Friday, June 8, 2012

Wisconsins ill conceived wolf hunt

It would appear that we are going to have a 'wolf hunting' season again in Wisconsin.  Its actually a wolf killing plan, just like the good old bounty days.  The season will run five months, I believe the longest hunting season in the state, 15 October through February.  People can bait wolves, trap them, use electronic calls, run dog packs, and hunt them 24 hours.  This scheme is pretty much based on politics with minimal, perhaps non existent, attention paid to the science and biology of the whole thing.  In any event, I fired off an email to the DNR and very quickly received a form response back, an email that's as bland and lacking in substance as a warm can of Bud Lite.  Rather than working myself up into a rant or tirade, I'll just post the email I sent as well as the thoughtful response from the DNR...... 

Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 07:57 AM
To: Ross, Laurie J - DNR
Subject: Upcoming wolf hunt
Ms Ross & Seceretary Stepp,

As a landowner  in western Bayfield County and homeowner in Washburn, WI I would like to offer my opinion on the upcoming wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  I have purchased a Wisconsin deer license almost every year since 1966 and have friends on both fringes of the wolf issue, people who claim that the wolves have eaten all the deer and boast that they would shoot any wolf they saw, to tree hugger types who feel wolves should be absolutely protected and it would be nice to have a small pack in the River Hills section of Milwaukee. I’d like to think I have a bit more of a moderate position, almost a bad word during these days of political polarization.

I’m not opposed to a limited wolf hunting season.  I think the deer predation thing is greatly overblown and that the main reason that a lot of virulent, anti wolf deer hunters aren’t seeing as many deer is because not as many are walking past the bar stool they are sitting on or crossing the road that they are road hunting.  At our camp  two miles from Lake Superior we have an active pack and winter kill accounts for at least 4 to 5 times as many deer as the wolves can manage.  Its not hard at all to tell the difference between the two.  We take several deer every season with minimal assistance or hindrance from our local pack, although we hear them and see sign regularly.

I just saw an article in the Journal-Sentinel a couple minutes ago.  It says the season runs from October 15 through the entire month of February.  It also says that dogs, electronic calls, bait, and night hunting are allowed.  I’m not sure where to start on this but I’ll give it a try.  Hunting canines with other canines, or bears for that matter, is something out of the middle ages.  We have frequently had packs of slobbering bear dogs come loping through camp during the ‘training season’.  A bit disconcerting when sitting outside enjoying a beverage.  I won’t even comment on interactions with their owners.  Will packs of ‘wolf dogs’ now be ranging through the woods ‘practicing’ during August and September?  Will the DNR still be paying for any of these dogs that get killed by the very animals that they are attempting to kill?  If so, it seems kind of stupid to me as a taxpayer, a plan designed to both bleed dollars from the budget and subsidize the cluelessness of the dog owners.  As far as the electronic calls and bait there is a concept called ‘Fair Chase’.  If the concept is to kill as many wolves as possible that’s great, but if its not, it would seem to be a bit shortsighted.  Letting people hunt at night is serious craziness.  I’ve gone coon hunting over dogs in my youth and after a couple times decided that other than taking a bath with the radio plugged in and perched on the edge of the tub, there was nothing more dangerous or, once again, stupid, than running through the woods at night with flashlights and firearms.

If you need to do it, to have this season, please consider placing some realistic and safe restrictions on it.  Starting slowly and ramping things up if the success rate is too low (which I suspect it will be in the hunting end; trapping is an entirely different matter) would seem to be the prudent course. Not all deer hunters out there are in favor of this season.  Most of the men and women deer hunters I know have a hunting ethic of eating what they shoot.  Shooting an animal to have a hide on the wall or a smiling photo of you and this vicious beast that you lured in at night, to a pile of rotten meat, using a wounded rabbit recording, and then shot with a rifle and a spotlight seems pretty weak and lame to me and most of my hunting companions.  Please consider this comment when assessing the season and its parameters.

Here is the DNR response.......

Youremail has been distributed to all Natural Resources Board members and Department staff for their consideration. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank you for your comments on Board Order WM-08-12 and Emergency Board Order WM-09-12(E), proposed rules related to establishing wolf hunting and trapping regulations and a depredation program.  For additional information on the proposed rules and the hearings process, please click on the following link:

Emergency Board Order WM-09-12(E) will be before the Board for adoption on Tuesday, July 17 in Stevens Point, WI.  If you would like to testify or send written comment on the Emergency Board Order, please refer to the following website on public participation:  The July agenda and meeting materials will be posted to the website towards the end of June at:  The deadline to register to testify or to send written comment for the July 17 meeting is 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 12.

Please feel free to contact the Natural Resources Board in the future with additional comments or concerns.

Best regards,

Laurie J. Ross
Natural Resources Board Liaison, AD/8
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
P. O. Box 7921, Madison, WI  53707-7921
phone:  (608) 267-7420
fax:    (608) 266-6983
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Janet said...

Thank you for speaking up. There are so many disgusting political things happening now, and the wolf hunt is certainly one of them.

Janet said...

Thank you for speaking up.