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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!