows, and, yes, a Milwaukee judge is sending a man to prison for organizing dog fights - - all to the good because those animals, like others, had no say in choosing which humans were in charge. 

But Wisconsin hunters and related interests are exempted from similar penalties and disdain.

* The DNR hands out licenses to facility operators who are allowed to buy or trap wildlife - - from rabbits to foxes to bears and more  - - keep them caged and expose them to hunting dogs as part of the dogs' training. 

Here are the DNR's rules and procedures. Would you want your dog or cat to be treated the way these caged animals - - as live bait, really - - are being used?

*  Moreover, Wisconsin is the only state that allows hunters to let loose their dogs to 'train' against wolves and other wildlife before the start of the hunting seasons; if a wolf kills a bear hunter's dog during such training, or during the bear hunt itself - - even if the dogs are allowed by the hunter to run in area where the DNR has said wolves are active- - the state will pay that hunter up to $2,500 for the loss of the dog.

Total payments to hound owners, according to a recent DNR spreadsheet that is not up-to-date: $497,000+.

A bear hunting dog in training was killed by a wolf as recently as July 22nd, in Jackson County, in a known wolf depredation area, according to this DNR webpage.

And, as noted in a Facebook report from the most recent DNR Wolf Advisory Committee by an observer and previous blog guest Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, some wolf hunting supporters seem oblivious to these risks:
The majority voted to recommend training dogs to hunt wolves beginning after deer gun hunt season closes through February. One biologist advised against chasing wolves with dogs during breeding season because wolves are very territorial and protective at that time. It's certain that conflicts between dogs and wolves will occur. 

But 3 pro wolf hunt committee members insisted this will not happen. I wonder what fairy tale these 3 "extremist fringe wolf killing" committee members believe in? Because since 1985 almost HALF MiLLION DOLLARS has been out for hounds lost to wolves. 

So in Wisconsin, it is legal, even profitable, to endanger one's dogs - - and dogs are allowed to traumatize other animals in the wild, or in cages,  in the name of 'training.'

What kind of animal management is that?

Harvest of shame.


Anonymous said...

Great post -- thanks for pointing out the real problem is the dogs!

In a just world, their wild brethren would crush and destroy the domesticated varieties.

Anonymous said...

you aren't a Real hunter if you have to let the dog do the hunting for you. cmon hunters, do it the old fashioned way..YOU hunt and track them, bet your quota wont be as high ..why? because the animals are smarter then you are!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Wolf Advisory Committee meeting also, and I think there was a misunderstanding. The way I heard it, the 3 pro wolf people did not want dogs chasing wolves during breeding season. They were the only 3 that voted to only allow the dogs to chase wolves until Jan. 15th. The one pro wolf person I talked to is totally against this wolf hunt. At the May meeting, he voted to have a 0 wolf kill. I just think Rachel, or you misunderstood what was said. The 3 pro wolf people voted for the less time of dogs chasing wolves---Jan. 15th--and I don't think they were happy about letting this go on at all.

Anonymous said...

I just left a comment and I think I misunderstood what you wrote! When you said "pro wolf hunt", I thought you were talking about the 3 PRO wolf people who did not want wolves chased!! I have been to 2 of these meetings now and it seems through my observations that the wolf hunters and haters are not very honest in the statements they make. Sorry for the confusion!! LOL I couldn't see how Rachel would have come away with what I thought I had read in your blog! Sorry!