Federal & State Authorities Investigating Suspected Xylitol Poisonings in Wisconsin

In the Summer of 2017, at a private meeting with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) conservation officers, U.S, Forest Service law enforcement and the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department, Wolf Patrol provided authorities with evidence that anti-wolf advocates were poisoning wolves with Xylitol. Authorities were also provided with multiple screenshots from anti-wolf Wisconsin residents on Facebook posting about illegally killing wolves following failed attempts to delist gray wolves from federal protections.

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Freyja, another victim of poison on April 2, 2019 outside of Iron River, Wisconsin.

When a livestock guardian dog was found poisoned in Bayfield County in early April, 2019, Wolf Patrol again offered a $1000 reward for information on illegal poisoning of wolves and other canines. That reward is in addition to another $1,600 offered in Marinette County by a pet’s owner following his dog being poisoned on March 31, 2019.

Wolf Patrol is now calling on other wildlife organizations to chip in and make the reward irresistible to anyone with information on the illegal, unethical and cruel poisoning of beloved pets, coyotes, wolves and other animals in Wisconsin. We have documented a long trail of illegal activity directed towards federally protected wolves in Wisconsin, now its time to join together to catch whoever is responsible for these atrocities. 

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Facebook post on Wisconsin Wolf Hunting page shared with law enforcement in 2017.

On April 19, 2019 WDNR, USFS and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued the following press release related to their ongoing investigation of illegal poisoning of wolves and other canines in northern Wisconsin:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service are seeking the public’s help in solving several cases involving the poisoning deaths of domestic dogs and wildlife since December.

Dog deaths have occurred in Bayfield, Marinette and Florence County; however, it is unknown if other counties could be involved. In addition to the poisoning of these family pets, investigators also found dead coyotes, weasels, raccoons and one wolf that they suspect also were poisoned. The DNR says lab tests are underway to confirm the cause of death in these wildlife cases.

The DNR also says the deaths occurred on public properties in these counties managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Goodman Timber Company. This photo shows an actual sample recovered by WDNR law enforcement at one of the locations of a canine fatality.

POISON

Investigators say the poison was found on the ground in rural areas and subsequently was ingested by the dogs. Each dog died in less than 30 minutes after ingestion. People walking their pets are recommended to keep them on leashes to restrict their movements off roadways and into possible contact with any possible poison.

If you have information or a tip – no matter how insignificant it may seem – please contact the WDNR Violation Hotline.

You may confidentially report by calling or texting: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847- 9367. You also may report online: https://dnrx.wisconsin.gov/rav/ The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay report information to conservation wardens.

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Wisconsin Bird Dog Poisoned…Anti-Wolf, Hound Hunters Are Suspected

On March 31, 2019, A bird hunter was walking with his dog on public lands in Marinette County, Wisconsin when the animal ingested something found on the thawed earth. The following is the account from the dog’s owner:

For those of you that don’t know, I lost my dog Ava to a poisoning incident that happened on public land on Helton Road off of Benson lake Road in Athelstane on 31 March. My dog died in my arms in a horrific and inhumane manner that no living animal should have to experience.

I am working with the WI DNR and Marinette Crime Stoppers to try and find the responsible party. I am starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for a reward to give to the person who can provide information that leads to finding out who is responsible for placing the poison in the woods.

Authorities believe the poison was put out by someone who is trying to eliminate the wolves in the area. If the money raised is never used to help catch the person(s) responsible I will donate all the money collected to a local animal shelter.

There have been additional reports of dogs poisonings as well as other wildlife in Marinette County and as far north as Florence County. If you you are a hunter or walking dogs in northern Marinette County please be careful and please help spread the word about this lethal hazard.

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Ever since Wisconsin’s wolves were returned to federal protection in 2014, their illegal killing and poisoning has been advocated on Facebook.

The area where the poisoning occurred is a popular area for bear hunters who are opposed to the recolonization of wolves in the area. Wisconsin bear hunters often advocate illegal poisoning of wolves following wolf depredation’s on bear hunting hounds. In addition to the above-mentioned reward, Wolf Patrol is also offering an additional $1000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of anyone illegally poisoning wildlife in Wisconsin.

To contribute to Clark Cate’s reward fund:

gf.me/u/r7458v

Xylitol Poisoning Suspected in Death of Bayfield County Livestock Guardian Dog

FREYJA

Freyja was poisoned near her farm on April 4, 2019 in Iron River, Wisconsin.

By Wisconsin nature writer Laura Menefree

Don, a farmer whose name we’ve changed at his request, has been protecting sheep on his Iron River, Wisconsin farm with Livestock Guardian Dogs – LGDs – over fifteen years. In that time, he has never lost a dog to a predator, including wolves. “They have been extremely effective,” he says of his dogs, “we have had very few predator issues, lost a few chickens over the years, but never a dog or sheep.”

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Freyja protecting her flock.

LGDs are raised with the livestock they guard, so they are more bonded to their livestock than to people. They live with the livestock full time. A puppy can cost $2000 or more, “and two to three years of training and maturing before they’re effective and safe with livestock,” Don says. “They learn and gain more confidence with each year and a great dog like Freyja who can be a teacher to the next generation – they’re priceless.”

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Don’s sheep farm borders the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Early in April, he found Freyja violently shaking, convulsing and seizing near her sheep yard. He immediately suspected poisoning and rushed her to the local veterinarian. “I’m at a loss to know if it was intentional or if she found something intended for coyotes or something else.”

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Facebook screenshot from Wisconsin Wolf Hunting page July 2017.

Sadly, the veterinarian did not think to suspect xylitol poisoning, a favorite tactic of bear hounders to reduce wolf presence near their bait stations.

Just last month, a pet owner lost two dogs while walking them along Pine River on Lost Lake Road, where he owns a cabin in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Dennis Santini had noticed a frozen mass which appeared to be an animal organ, or part of a carcass. The dogs were curious about it, and he tried to keep them away. But on March 8, after their walk, his 23 month old pup began to seize. He died en route to the clinic, “in the most horrific manner, unfit for any living being.”

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Xylitol poisoning is regularly advocated on Wisconsin anti-wolf Facebook pages.

Just eight days later, his 14 year old dog died in the same way. Again, the veterinarian was unfamiliar with xylitol poisoning. A poisoned raccoon was found in the same area.

A close friend of Don says his sheep farm is located in an area heavily used by bear hounders. “Also tons of logging going on,” she notes, “so increase in coyote movement in the area along with wolves. Freyja did her job working long nights without incident, although the hounders certainly make their presence known. This is Iron River, unfortunately, Bear Hounding Central. We’ve been more concerned about a confrontation with bear hounds [than wolves] with Freyja defending her flock. But this is just too much.”

Don’s friend used to take care of the farm sometimes when Don had to be away. “Freyja was like our dog. Devastating loss to the operations there. Still gives me a lump in my chest I can’t shake. She was such a phenomenal dog.”

“We are at a loss to know the circumstances, so we’re trying not to jump to conclusions,” Don says of his loss. “There is no measure to the monetary loss. I’m not sure how to calculate that. We know that we do not have, nor use anything here that could cause such a reaction, so it seems it’s from some outside source. We can only speculate given the area that she patrolled, our location and proximity to the National Forest. In any case, the circumstances are highly suspicious given all that goes on around us related to hunting and the hatred of predators.”

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Suspecting poison, but unsure of which one, the veterinarian declined to test a sample. However, enough evidence exists to warrant a suspicion of xylitol poisoning in that specific area. In fact, it has been going on for years. Rob Ganson, a hunter and long time resident of Bayfield County who lives near Washburn reported the practice in 2017. “Hounders go out on the forest roads on the peninsula in winter, throwing xylitol-laced meatballs from their truck windows into the snow.” He warns that with snowmelt, the poisons that were set out over winter will now be easily accessed by pets and wildlife, so “keep a close eye on your dogs this spring when hiking in wolf country.”

“We are simply heartbroken. If anyone in our area has knowledge of anyone baiting for coyotes or other like activity…keep close watch on your dogs. I’ll post a video, if anyone cares to see how a dog reacts to poison. Absolutely sickening. RIP our sweet, sweet Freyja.”

Wolf Patrol is offering a $1000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for poisoning Freyja or any wildlife illegally in Wisconsin. You can remain anonymous

[Note: All principals in this account requested their names withheld for fear of confrontation with hounders, except Rob Ganson.]

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$500 REWARD For Identity of Those Responsible for Illegally Dumping Coyotes in Bayfield County…Again

DUMPED YOTES 4.19

Another intentional wanton waste of wildlife and illegal dumping of coyote carcasses has occurred in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, site of at least two organized coyote killing contests this past winter. Both the 4th Annual Fur Bang! and PJ’s Cabin Store Coyote Hunt took place in February and March of this year.

BAYFIELDS

April 12, 2019 Facebook photo from Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department.

And while Wolf Patrol is not accusing anyone of the crime, our past investigations reveal that these dumping often occur after coyotes killed during contests have been weighed in and any prizes awarded. To many hunters, its the cash that matters, not the responsible use of an animal killed.

4TH ANNUMAL FUR BANG

Flyer from coyote killing contest in area where coyotes were dumped.

Less than two weeks ago, two more foxes killed in an unknown predator hunting contest were discovered dumped in Forest County, Wisconsin. And last May, Wolf Patrol documented a huge illegal dump of more than 30 unskinned coyotes in Ashland County, Wisconsin following the winter season of coyote killing contests.

 

FOXES

Foxes from winter predator killing contest dumped in Forest County, Wisconsin April 2019.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating the recent dumping of dozens of coyotes off of Highway 2 in Bayfield County, just a few miles from where the coyote dump was discovered last May by Wolf Patrol. The recently discovered coyotes were mostly skinned, although at least two appear to be untouched.

WDNR is looking for any information the public might be able to provide on the illegal dumping, and Wolf Patrol is offering a $500 cash reward for information that leads to the identfication of those responsible for this or any wanton waste of Wisconsin wildlife.

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If you are a Wisconsin resident who is opposed to wildlife killing contests, please contact your elected representatives (legis.wisconsin.gov) to voice your support for the proposed Senate Bill 30 which would ban the dozens of coyote, bobcat, fox and crow killing contests held in Wisconsin each winter.

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Coyotes killed in Bayfield County March 9, 2019.

 

Only 5 More Days for Public Comments on Wisconsin’s Bear Hunting Practices…

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is revising its bear management plan and asking for your comments on how to better manage black bears in Wisconsin. Until April 14, 2019 you can send your public comment to:

DNRBearPlanComments@wisconsin.gov

POINT BLANK OUTFITTERS TWINKIES

Twinkies being sold by Wisconsin bear bait supplier in March 2019.

Let WDNR know its time to reign in Wisconsin’s bear hunters, who are allowed to dump food waste for bears beginning in April at as many bear baits as they choose to use. In northern Wisconsin, a black bears diet is 40% comprised of artificial bait according to WDNR.

BUDHA BEAR BAIT

Chocolate & Xylitol, (both toxic to bears and canines) is allowed in Wisconsin bear bait. 

Its also time to reform the two-month summer bear hound training season which requires no license for residents or non-residents to chase bears from July until the beginning off kill season in September.

The above videos were shared by Wisconsin & Michigan hound hunters on Facebook between 2015-2018 and depict bear hound training practices in Wisconsin. To read the WDNR’s Draft Revised Bear Plan, please visit:

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Hunt/documents/BearPlanFinalDraft.pdf

$500 REWARD for Information on Fox Dumping After Wisconsin Predator Killing Contest

On March 30, 2019 a hiker discovered two dead red foxes with foam blocks zip-tied in their mouths (a practice required in predator killing contests) south of Armstrong Creek, Wisconsin in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Facebook post on Wisconsin Outdoorsman! that first alerted Wolf Patrol to illegal dumping.

There were three known predator killing contests in the area this past winter, the KB Memorial Predator Hunt in Townsend, Main Street Ed’s Predator Hunt in Argonne and the May’s Bar Predator Hunt outside of Crandon, Wisconsin. In addition, there were at least 12 other predator killing contests in neighboring counties.

After contacting the hiker who found the carcasses, on April 4, 2019 Wolf Patrol visited the dump site to investigate, and report the illegal dumping to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources law enforcement.

Last Spring, Wolf Patrol also documented the illegal dumping of over 24 coyotes in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Bayfield County. While it is illegal to kill foxes, coyotes and bobcats, only to later dump the carcasses, the practice often occurs after wildlife killing contests where cash prizes are offered for killed animals but not their meat or fur.

DUMPED YOTES

Coyotes dumped after a 2019 predator killing contest in nearby Michigan.

Predator killing contests are also popular in nearby Michigan, where this past winter the dumping of coyotes following another contest was also documented and reported to Michigan’s DNR.

Wolf Patrol is opposed to the wanton waste of wildlife associated with predator killing contests and is offering a $500 reward for information on whoever is responsible for dumping these foxes in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. If you have any information, please contact us and your identity will be protected.

COYOTE OBSESSION TOURNEY

Fox killed and zip-tied after a 2019 predator hunt in Michigan.

Wisconsin residents are also encouraged to contact your elected officials and let them know you support Senate Bill 30 which would ban wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin. You can find your elected representatives here:

legis.wisconsin.gov

Facebook Videos of Wisconsin’s Hound Hunters Depict Cruelty & Violence

Until Midnight April 14, 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is accepting public comment on its 2019-2029 Revised Draft Bear Management Plan. Here’s a link to the plan:

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Hunt/documents/BearPlanFinalDraft.pdf

AH RIG W HOUNDS

Aaron Hamann’s bear hounds during Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training season. 

If you don’t have time to read the 56-page plan right now, here’s a two-minute video to help you better understand Wisconsin’s bear hunting practices. These videos were shared on Facebook by Wisconsin bear hunters between 2015-2018 and illustrate current bear hound training and hunting practices recognized by WDNR as integral to black bear management.

HAMANN DEAD BEAR

Wisconsin bear killed by Aaron Hamann hunting party in 2017.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources currently proposes no changes to the two-month summer bear hound training season, whereby anyone without any license requirement, can come to Wisconsin and place as many bear baits as they desire on public lands and allow their dogs to chase the bears that feed from them from July until September.

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Hamann joking about  his hounds’ wildlife-fighting behavior

The videos published today depict common training practices and consequences of releasing hounds prone to violence in Wisconsin’s northwoods and demonstrate why WDNR should shorten the bear hound training & bear baiting season. This revised draft bear management plan is for the next ten years, let WDNR it is irresponsible to not make changes to Wisconsin’s liberal bear baiting and hound training regulations!

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Injured hound during Wisconsin’s 2015 bear hound training season.

Join Wolf Patrol in calling on WDNR to make the following changes to bear hunting practices approved in the revised draft bear plan:

  • Require registration & limit to bear bait sites.

  • Prohibit the use of chocolate and xylitol in bear baits.

  • Require license for non-resident bear hound training & baiting.

  • Prohibit bear baiting & hound training in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas.

  • Shorten bear baiting & hound training season to one-month before kill season.

BEAR EATING DONUTS

40% of a Wisconsin black bears diet is comprised of artificial baits like these donuts.

EMAIL YOUR OWN COMMENTS TO WDNR:

DNRBearPlanComments@wisconsin.gov