Archive for the ‘Wisconsin’ Tag

UW Study: DNR Under-Reported Wolf Poaching   3 comments

February 7, 2017 by Rich Kremer

Dawn Villella/AP Photo

Researchers Suggest Illegal Poaching Threatens State Management Of Wolves

A new study suggests the Department of Natural Resources has been underestimating the number of wolves killed illegally for years.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers re-investigated the causes of death, as reported by the DNR, of nearly 1,000 wolves between 1979 and 2012.

The study, published in the scientific Journal of Mammology, suggests that the most common cause of death was poaching and that the DNR systematically under-reported illegal killings. For example, the researchers studied x-rays of wolves the DNR reported as killed by cars and found that 37 percent were embedded with metal fragments consistent with gunshot wounds.

“There were scientific errors that were not random errors but scientific errors in a systematic direction,” said UW-Madison Professor Adrian Treves, who led the study. “They were almost always in a direction of underestimating poaching.”

Another finding of the study suggests that wolves without government radio collars were at a much greater risk of being killed illegally during the 33 year period. Treves said he would like to see the DNR re-examine its methods for determining causes of wolf mortality because illegal poaching is a threat not only to wolves but to management efforts by the DNR and tribal governments.

“Moving forward we suggest some improvements such as doing these post-mortems on a random sample of the wolves and also careful study of the non-radio collared wolves because we found big discrepancies between the risk and rates of death of the non-radio collared wolves compared to the radio-collared ones,” said Treves.

A statement from DNR Communications Director Jim Dick said their goal when collecting data on dead wolves isn’t to find cause of death but to “determine population and such things as pack territories. Wolf mortality numbers are based on actual dead animals detected.”

The statement also claims that the DNR “did not commission, fund or participate.” in the study. Treves disagrees saying funding did come from them and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study acknowledges two grants received from the Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR.


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CONGRESS UNLEASHES WAR ON WOLVES   7 comments

January 18, 2017

Senators from Midwest and Wyoming introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves

NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

“This “War on Wolves Act” would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place.”

Marjorie Mulhall
Sr. Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice

Washington, D.C. —Senators from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming yesterday introduced the “War on Wolves Act,” a companion bill to legislation introduced last week in the House that would strip federal protections from wolves and allow trophy hunting and trapping of the species in four states. If the legislation passes both chambers and gets signed by the president, it would hand the fate of wolves in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming over to states whose management wolf plans two federal courts ruled inadequate to securing the species at legally required population levels in absence of Endangered Species Act protections.

In Wyoming, this would allow the state to resume a hostile management program that allowed for unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state. The legislation would further strip citizens of the right to challenge these lethal programs in court. The appeals process of two federal court decisions that restored federal protections to wolves in those four states are still underway. Decisions on those cases are expected any day.

The following is a statement from Marjorie Mulhall, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice:

“A new congress has resurfaced an old vendetta against imperiled wolves. If this legislation is signed into law, wolves in Wyoming will be subjected to unregulated killing across the vast majority of the state, and even on the borders of Yellowstone National Park numerous legal loopholes will authorize widespread wolf killing. Americans widely hailed the return of wolves to the Northern Rockies two decades ago as a triumph of the Endangered Species Act, but now this ‘War on Wolves Act’ would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place. Politicians should not meddle in the science-based listing status of a particular species at any stage, but now is an especially bad time as these cases are still playing out in the courts. We urge those who support the protection of wolves to call their senators and representatives and tell them to vote down this lethal legislation.”

READ THE LEGISLATION:

EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER COMMENT:

Tim Preso, Earthjustice attorney who leads on the Wyoming wolf case, based in Bozeman, Montana: (406) 586-9699 ext. 1924, tpreso@earthjustice.org


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Are high wolf numbers driving hunting dog attacks?   Leave a comment

October 21, 2016 

 

A gray wolf rests in the snow. National Park Service photo

 

A former state wildlife biologist contends Wisconsin’s high wolf numbers may not be the driving factor behind a record 40 hunting dogs killed by wolves during the bear season that ended Oct. 11.
Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator Adrian Wydeven, a former wildlife biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the state saw fewer dogs killed by wolves the last time Wisconsin’s wolf population was this high.

“The previous high count of 815 (wolves) in 2012 had only seven dogs killed that year, and that was the lowest wolf depredation on dogs in about 10 years,” Wydeven said.

The number of wolves in Wisconsin grew about 16 percent this year with a minimum estimate of 867. Dave MacFarland, the state’s large carnivore specialist, said a number of things could have played a role in the number of dogs killed this bear-hunting season.

“Wolf population levels are one of them, but we don’t have hard information that we can point to and don’t want to speculate on what may have caused this change,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see if this repeats itself.”

Wydeven said a possible increase in hunting activities due to permitting changes last year may also be driving a rise in conflicts. Last year, lawmakers eliminated Class B bear licenses for those who wanted to assist hunters with setting baits or training.

“If we’re allowing much more open policy, allowing a lot more people to participate in that activity, that could account for the increases of hound depredations in Wisconsin,” Wydeven said.

But MacFarland said it’s not known what impact the permitting change may have had on hunter activity this year.

Wildlife officials have said wolves may also be more protective of their pups during bear season and the training of hunting dogs beforehand. Research also suggests the length of Wisconsin’s bear baiting season may play a role in higher numbers of attacks on hunting dogs than neighboring states. Bear hunters can set baits as early as mid-April in Wisconsin, whereas states such as Michigan don’t allow baiting until two weeks before the beginning of the season.

Wydeven said the longer baits are used, the more likely they’ll attract wolves.

“When hunters release their dogs at the bear baits to go chase bears, there’s a chance if wolves have recently visited the site, they could be sending their dogs after wolves,” Wydeven said.

Joseph Bump, an associate professor with Michigan Technological University, was lead author of a 2013 study that found hunting dogs were up to seven times more likely to be killed by wolves in Wisconsin than in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“If stakeholders are sincerely interested in decreasing wolves killing hunting dogs, then there’s good wildlife science to suggest that both the timing and length of the bear baiting season is a factor that should be on the table for discussion and potential adjustment,” Bump said.

Bump is continuing research in Michigan on how frequently species other than bears visit bait sites. He expects those findings will become available next year.

Bear hunters in Minnesota are not allowed to use dogs while hunting.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news.


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Posted 24 October, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in News/Nyheter, Wolves / Vargar

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Budget Bill Won’t Have Wolf Management Returning To Minnesota   Leave a comment

December 16, 2015

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal that would have taken gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list did not make it into a massive year-end congressional tax and spending package, an omission that surprised its backers but was welcomed Wednesday by groups that support maintaining federal protections for the predators.

U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and some other lawmakers had hoped to attach a rider to return management of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming to the states, which could have opened the door to a resumption of wolf hunting in those places. The provision would have undone federal court decisions that restored the animals’ protected status in the four states despite repeated efforts by the federal government to remove them from the list.

Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”

Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said supporters will have to regroup and decide on their next step. He said a stand-alone bill probably could pass the House but he’s not sure about the Senate. It’s also possible an appeals court could overturn the lower court decisions, he added.

While livestock interests supported removing federal protections for wolves, wildlife groups lobbied against it.

“It certainly was a pleasant surprise,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Backers of the rider were trying to use a tactic that succeeded in 2011 when Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana and sections of Utah, Washington and Oregon from the list.

“Cooler heads prevailed in Congress,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. He said a letter written by Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Barbara Boxer, D-California, and signed by 23 other senators including Gary Peters, D-Michigan, helped make the difference.

The combined wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700, including about 2,200 in Minnesota, while Wyoming has around 333.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last December that the western Great Lakes states didn’t have suitable plans to safeguard wolves, and that the animals haven’t come close to repopulating their former range. Her decision prevented Minnesota and Wisconsin from holding sport wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall. Michigan hasn’t held a hunt since 2013. Another federal judge issued a similar decision in September 2014 in a Wyoming case.

The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal.

The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.”

A similar appeal is pending in the Wyoming case. Pacelle said his group, which filed the lawsuit in the Midwest case, will keep up the fight.

“This is not the end of the process, but it’s a good outcome because Congress is showing restraint and not trying to cherry-pick a species and remove it from the list of endangered animals,” Pacelle said.

Source / CBS Minnesota

 

 

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s Response to ‘Right to Hunt Act’   Leave a comment

SOURCE

October 25, 2015

Another law meant to circumvent citizen’s right to know.  In Wisconsin a legislator is proposing a law that will protect fringe hunters from  citizens monitoring them.  Representative Adam Jarchow (R) in a press release on October 12, 2015 introduced  Right to Hunt Act legislation that would make it illegal to follow, photograph or record hunters and with fines of up to $10,000 fine and nine months jail time. 2015 SENATE BILL 338 and Assembly Bill 433

In an article from WPR written on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 10:15am By Rich Kremer New Bill Would Prevent Harassment Of Wisconsin’s Hunters

“State Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said that he has gotten complaints about a group called Wolf Patrol following and filming bear hunters and their dogs this summer. ”  WPR

I have accompanied Rod Coronado’s Wolf Patrol on numerous occasion and never once saw them harass hunters. As a matter of fact, Coronado was approached by a lost hound hunting dog this summer while monitoring bear bait sites in Northern Wisconsin on public lands and may have saved the dog’s life.

“This morning we found this old hound hanging around a bear bait site in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near Drummond, which is active wolf territory. We got him watered and he was grateful and wanting into our truck! We stayed close with him until a hound hunter was able to retrieve him, for which he was grateful too, as this is how dogs like these bear hounds become wolf bait.”  Rod Coronado of Wolf Patrol

The old hound was lucky that Wolf Patrol was there to rescue him, as 15 bear hounds had been killed by wolves defending their territory in the summer of 2015.

Every year WDNR cautions hunters, “Each year, with the beginning of the Wisconsin bear hound training and hunting season, hunters are reminded to exercise caution if they plan to train or hunt bear with hounds. Hunters should use the caution area maps below to help reduce conflicts during this year’s bear dog training and hunting season.” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wolves are forced to defend their pups against packs of free ranging bear hunting hound dogs in Wisconsin’s north woods.

I will remind readers that bear hound hunters are handsomely rewarded with tax payer’s money of $2,500.00 for each dog killed by a wolf during bear hunting season. Read more about this in an article written by Bill Lueders of Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Jan 5, 2014 State pays scofflaws for dogs killed by wolves while hunting other animals.

Coronado’s Wolf Patrol saved the life of one bear hound to which the handler was grateful for,  “We stayed close with him until a hound hunter was able to retrieve him, for which he was grateful too,” Coronado of Wolf Patrol

Wolf Patrol has been monitoring hound hunters in Wisconsin now for over a year. I was first approached by Rod Coronado in July of 2014 with the idea of helping out Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s efforts to ban the use of dogs in the wolf hunt.

Rachel Tilseth and Rod Coronado monitoring WI wolf hunt October 2014

Thanks to this combined effort were able to influence the DNR to close the Wolf Hunt, “no doubt influenced Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop this year’s wolf hunt when they did. There was talk that the hunt would continue longer, as some zones had not killed their quota, even though the overall quota of 150 wolves had been met. The extended season would have allowed hound hunters more time to go after wolves. This atrocious sport, allowed only in Wisconsin, did not legally begin until the regular wolf season ended on December 1.” Becky Elgin freelance reporter & Blogger Wolves and Writing

It appears that state representative Adam Jarchow is pandering to a minority of hunters by introducing legislation that would prohibit monitoring of fringe hunters by citizens, such as Wolf Patrol and  Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin.

Does 2015 SENATE BILL 338 proposed legislation prohibit freedom of speech, your First Amendment rights?

Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone. ACLU

One of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s reporters, Keri Lewis observed Wolf Patrol:  “As Fall was making an appearance, WODCW accompanied Wolf Patrol on their final efforts to investigate Wisconsin’s black bear hunt.”   Keri Lewis, In the Field with Wolf Patrol: Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Deep in Wisconsin’s Wolf Caution Areas

As a northern Wisconsin native I enjoy spending time outdoors . If passed this law would hinder non -consumptive recreationists from being on public lands. What is fair about that if hunting and trapping is occurring 24/7/365?  ~Keri Lewis writer at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Just how does this proposed legislation affect journalists, or others using public lands, for example, bird or deer hunters?

In fact this 2015 SENATE BILL 338 is an effort to strengthen hunter harassment law, “activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. The types of serial conduct prohibited include maintaining a visual or physical proximity to the person, approaching or confronting the person, or photographing the person.”  2015 SENATE BILL 338

Is the intent of this proposed legislation to limit public’s right to know if there is any illegal activities happening on public lands?

Wolves as of December 2014 are a federally protected species and Wolf Patrol is monitoring the controversial legal practice of bear baiting and bear hunting with dogs in northern Wisconsin. To learn About Wolf Patrol.

“Wisconsin Representative Adam Jarchow has chosen Wolf Awareness Week to introduce the unconstitutional ‘Right To Hunt Act’, which would criminalize the use of cameras or driving on public roads if a hunter feels that they are being harassed. Jarchow has targeted Wolf Patrol as the reason behind proposing this tightening of existing hunter harassment laws in Wisconsin, citing our recent citizen-monitoring of bear baiting season in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.” Wolf Patrol’s Response to Wisconsin Representative Adam Jarchow’s proposed “Right to Hunt Act”

“By introducing the Right to Hunt Act, Rep. Jarchow is asking that the constitutional rights of those opposed to bear baiting and hound hunting be illegally restricted. If the law is passed, Wolf Patrol will continue its monitoring of bear hunting and any other activity that threatens wolves and challenge this unconstitutional law in the courts.”  ~Rod Coronado

This legislation, 2015 SENATE BILL 338, Introduced by Senators Moulton, Gudex, Harsdorf, Olsen and Kapenga, cosponsored by Representatives Jarchow, Allen, Ballweg, Born, Czaja, Edming, Gannon, Horlacher, Hutton, Jagler, Kleefisch, Knodl, Kremer, Kulp, T. Larson, Murphy, Mursau, A. Ott, Petryk, Quinn, Tittl and Sinicki. Referred to Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry.

Here is what you can do.

Wisconsin residents If you want to voice your opposition of this proposed legislation contact the above Wisconsin senators. Click HERE to contact WI senators.

Attend the public hearing to voice your opposition. 

This proposed legislation is up for public hearing by  Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Wednesday, October 28, 201 5 9:01 AM 417 North (GAR Hall), Assembly Bill 433 Relating to: interfering with hunting, fishing, and trapping and providing criminal penalties.
By Representatives Jarchow, Allen, Ballweg, Born, Czaja, Edming, Gannon, Horlacher, Hutton, Jagler, Kleefisch, Knodl, Kremer, Kulp, T. Larson, Murphy, Mursau, A. Ott, Petryk, Quinn, Tittl and Sinicki; cosponsored by Senators Moulton, Gudex, Harsdorf and Sinicki

Support your right to use public land by getting involved.

———-

Federal court wolf ruling – now what?   Leave a comment

From:  Wadena Pioneer Journal

Jan. 02, 2015 by Erik Osberg

Gray wolves are now protected under the Endangered Species Act.

On Dec. 19, a federal judge ruled to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves in the Upper Midwest, essentially ending the wolf hunt in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association said they are “deeply discouraged at the recent ruling. Our position has been and continues to be in support of the Minnesota DNR‘s management of the wolf population based on factual science though hunting and trapping. We will be watching the courts and advocating for a reversal of this decision.”

Conversely, Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett called the ruling “exciting news for the survival of the gray wolf population, which is a vital part of our ecology. We’re glad the reckless and unnecessary wolf hunt in Minnesota is over this year, and hope smart non-lethal wolf management strategies will be implemented in the future.”

So who’s right? And where do we go from here? I was fortunate enough to be part of a conference call that included some of the world’s top wolf experts. Including: Dr. L. David Mech, senior research scientist, U.S. Department of the Interior, author and vice chair of the International Wolf Center, retired Wisconsin DNR wolf biologist Dick Thiel and Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and project leader for wolf restoration in Yellowstone National Park.

The panel stopped short of saying whether the ban was a good or bad thing, but each offered what they feared would happen and what they felt should happen. The general consensus was that the gray wolf population in in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is healthy. They cited numbers suggesting the population in these three states is above the levels that were to be achieved in the restoration process. However, Mike Phillips said he believes the court ruled as they did is because when one looks at the entire lower 48 states, the gray wolf only “inhabits 15 percent of it’s historical range,” or to put it another way, “the gray wolf is absent from 85 percent of it’s historical range.” But is it realistic to think the wolf population can be restored to its “historical range?” Dick Thiel pointed out that if we were to try to restore the Bison population to its “historical range” there would be Bison in our wheat fields. It was suggested that the goal for the wolf population management should be that they inhabit a “significant portion of range where habitat is suitable.”

The panel all expressed a concern for an increase in the illegal taking of wolves because of the ruling. They went on to say they believe that is the last thing hunters would want to do.

Perhaps the most unfortunate part in this saga is the fact that the whole situation seems to be a series of bureaucratic semantics and unreasonable logic. And there is plenty of blame to go around. Phillips pointed out that on page 95 of the official ruling the Judge cited a lack of U.S. Fish and Wildlife due diligence. The panel all agreed they hoped for a reasonable coordinated national solution.

Caught in the middle of all of this are people like Matthew Breuer of North Country Guide Service and Promotions. Matt makes his living in the great Northwoods and says he sees the impact of wolves all around him. According to Breuer: “The wolf population in Minnesota is getting borderline out of control. During the late portion of the hunting and trapping season for timberwolves the season ended abruptly due to people doing so well harvesting them. That alone should tell us that the population is beyond the DNR’s target number of wolves in the state. They are a beautiful and majestic creature, but people need to keep the harsh reality in mind… wolves are predators, and they destroy deer and moose populations when not kept in check. Not to mention that they will readily kill a hunting dog if they cross paths. I’ve seen wolves in the wild, I’ve watched them hunt, I’ve come across dozens of wolf kills. People who have only seen wolves on TV or the internet should not seal the fate of those who live amongst them.”

Outdoor Report’s Erik Osberg and Wes Gall contributed to this story.

 

 

Blocked wolf hunt draws mixed reaction   Leave a comment

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