Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Ends: Quota Exceeded in All Zones

The Wisconsin wolf hunt closed in Zone 2 at 10am this morning, and Wolf Patrol was at trap sites in three different locations to ensure that they were pulled once the hunt officially ended. This morning WDNR reported that the Zone 2 quota had been more than doubled, from the allotted 18, to the actual reported kill of 40. In Management Zone 6, hunters, trappers and hounders have so far reported a kill of 40 where there was quota of 17.

All zones are now closed to wolf hunting as of 3pm CST today, but overall numbers in all zones are expected to rise as successful hunters report belated kills. Social media was full of Wisconsin wolf hunters comments calling on tag holders to delay reporting their kills with the hope that the season would remain open until February 28th as previously planned.

Wolf Patrol placing a trail camera over a deer carcass used to attract wolves by a trapper. The camera was stolen the next day.

Unlike other predator trapping in Wisconsin, it is perfectly legal to TRAP but not hunt wolves over bait. So the full carcasses of a deer and a beef calf that we found at two separate trap sites was perfectly legal. As long as the traps are 25 feet away.

The wolves of this particular region have never tasted beef cattle, and here are Wisconsin’s lazy trappers bringing in dead livestock to use as bait to attract wolves. It’s a good way to encourage, not discourage wolf predation on livestock, but these trappers don’t care, as long as they get to kill a wolf. All in a hunt that was authorized to address the “emergency threat” wolves were posing to people’s livestock and pets (hunting hounds).

Trap set with deer meat as an attractant. Other trap sites were baited with a whole beef calf carcass.

As Wolf Patrol was checking on the 14 wolf trap sites we discovered in the last two days, two WDNR conservation officers showed up as we were removing our trail cameras from the trap sites, we spoke for almost an hour about the hunt and to report a trail camera of ours that had been stolen this morning, we suspect by the same trapper who turned off our trail cameras monitoring his bait on the shoulder of a public road. The WDNR wardens took my report and informed me that tampering with our trail cameras was illegal.

Wolf trappers responsible for tampering with Wolf Patrol’s trail cameras monitoring their trap site from the public road.

According to the wardens, the theft and tampering with our cameras wasn’t the only crime in the Wisconsin wolf hunt, the warden told me WDNR had also received numerous reports of both wolf trap thefts and the springing of traps. He asked if we had any part in it, and I told him we had been at over a dozen trap sites filming, but that was all.

As of 4pm CST February 24th, 2021. It is expected to still be increased to account for the 3pm closure in some zones.

Ending the wolf hunt this morning, as Wolf Patrol and also WDNR wardens joined in checking for traps still in the ground, was a fitting end to this expedited wolf hunt. Wolf Patrol informed the wardens that it was our intent to continue monitoring not only wolf hunting, but also bear hunting practices that have been causing conflicts with Wisconsin’s wolves for years. After reporting illegal hunting & trapping activities for 6 years now, these wardens like so many others in Wisconsin know Wolf Patrol are allies not enemies.

WDNR conservation officers checking a suspected wolf trap location while taking Wolf Patrol’s report of a trail camera theft that morning.

Wisconsin’s conservation officers are essential workers, they’ve been the only ones representing wildlife in the field in Wisconsin long before Wolf Patrol, and they can tell you of the atrocities they see committed by hound hunters, trappers and hunters.

Also, not all hound hunters, trappers and hunters agreed with this hunt. While most opposed it because it would impact their chance to hunt later in the year in November, some shared some of Wolf Patrol’s concerns. One hound hunter told me that he wouldn’t be hunting wolves because his dogs are his family, not just pets and he won’t put them at risk. He’s lost dogs to wolves before and the loss is too great to justify a day’s hunt for him. Individuals like he and his son are our allies not enemies.

Wolf trap set on shoulder of national forest road in Forest County, Wisconsin 02/22/21.

An amazingly loud wolf howl to all the beautiful people who rose up and released their frustration and anger at this hunt through direct action. We received 13 Wisconsin wolf tags through the lottery system, all were destroyed. While over 2,300 licenses were won by those with an intent to kill, Wolf Patrol’s supporters winning a few of those licenses sure did give wolf hunters something to cry about. More news from the wolf hunt coming!

Another group of successful Forest County wolf hunters. Dozens of unlicensed hound hunters are allowed to legally hunt for a single tag holder.

Wisconsin’s Hound Hunt for Wolves Continues

Today’s monitoring of Wisconsin’s wolf hunt brought Wolf Patrol back to Forest County, where a 12-truck caravan of hound hunters was pursuing a wolf in Wolf Management Zone 2. The quota in this particular zone is 18 wolves, which was reported at 2pm by WDNR. As of 02/23/21 8pm, the quota had been exceeded with 21 wolves reportedly killed.

The vast majority of wolves killed so far have been taken with the use of hounds.

The majority of hound trucks in the hunting party filmed today each had dox boxes capable of carrying up to six hounds. As the wolf is pursued, hound hunters will introduce fresh dogs into the chase until the wolf tires and is bayed and ultimately shot at close range with a small caliber rifle or shotgun.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced that the wolf hunt in all zones will be closed by tomorrow 3pm, February 24, 2021. As of this time, 82 wolves of the total state quota of 119 have been reported as legal kills. Wolf Patrol will continue patrolling Zone 2 to ensure that hound hunters, trappers and predator callers do not violate the wolf hunt closure by hunting past 10am.

All wolf hunting is Wisconsin ends at either 10am or 3pm February 24, 2021.

Hound Hunters Describe Today’s Forest County Wolf Kill Over Their Radios As “Vicious Battle”

WISCONSIN WOLF HUNT: DAY ONE FIELD REPORT 02/22/21 543PM

Wolf Patrol observed a large hound hunting party today in Wisconsin’s first day of a rushed recreational wolf hunt. The group operated from snowmobiles just northwest of the Forest County Potawatomi Community and inside of the Otter Creek State Natural Area, not far from where three bear hunting hounds were killed by wolves last year.

The following is audio from the hound hunters radio conversations where they describe their dogs live pursuit and fighting with the wolf they ultimately killed. One of the hound hunters clearly describes the dogs’ engagement with the tired wolf as a “vicious battle.”

Wisconsin’s February 2021 hound hunt for wolves isn’t hunting, it’s the state endorsing and allowing dog fighting. Join Wolf Patrol in calling for the return of federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin and an end to the nation’s only hound hunt for wolves.

Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt 2021: Day One

02/22/21 FIELD UPDATE: Our crews are busy combing national forest roads looking for more wolf traps like those we’ve already found in the first three hours of the hunt. A group of bear hunters who have had their hounds killed by wolves is also camped out in the national forest, and is actively hunting with hounds as I write this.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin:  Wolf Patrol, a wildlife advocacy group that has been monitoring conflicts between bear hunters and Wisconsin wolves since 2014 will have members in the field to document, without disrupting, the wolf hunt starting February 22, 2021.  From the season opening, Wolf Patrol will gather evidence on public lands to support legal challenges to the court-ordered cull, the first legal wolf hunt in seven years.

“The expedited hunt violates Wisconsin treaties, as well as promises the WDNR made about public input and transparency,” said Wolf Patrol’s founder, Rod Coronado.  “Hunting wolves with dogs is legalized dog fighting.  Rushed through during breeding season, this cull is based on hate, fear, revenge and the desire to kill as many wolves as possible.”

Wolf Patrol was among the organizations represented for testimony at the December, 2020 meeting of the Natural Resources Board, when WDNR made assurances of no wolf hunt until the Fall, as mandated by Act 169.  Wisconsin state law requires a hunt, with hounds and traps, during any year wolves are not Federally protected.  Wisconsin is the only state that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves.

Act 169 does not allow snares or night hunting, but WDNR quickly added those methods to regulations for 2021, without public input.  The state’s Wolf Management Plan, not updated since the beginning of re-colonization in 1999, lags behind the best available science.  WDNR promised input from all stakeholders on an updated plan, including environmental and wildlife organizations.  Former WDNR Secretary Stepp removed groups opposing recreational wolf killing from the Wolf advisory Committee in 2012.  

Coyotes Suffer Year-Round What Wisconsin Wolves Will Face in One Week

Wolf Patrol took a look into the coyote fur industry to see what becomes of the many animals killed annually in Wisconsin. What we found out was that most of the coyotes killed by hound hunters are in such bad condition that they are almost commercially worthless. Indeed, what we learned was that for this reason, many hunters simply kill coyotes and leave them where they lay.

Comments on the Groenewold Fur & Wool Co. Facebook page December 2020.

This is especially true now in late winter when not only coyotes, but other animals’ fur such as wolves is of little commercial value due to the animals rubbing and the natural yellowing of the fur that occurs when days become longer. For those coyotes caught in traps, at the right time of the year, their pelts can fetch as much as $80.00 in prime condition. Wolf Patrol’s research into the buying practices of Groenewold Fur & Wool Company, which regularly buys coyotes whole and skinned in Wisconsin revealed that the average price paid for a Wisconsin coyote was $20.00.

Coyote & wolf hunting with hounds isn’t hunting. It’s legalized dog-fighting.

Late winter predator hunting in Wisconsin is not about selling fur, it’s about killing as many animals as you can. Only recently has it become legal for this to also befall gray wolves in Wisconsin in the state’s court-ordered hunt on February 22nd, 2021 that will kill at least 200 animals. Remember, every hunting tactic in the above video will be a legal means to kill a wolf in Wisconsin next week.

Wisconsin coyote caught in the same type of foothold trap that will be legal to use on wolves February 22-28, 2021.

If you’d like to show your support for Wisconsin’s wolves and coyotes, limited edition apparel will be available for only a few more days! To see the many designs and colors available, please visit:

Float.org

Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt Will Allow Dogs, Traps, Cable-Restraints, Baiting and Night Hunting

Legally killed wolf by hound hunter in Wisconsin’s 2014 wolf hunt.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has published the regulations for it’s court-ordered wolf hunt which is set to begin on Monday February 22, 2021. The state of Wisconsin and the WDNR’s appeal of the Jefferson County court ruling brought about by the Kansas-based Hunter Nation lobbying group is expected to be ruled on before the hunt starts Monday.

The facts are plainly simple, this expedited wolf hunt is the result of a special interest group’s lawsuit, not the recommendations of a single WDNR biologist. The state of Wisconsin does not even have a qualified wolf biologist as it’s Large Carnivore Specialist, instead in the rush for this hunt it called on the previous Large Carnivore Specialist who signed off on Wisconsin’s wolf hunt in 2012-14. Nothing about the hunt is cautionary, despite the fact that it is the first wolf hunt of its kind beginning and ending in the midst of gray wolf breeding season.

In the rush to kill as many wolves as possibly in the 8-day season, the Natural Resources Board is allowing every big game hunting method allowed. 4,000 licensed wolf hunters will be allowed to pursue wolves with packs of up to six hunting dogs from sunrise to sunset while predator callers using electronic and mouth calls can hunt wolves 24 hours a day. In addition, as is the case with Wisconsin’s bear hunting, up to ten gallons of non-animal based bait can be used to attract wolves as well as foothold traps and cable-retraints.

It is Wolf Patrol’s prediction that the quotas in each wolf hunting zone will be filled in the first few days of the hunt and the total kill will far surpass that allowed for the entire state, which is 200 animals. Once a quota has been reached in a wolf zone, WDNR is still allowing licensed wolf hunters 24 hours to continue hunting. Meanwhile prospective wolf hunters in Wisconsin are already calling for others to “kill ten and report one” or simply “leave them lay.”

Just one of many similar comments flooding Wisconsin Facebook hunting pages right now.

The February 2021 Wisconsin wolf hunt will not be a hunt, it’ll be a slaughter. Allowing thousands of hunters, trappers, hounders and baiters to enter Wisconsin’s wolf territory during a hard winter with heavy snow will surely lead to many more than 200 wolves being killed before the WDNR responds and closes the hunt early.

Stay tuned for more updates as we receive them!

Wolf Patrol Wants You to Enter the Lottery for a Wisconsin Wolf Permit & Will Pay If You Don’t Hunt

Wolf Patrol monitors explaining to a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association our constitutional right to film hound training in a Wolf Caution Area.

Wolf Patrol is calling on opponents of Wisconsin’s unlawful wolf hunt to enter the lottery for one of the 2,000 licenses that will be issued on February 22, 2021 to kill a wolf. WDNR will be issuing 4,000 wolf tags, but 2,000 will be awarded to licensed hunters with preference points purchased in years past. The application fee is just $10.00 and if you are drawn for a wolf tag, Wolf Patrol will pay for your license and offer you an all expenses paid tour of Wisconsin’s wolf country during the 7-day hunt!

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources press release announcing February 2021 wolf hunt:

https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/newsroom/release/40876?fbclid=IwAR2J55NjPmEsPlZYV5v5Swty0etksSEEIPyd9l93-PoWaj6kUEPrzkaDzDk

Anyone can enter the lottery for the chance to kill a Wisconsin wolf. Legal hunting methods include shooting, trapping, calling, baiting and the use of hounds. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that allows wolves to be hunted with dogs. Anyone can enter the lottery. Even if you live in Antarctica and love wolves, you can still enter for a chance to win! Simply visit the “GOWILD” website listed below, create a profile and click on “Buy Permit Applications.” You will be charged $10.00 now and if you are drawn for a permit, you will be asked to buy the license for either $49.00 if you are a Wisconsin resident, or $251 if a nonresident. Wolf Patrol will reimburse all your permit application and license fee if you are a lucky winner!

As many as 4,000 wolf hunters including hound hunters like these, will enter the woods of Wisconsin on February 22nd, 2021.

Unfortunately, thousands of prospective wolf hunters will be awarded a license to kill a gray wolf in Wisconsin. Four thousand to be exact. That means literally thousands of hunters will be combing the Northwoods of Wisconsin over a period of only 7 days, trying to kill one of the allowed 200 wolves before the quota is filled and closes. Because of the sheer number of hunters able to be in the field where they will not know if their hunting zone is closed or not, the quota of 200 wolves is sure to be exceeded as it was for the last Wisconsin’s wolf hunt in 2014.

Once you have purchased your application you will be sent a confirmation email.

The killing of wolves in Wisconsin is no joke. Ever since the federal government relisted wolves as endangered in 2014, individuals have increased illegal killings and even poisonings that have killed far more than wolves. Also, this rushed illegitimate wolf hunt is in violation of treaty obligations with the sovereign nations Wisconsin shares its borders with. It is also a violation of the public’s trust, after we were told in both December 2020 and January 2021 by the Natural Resources Board that there would be no hunt without a new wolf management plan, Wolf Advisory Committee, and process involving the public and all interested stakeholders.

One of the wolves killed with the aid of hounds during Wisconsin’s 2013 wolf hunt.

Left out of the process we were promised, opponents of this quasi-legitimate hunt are left with the hope that the state’s own appeal of the court ordered hunt will prevent the killing of over two hundred gray wolves during breeding season. There is no biological justification for a wolf hunt during breeding season. There has never been a recreational hunt like this in Wisconsin’s few legal hunts. In 2012, 2013 & 2014 the quotas filled before December. This hunt very likely could target a large proportion of pregnant females, killing not just one wolf but many pups as well.

Wolf Patrol was the only organization monitoring Wisconsin’s wolf hunt in 2014, and we will again be witness to this mass slaughter and will be gathering evidence for all lawsuits that are sure to follow. As in years past, Wolf Patrol monitors will be abiding by all local, state and federal laws and exercising our constitutional right to observe the wolf hunt from public roads and lands. In addition, any violations of Wisconsin’s hunting regulations will be documented and reported to WDNR.

Now hurry and visit the link below to enter the lottery to be a part of Wisconsin wolf history! You only have until Saturday February 20th at 11:59PM CT to enter!

https://gowild.wi.gov/lookupaccount

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board Approves Poorly Organized Wolf Hunt Fraught with Legal Implications

Here’s the link to today’s Natural Resources Board meeting. Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources doesn’t even have it’s own qualified wolf biologist, the current Large Carnivore Specialist has no background in wolves so they had to pull in the former head of that department who had less than 72 hours to “make a scientific recommendation” for a wolf hunt that will begin next week and last one week. We’ll let the “experts” speak for themselves:

https://dnrmedia.wi.gov/main/Play/ccb5cf0361c5471e9cbc7c7a898cfc741d?catalog=9da0bb432fd448a69d86756192a62f1721

Wisconsin DNR Appeals Wolf Hunt Order Citing Damage it Would Cause to Tribal Relations & Public Trust

A legally killed Wisconsin wolf in 2013.

The last two months have been confusing as Wisconsin regains the responsibility to manage gray wolves after they were officially delisted. By state law, the Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) must organize a recreational wolf hunt anytime the animals are under state authority, as they currently are as of January 4th, 2021. The problem is, state law also says a hunt must begin in November and end in February. In December 2020, a WDNR press release stated that there would be no wolf hunt until November 2021, allowing the necessary time to consult with tribes, stakeholders, assemble a new Wolf Advisory Committee, and draft a new wolf management plan.

In January 2021 however, Wisconsin state senators Rob Stafsholt and Tom Tiffany held an informational hearing which took public testimony in support of an immediate wolf hunt in January/February 2021. This hearing led to an Emergency Meeting of the Natural Resources Board (NRB) on January 22, that left tribal authorities, biologists and supporters with only three days notice to prepare testimony and submit comments on a proposed immediate wolf hunt. Despite 5 hours of testimony, the majority opposed to the proposed hunt, NRB members quickly moved to discussion on a quota for an immediate hunt. A vote was then held to allow the hunt with members only voting against after the state’s legal counsel advised it’d be in violation of treaty obligations.

It’s important to note that at none of this time has WDNR endorsed a January/February 2021 wolf hunt. Their own biologist know that such a hunt would be during gray wolf breeding season when many females are pregnant as well as during the WDNR’s annual Large Carnivore Survey. At the January NRB meeting, WDNR’s Director, Cole Preston echoed the December WDNR press release stating the many steps that needed to be taken before even a hunt could begin in November.

On February 2, 2021 the sport hunting lobby group, Hunter Nation filed a lawsuit to force the state to conduct an immediate wolf hunt in the time that remained before state law says any wolf hunt should end in February. The out-of-state Hunter Nation lawsuit intentionally ignores all state treaty obligations and provides no scientific evidence to warrant an immediate wolf hunt, other than to argue that such a hunt was needed before the Biden Administration might restore federal protection to gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

On February 11, a Jefferson County judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation, forcing WDNR to divert attention and resources from other departments to begin the necessary steps to enact an immediate wolf hunt, while at the same time appealing the court order to hold a hunt. In accordance with the court order, the Natural Resources Board is once again holding an Emergency Meeting, this time to simply set the quota for the hunt they already tried to force WDNR to conduct. The February 15th NRB meeting is only taking comments on a proposed quota while disenfranchising any other legal, public or government interest in opposing a February 2021 wolf hunt.

Also on Monday February 15th, the state of Wisconsin and WDNR have asked the court to rule on the following appeal and Motion for an Expedited Stay of the Jefferson County court order. Wolf Patrol will report on both the NRB meeting and court ruling by the end of the day tomorrow!

COMBINED EMERGENCY PETITION FOR PERMISSIVE APPEAL AND SUPPORTING MEMORANDUM:

MOTION FOR AN EXPEDITED STAY OF THE CIRCUIT COURTS ORDER, ENTERED FEBRUARY 12, 2021:

Under the proposed wolf hunt guidelines, hound hunters like these knucleheads would be allowed to kill 200 wolves in less than one week of the breeding season in the end of February 2021.

THE PROPOSED FEBRUARY 2021 WISCONSIN WOLF HUNT AS PROPOSED BY WDNR:

One of the last hound hunters to legally kill a wolf in Wisconsin’s 2014 wolf hunt.

LINK TO FEBRUARY 15, 2021 NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD MEETING AGENDA:

https://widnr.widen.net/s/bpdpgvl7m6/2021-02-february-wolf-quota-special-meeting-agenda

LINK TO WATCH FEBRUARY 15, 2021 NRB MEETING LIVE @ 11AMCT:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84029304459

PUBLIC COMMENT LIST (99PAGES!!!)

Coyote Hunting with Hounds is Legalized Dog-Fighting

Every winter across America a new breed of hunters take to the field, coyote hound hunters. While hunting coyotes has long been a favorite sport to those looking to take advantage of the year-round open season or no bag limit restrictions in most states, hunting coyotes with other dogs as a sport is growing.

A photo shared on the Facebook private group, “Coyote Hunting with Hounds” on February 9, 2021 by Jonathan Graff.

With the argument that coyotes are an abundant “out-of-control” predator threatening livestock and pets, most states like Wisconsin allow coyotes to be hunted with a variety of means including hounds. Most coyote hound hunters use their dogs to hunt bear, bobcat and other game as well. But in the off-season, it’s coyotes that many hunt to keep their dogs in shape.

A coyote clearly still alive being mauled by a pack of GPS-collared coyote hounds. Photo shared on Facebook by Greg Elpers on February 9, 2021.

Today’s hound hunter couldn’t find a coyote in a cornfield, if it wasn’t for the Global Positioning Satelittes (GPS) collars fitted on each hound or the radios and trucks they use to corner and kill coyotes. Most hound hunters hunt in groups with packs of fresh dogs read to replace tired ones in a coyote chase, which can last hours and dozens of miles. Often when coyote hound hunters “bay” their prey, that is corner and surround it, coyote hounds are then encouraged to fight and kill the exhausted coyote.

Exhausted from an hours long chase, many coyotes are overrun by hunting hounds and killed before the hunters even arrive at the scene. Notice the injuries to the hounds as well. Photo shared on Facebook by Makayla Lysinger on February 8, 2021.

The winter of 2020-2021 has been a busy one for coyote hound hunters who use private Facebook groups to share photos and videos of their legalized cruelty. Wolf Patrol monitors these pages, reporting any violations to the appropriate state wildlife agency, but what we’ve discovered in our conversations with multiple conservation officers in different states is that most of the cruelty is perfectly legal, as most states categorize coyotes as a non-game animal.

No ethical hunter or state wildlife agency should call this kind of treatment of wild animals hunting.

Wisconsin is just one of many states allowing hound hunters as well as any hunting group, to competitively hunt coyotes in what are known as “coyote contests.” Often held in rural bars, these killing contests offer cash and prizes for the most, heaviest and often smallest coyote killed. When the contestants have gone home, many of those animals killed are simply disposed of because of damage done to the fur by dogs and bullets.

Coyote killed by Wisconsin hound hunters during the KBM Coyote Contest in Forest County, January 2021.

Coyote hunting with hounds isn’t hunting, it’s legalized dog-fighting. Unable to escape from pursuing hounds up a tree like bears, bobcats or raccoons, many coyotes spend their final tired moments being physically torn apart by dogs as their owners offer encouragement.

Coyotes piled high on the hound box in Ohio. Photo shared on Facebook February 8, 2021.

Please contact your state wildlife department, natural resources board or wildlife commission and let them know that hunting coyotes with hounds needs to regulated with a season, bag limit, tags and quotas like other legal hunting. Otherwise your state will continue to allow what can only be called legalized dog-fighting.

This coyote couldn’t run any longer and sought refuge in freezing waters before being mauled to death by Brandon Sturtz’s hounds in Ohio in January 2021.

If you would like to start your own Wolf Patrol chapter to investigate and monitor coyote hunting with hounds in your own state, please contact us and we will help you get started!