Sunday, December 21, 2014

The ugly history surrounding Wisconsin's now-banned wolf hunt

[Updated, Sunday, Dec. 21, 12:02 p.m., from Saturday, Dec. 20, 3:42 p.m.] A few more words about the merciful and unexpected end to the grey wolf hunt in the Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, ordered by a Federal judge Friday.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves
A summary post about it, with several links, here, and an update, as the Wisconsin DNR is dragging its feet communicating the new reality to Internet readers.

How the Wisconsin wolf hunt came into being three years ago speaks volumes about the victory of politics over science over public-interest conservation policy-making.

It's an ugly history about a reality that is at odds with the state's strong environmental traditions - - a partisan, politically-prescribed failure visible elsewhere in deliberately-weakened enforcement, fresh pollution and other abuses now routine across the state's waters, land and air since Republicans and their corporate sponsors took control of the Legislature and the rest of state government in the Walker era.

Update: Add to that the DNR's disinterest in moving quickly to post fresh information about the hunt's new Federal prohibition.

Remember that the wolf-hunt was implemented by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources quickly at the Legislature's behest, and in part by the agency through its "emergency" rule-making authority that shortcut obviously important assessment of all the issues - - a ploy that allowed the controversial use of dogs against wolves in the hunt and in pre-hunt, disruptive hunting dog training sought by special hunting-and-gun interests.

Dogs in wolf-hunting - - which puts both animals in fighting positions - - is a Wisconsin-only practice among the states.

Except there was no emergency facing the DNR, as noted at the time - - except if that's how you define it to please the conservative, pro-Walker special interests that pushed for the hunt with defined by little science and few restrictions.

In fact, Cathy Stepp, the conservative, ex-GOP state senator and developer Scott Walker installed atop the DNR to implement the "chamber-of-commerce mentality" he wanted running an agency previously known for science-based policy-making, had mocked, condemned and harangued against what she claimed on a conservative blog had been the routine unfairness and "hypocrisy" underlying rule-making during the Doyle administration.

Her words:

Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.
The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.
For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.
Remember also that to move the process along, compliant legislators were found to do what Big Hunting wanted.

Chief among the willing: State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, (R-Oconomowoc), a prominent, all-season hunter and husband of Tea Party activist and GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

Joel Kleefisch was so eager for a wolf hunt that, as he was also promoting (unsuccessfully) a sandhill - -"ribeye-in-the-sky" - - crane season, he;d said he could smell the wolf meat "marinating."

His words. From the legislator who'd earlier been a journalist at WISN-TV 12 in Milwaukee.

Amazingly, or perhaps not, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel swiftly got on board, editorially, buying the DNR's line and suggesting to readers that any problems created by the quick processes could be fixed later.

Among the consequences that rewarded the wolf hunt advocates at the expense of genuine, smart, science-based wildlife conservation and policy-making:

*  Wolf killing in all three seasons which was allowed to exceed by eleven the quotas set by the DNR and its supervising body, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

*  The DNR's intentional scrubbing of internal opposition by remaking its wolf-advisory committee, dismissing the opponents and giving nearly all seats to hunting proponents.

Also looking back at the editorial we find a companion op-ed by attorney and wolf hunt opponent Jodi Habush Sinykin, no doubt feeling her stance validated by the Federal ruling:

For years, we have worked together to safeguard the natural resources we hold dear, striving to ensure that the state - as the guardian of the public trust - adheres to science-based, ecologically sound management principles with respect to our shared waters and lands. This ethic must be applied equally to the management of our state's wildlife species because, without it, environmental stewardship falls prey to politics, a scenario that places all of our shared resources and natural places in jeopardy of mismanagement.
Case in point is the recently enacted wolf hunting and trapping law. Rushed through the legislative process with no notice to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife experts, no input from the state's Wolf Science Advisory Committee and no tribal consultation, the law prescribes a first hunting season for wolves. The law is drawing significant opposition from scientists, mainstream hunters and conservationists alike, owing to an excessively long, 4½-month season that allows hunting of breeding females and to the array of hunting and trapping methods viewed as out of line with traditional values of fair pursuit and public safety considerations.
I'll give the final word about all this to WI DNR Secretary Stepp, using her own words with which she ended an infamous screed before Walker put her atop the agency, against what she said had been the unwise, politically-inspired misuse of rule-making by the DNR she despised before she got her chance to run it:
It's always the fine print in these things that have the heaviest hit. 
Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.
Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT.


Anonymous said...

I'm just glad the slaughter is over for now.

Former snake and butterfly guy.... said...

Shout with me now: Idiot, thy name is Stepp !