For Coyote Hunters, Another Season of Wanton Waste of Life

MM PA COYOTE TREE 4.3.18

A Pennsylvania hound hunter’s tradition, published on Facebook in April 2018.

This April marked the end of another coyote hunting season with hounds in Wisconsin and in other states like Pennsylvania, where there is no closed season or bag limit for coyotes. The use of hounds to hunt coyotes has become a cruel and abusive sport in most of the midwestern and eastern states where multiple hound trucks with GPS collared dogs run down coyotes. A search on YouTube or Facebook will easily lead you to public graphic videos of hunting hounds tearing into exhausted coyotes. No where else has this kind of hunting been more graphically represented on social media than in Wisconsin, Michigan and this winter, in Pennsylvania.

MAY POST 1.15.18 COYOTE ON ICE

A Pennsylvania coyote moments before being mauled and killed by hounds in January 2018.

The following is some of the evidence Wolf Patrol uncovered on social media of the wanton waste and abuse that is a part of all coyote hunting with hounds, in every state where it is allowed. And although the videos in this post were filmed in Pennsylvania, every coyote hound hunter knows this kind of hounding activity happens in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other states as well.


Hunting coyotes with hounds is a sport many hound hunters participate in during the winter months when hunting seasons for bear and other animals are closed. But unlike black bears who can climb trees to avoid physical attack by packs of pursuing hunting dogs, coyotes are often cornered, captured and mauled. Some hound hunters will even wound an exhausted coyote and allow hounds to tear into the animal, some of these dogs become better “killdogs” while others are best at simply following their prey’s trail.

In many states like Pennsylvania and Illinois, it is legal for hunting dogs to kill prey, but in Wisconsin it is not legal for dogs to maul, attack or kill coyotes or other wildlife as is depicted in these and dozens of other videos Wolf Patrol has found on hound hunter’s own Facebook pages.


In January 2018, while investigating coyote hound hunters in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northern Wisconsin, members of Wolf Patrol were surrounded and detained by a large coyote hunting party unhappy with their hound hunting being documented by Wolf Patrol. While investigating members of the hunting party, we discovered that some were allowing their dogs to illegally kill coyotes with their dogs. Following the January incident, Wolf Patrol continued investigating suspected hound hunting abuses and publishing the evidence we discovered on of illegal hunting activities in Wisconsin and other states.


In March 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Regional Warden Supervisor for northern Wisconsin contacted Wolf Patrol to inform us that a criminal investigation was being launched into the illegal hound hunting activities published by Wisconsin hunters on social media. Later that month, WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller called Wolf Patrol to update us on their investigation into the abuses we were exposing and tell us of criminal charges being brought against Wisconsin hunter Jason Armbruster, whose photos of his dogs attacking raccoons had been reported to WDNR previous to being publicized by Wolf Patrol.


Unfortunately, the painful injuries inflicted on coyotes and other wildlife by hunting dogs is encouraged, rewarded, and applauded by “houndsmen.”  In a sport that trains packs of dogs to run together, chase after, fight, and draw blood, this is an inevitable outcome. Not only do coyotes suffer, but often the hounds themselves are severely injured by bears and coyotes and sometimes outright killed in an attempt to please their owners. In states such as Wisconsin, wolves which are encountered by packs of barking hunting hounds will often turn the tables and get the best of the hounds they are trying to outrun or in an attempt to protect their territories and families.

Resident and non-resident hound hunters who have hunting hounds killed by wolves in the state of Wisconsin are routinely compensated up to $2,500 for their careless loss, with most of the money coming out of the state’s Endangered Species Fund.

BLOODY HOUND

Coyote hunting “kill dog” injured in fight with coyote, January 2018.

States like Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas know of the inherent cruelty involved in hunting coyotes, raccoons and fox with hounds, so its legal in those states to allow hunting dogs to fight with coyotes every winter, when there’s nothing else to legally kill. Hunting hounds tearing into coyotes in Wisconsin is a crime that Wolf Patrol will continue to investigate and report.

KILLDOG

May 2018 Facebook post advertising coyote hunting dogs.

In April 2018, Wolf Patrol’s Wildlife Crimes Unit announced the launch of a new reward program that offers to pay $1000 for evidence of illegal hound hunting activities in Wisconsin that led to any conviction. The program is meant to encourage ethical hunters to report others they know of who allow their hounds to illegally kill coyotes or other wildlife. Your identity will be protected, and if your tip leads to a conviction, you will receive $1000, no questions asked.

100 COYOTES 3.17.18

This one group of coyote hound hunters in Pennsylvania were responsible for killing 114 coyotes during winter 2017-18. Here they celebrate their 100th.

Wolf Patrol is pleased to know that WDNR conservation officers are investigating illegal hound hunting activities in Wisconsin, but much more needs to be done. While hounders like Armbruster have been charged, according to Chief Warden Schaller, others whose illegal activities we highlighted, were only contacted and given warnings, as most of the evidence against other hounders was too old to act on. Still, Wolf Patrol appreciates WDNR wardens reminding hound hunters that it is illegal to allow your dogs to maul or kill coyotes and other wildlife.

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One of the Wisconsin hound hunters encountered by Wolf Patrol in January 2018, broadcasting her illegal animal cruelty to friends on Facebook.

 

In May 2018, Wolf Patrol members investigated a large pile of coyote carcasses dumped in the Ashland County portion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The pile was not unlike many others discovered when snows melt each Spring, revealing the carnage left behind by hound hunters who only want to kill, but not make use of any part of the animal. Over 30 coyote carcasses were found, many with shotgun wounds consistent with hound hunters, not trappers or predator callers.

WDNR & USFS investigated the dumping on national forest lands, but indicate that although unethical, it is legal to kill an unlimited number of coyotes, and later dump the bodies in a legal fashion. Investigators told Wolf Patrol that at the most, its a case of illegal dumping, because the carcasses weren’t spread out in a way that they could decompose more easily. Mange has been reported in many coyotes in the area, so investigators surmise that might explain why the coyotes were not skinned in this particular carcass pile.

Because both WDNR & USFS investigators have indicated that they would still like to know who is responsible for the coyote dumping which they say was first reported months ago, Wolf Patrol is offering a $500 REWARD for information that leads WDNR and/or USFS investigators to whoever dumped the coyotes on US Forest Service lands.

Wisconsin state law prohibits the wanton waste of wildlife, but the law is broadly defined, and it must be proven in court, that the intent of an activity was actually to destroy or waste wildlife or any other state natural resource. Still, according to a WDNR conservation officer interviewed about Wisconsin’s wanton waste laws on the hunting site, HuntTheNorth.com:

“…those who are just to lazy to clean their game and allow there harvest to go bad, or those who had no intention of eating or utilizing the game they harvested in the first place, those people have no business participating in the outdoor traditions many of us have grown to cherish so much. We as hunters and fisherman have a moral obligation to make sure that the game we harvest goes to good use and to make sure that it does not end up in a dumpster somewhere rotting away.”

Wanton Waste Laws- What Do They Mean and Why Do They Exist?
An Interview with a Wisconsin DNR warden by a pro-hunting organization:

http://www.huntthenorth.com/wantonwaste.html

Attention Ex-Wives & Girlfriends of Wisconsin Hound Hunters! Wolf Patrol will pay $1000 for Videos of Your Ex’s Hunting Violations!

In February 2018, Wolf Patrol began a campaign targeting Wisconsin hound hunters whose own videos published on Facebook depict graphic and illegal animal cruelty, which has led to a Department of Natural Resources criminal investigation. We are now soliciting the public for other video and photographic evidence of animal cruelty committed against Wisconsin’s wildlife over the last three years.

Wolf Patrol will pay $1,000 for any video or photograph depicting Wisconsin hound hunters engaged in illegal activity, such as allowing hounds to maul and kill coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. If the video or photos you provide result in a criminal conviction, you will then receive your $1,000. Only videos not previously reported will receive a reward and you may remain anonymous.

Wolf Patrol is not an anti-hunting organization, but we are opposed to the animal cruelty committed by some hunters using hounds to hunt coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. Allowing hunting dogs to maim, injure or kill animals is illegal and should be reported by any ethical hunter or citizen. We don’t care who you are, if you have evidence of someone using their hunting dogs in Wisconsin in an illegal fashion, we will pay you $1000 for the evidence when it results in any citation or criminal charge.

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Jason Armbruster’s own Facebook posts in 2017 led authorities to charge him with ten felony counts for animal cruelty and fighting.

To make a claim, please contact Wolf Patrol:

teamwolfpatrol@gmail.com

On Facebook: Wolf Patrol

This reward program is not endorsed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or its affiliated agents or other law enforcement agencies.

Its Time for Wisconsin’s Wolf Poachers to Lose Their Hunting Privileges

ONEIDA COUNTY DEAD WOLF

Wolf illegal killed by Stephen Kohl during Wisconsin’s 2017 deer season.

Earlier this year, Wolf Patrol reported on the upcoming Oneida County court case of Steven Kohl, a Manitowoc, Wisconsin hunter who knowingly shot and killed a federally protected gray wolf during Wisconsin’s 2017 firearms deer season. Wisconsin conservation officers investigating the wolf killing also cited Kohl for violating deer baiting regulations.

Wolf Patrol encourages supporters of wolf recovery in the Great Lakes to write letters to the Judge in Kohl’s criminal case, asking that if convicted, Kohl lose his hunting and trapping privileges for at least 3 years, and not be returned the rifle he used to kill the wolf. We believe such a punishment would help deter future acts of wolf poaching more than any prison sentence.

A preliminary hearing in Kohl’s case is scheduled for 11:00am, May 30, 2018, Br I Courtroom, 3rd Fl, Oneida County Courthouse, 1 South Oneida Ave, Rhinelander, WI 54501.

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The following is from the report written by Wisconsin DNR conservation officers. These are not our exaggerations, they are the words of licensed law enforcement officers responding to the increase in violence directed towards the wolves of Wisconsin. Kohl shot the wolf in question in its rear legs and she dragged herself 35 yards before she died from her gunshot wound.

FROM WISCONSIN DNR CONSERVATION OFFICER CASE ACTIVITY REPORT 11/22/17:

“Once we got as close to the wolf as we thought we could get, we proceeded on foot to a large marshy swamp and located the deceased wolf very close to the location provided by the GPS collar. I saw that the wolf was generally black in color and lying on its left side in a patch of brush. Upon closer examination, I saw significant trauma to the left and right rear legs. Based on experience and training the trauma appeared consistent with a gunshot wound. One or both of the rear legs appeared to be broken. Based on training and experience, I did not believe the wolf could have traveled very far after being shot. I was able to back track the wolf’s movement by following what appeared to be a drag trail of flattened vegetation and blood, approximately 35 yards to where the wolf was when I believed it was shot.”

Once Wisconsin conservation officers located Steven Kohl, who had been deer hunting from a deer stand overlooking where the wolf was shot, he denied killing the animal,

“I told Kohl we had a mortality signal on a wolf that was shot and it was found in front of his deer stand. Kohl stated that none of the wolves he saw appeared to be wounded and he did not shoot it. I explained the evidence to Kohl and suggested perhaps he made an error in  judgement and took a shot at the wolf. Kohl then admitted he ‘shot to keep them going’ and that he doesn’t shoot to kill. Kohl stated that he took one shot at the black wolf when it was out in the swamp straight east of him. After shooting at the wolf, Kohl stated he didn’t see the wolf again. Kohl stated he shot the wolf about 930am on November 18, 2017.”

“Warden Ebert then instructed Kohl that we would be seizing his rifle and trail camera. Kohl was informed he’d be receiving a citation in the mail for the illegal bait placement (WP note, Kohl and others on the property were using corn as deer bait, in violation of a baiting ban in Oneida County.) and that additional charges would be sought through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service or the WI DNR for the illegal harvest of a wolf.”

REPORT VIOLATIONS

The Oneida County Clerk has told supporters that the judge in this case will not read any letters that are only written to him alone, you must cc copies to the District Attorney, and Kohl’s attorney. The clerk said letter-writers could send all 3 letters in one envelope to her office, and she would give the copies to the judge, DA and Kohl’s attorney. If you would rather send individual letters to the parties concerned, Here are the addresses.

Oneida  County Clerk (If sending all three letters):

ATTN: Judge Patrick F. O’Melia, Oneida County Courthouse P.O. Box 400, 1 S. Oneida Avenue, Rhinelander, WI, 54501

The DA’s address is:

District Attorney, Michael W. Shriek, P.O. Box 400, 1 S. Oneida Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501

Kohl’s attorney’s address:

Steven Michael Lucareli, Lucareli Law Offices, LLC, Steven M. Lucareli, 433 East Sheridan St., Eagle River, WI 54501

Several points should be included in your letter:
  • Why wolves are important to you
  • Wisconsin residents support wolf recovery
  • Wisconsin residents want poaching laws to be upheld
  • Following the March 2018 court ruling that leaves wolves federally protected in Wisconsin, many irate hunters have stated their intent to continue killing wolves illegally. Let the judge know that his sentence is a deterrent against future wolf poaching.
We need to be polite when writing to the court; not demanding, but merely provide reasonable suggestions for Kohl’s punishment, such as loss of hunting and trapping privileges, confiscation of hunting equipment used in his crimes and a stiff fine in accordance with the law.
SAMPLE LETTER TO ONEIDA COUNTY COURT:
State of Wisconsin vs. Steven R. Kohl, Oneida County Case Number: 2018CF000014

It is my understanding that Steven R. Kohl has confessed to killing a federally protected wolf on 11/18/2017. I believe that Wisconsin is a special place because of wolves. Wolves provide many ecological benefits, and are revered by myself and many other residents. Wolves help control beaver populations, thus minimizing the damage they cause through construction of their dams. Research also suggests that wolves may limit the spread of CWD by removing diseased deer from the herd.

Unfortunately, a small segment of society, when it comes to wolves, believe in “SSS”, (shoot, shovel and shut up) and will illegally kill a wolf, either because of a long-held hatred or simply because they believe they won’t get caught. Since a federal court ruled in March 2018, to continue federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin, many hunters are encouraging each other to take matters into their own hands, and illegally kill wolves. Kohl’s actions, that include not only the wolf killing, but a violation of deer hunting regulations through the illegal use of bait, demonstrate that he is unwilling to adhere to state and federal laws governing hunting in Wisconsin.

Mr. Kohl should also be reminded that as a federally protected species, he could have been federally charged with civil and criminal penalties far greater than state guidelines. In addition to any fines you deem appropriate, I ask that Mr. Kohl lose the privilege of hunting or trapping for the next three years, as well as forfeiting the rifle he used in his illegal acts.

I do not believe jail time would serve any purpose however, I do ask that the court consider that Mr. Kohl attend a wolf education program.  Although their 2018 programs have not yet been announced, The Timber Wolf Alliance offers several programs throughout the year https://www.northland.edu/sustain/soei/twa/wolf-workshops/

Thank you for any consideration you give to my suggestions.

Sincerely,

END OF SAMPLE LETTER

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Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 017 & 018: Non-Resident Hounding Abuses


Wisconsin’s liberal hound hunting regulations, with a two-month Summer bear hound training season that requires no license to chase black bears from July until September, has opened the barn door for hound hunters from all over the country to come to Wisconsin to chase and kill wildlife on our public lands.

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Dertinger training dogs in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest 7/7/17.

No where else in the United States, can any resident or non-resident hound hunter run their dogs after bears in the Summer time without a license, and still be compensated $2,500.00 should any of their dogs be injured or killed by wolves. Summer is an important time for black bears, when they should be storing fat for the long winter, rather than burning it constantly running from packs of dogs. It’s also when there are many wolf depredations on bear hounds, as wolves protect their young pups leaving the den for the first time.

 

Here is the WDNR’s description of the bear hunting licensing system, previous to the 2015 legislative changes ushered in by Wisconsin’s powerful pro-hunting & pro-gun lobby:

“The Class “A” permit is valid for the dog training season and allows the holder to harvest a bear in a specific bear management zone during the hunting season. The Class “B” permit allows the holder to participate in the dog training season and to assist a Class “A” permit holder during the hunting season. The Class “B” permit holder is allowed to carry a weapon and kill a bear during the hunting season, but only to assist a Class “A” permit holder in killing a previously wounded bear.”

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In 2015, the Wisconsin Legislature, at the request of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, rescinded the Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) licensing requirement for out of state bear hound trainers and bear baiters. According to the August 4, 2015 WDNR press release, “Both residents and non-residents may now participate in the following bear baiting, hunting and training activities without a Class B bear license if those activities are permitted and in compliance with applicable regulations.”

DERTINGER IN MOQUAH

Dertinger and Michael Mast training hounds in WI 7/17.

While many hound hunters bring dogs from as far away as Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida to chase bears in Wisconsin, many non-resident hounders come from nearby Michigan and Minnesota. States like Minnesota do not allow bear hunting with the aid of dogs, so many Minnesotan’s make the short drive across the border of northern Minnesota to not only train and hunt for bear, but they do it without any permit or license.

MAST COYOTE 1.23.16

Michael Mast Facebook photo January 2016.

 

Since 2014, Wolf Patrol has been monitoring bear hound training and hunting practices in northern Wisconsin, operating primarily in Bayfield County, where many hound hunters travel from nearby Minnesota to train and hunt with their bear hounds. Bayfield County also leads the state in numbers of black bears killed in recent years.

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2016 bear hound depredation locations in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland & Iron counties.

Its also where one of the highest density of bear hound depredations caused by wolves occurred in 2016, most in the same area, as non-resident and resident hound hunters continued to run their dogs in areas they knew other bear hounds had been recently killed, collecting compensation if and when another attack occurred.

DERTINGER ARRIVES

Dertinger Arriving at Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest campsite occupied by Wolf Patrol June 2017.

Andrew Dertinger is a hound hunter from Perham, Minnesota that Wolf Patrol has encountered before, who first drew our attention because he annually violates the US Forest Service’s 21-day camping limit in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where he travels to train and hunt black bears and coyotes. A search of Dertinger’s Facebook page revealed that he also allows his blue tick hounds to fight and maul coyotes and raccoons in both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

DERTINGER 2.11.17 COYOTE BAYED

Dertinger 2/11/17 Facebook profile photo.

In July 2015, Dertinger was reported to Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources Enforcement, who determined that his alleged crimes took place in Wisconsin, where it was legal to use live coyotes to train hunting hounds as Dertinger was doing “We looked into this case and believe this activity is occurring just across the border in Wisconsin where it is legal to use a pen to train dogs for coyotes.” said Major Greg Salo of MNDNR.

 

Whether Dertinger and his hunting partners are committing their acts of cruelty in Minnesota or Wisconsin, their self-published photos and videos are evidence of their hunting practices and lack of ethics, which shouldn’t be tolerated by ethical hunters in any state. As coyote hound hunting season comes to an end in Wisconsin, its important to remember that many of these unethical hunters will be preparing for the Summer bear hound training season in Wisconsin, where anyone with hunting hounds is welcome to chase and torment wildlife in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other public lands in Wisconsin.

 

DERTINGER TRUCK 1.23.17

Dertinger coyote hunting January 2017.

Wolf Patrol will continue monitoring hound training and hunting activities on national forest lands where known unethical and illegal hounders like Andrew Dertinger operate. The removal of Wisconsin’s Class B license requirement in 2015 has made it even easier for hounders like Dertinger to bring their bad behavior to Wisconsin, especially when there is also financial compensation available for hound hunters whose dogs are killed by wolves.

Andrew Dertinger’s hunting partner Ryan Dykhoff’s Facebook video:

MICHAEL MAST PILE 11.1.16

Michael Mast’s trapped animals November, 2016.

Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 012-16: Trapping, Clubbing, Training & Fighting Raccoons, Otter and Cats

Over three years ago, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) was tipped off to the hound training activities of Scott Brandt, age 28 of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. In one video published on Facebook in 2015, three of Brandt’s hunting hounds can be seen fighting a large raccoon as he offers encouragement. In two other videos published in 2014, Brandt uses domestic cats to train his hounds. It is illegal in Wisconsin to allow your hunting dogs to fight raccoons, coyotes and other wildlife, yet much evidence exists on social media of the practice amongst hound hunters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other states.


In a November 12, 2015 email from a deputy with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, the individual alerting WDNR to Brandt’s hound training practices was told that Brandt’s case did not meet the statutory requirements for animal cruelty, according to an assistant to the District Attorney. The email states, “The violation that stands out in this case is the use of the cat to train coon dogs, which is regulated by the WI DNR. The Warden that works that end of our county has been in touch with Scott (Brandt) in regards to his training methods. As far as I know, no charges have been filed against Scott.”

According to the informant, a Portage County Sheriff’s detective also did not see any legal wrong-doing since the raccoon in the March 2015 video wasn’t killed by Brandt’s hounds, it being legal to injure the raccoon. The cats Brandt also used for training purposes supposedly weren’t injured (although terrified and tormented) so its presumed the use of cats to train hounds in Wisconsin is legal, although roll cages by law must be above ground.

According to emails provided by the WDNR informant, the investigating WDNR conservation officer forwarded evidence of Brandt’s use of live raccoons and domestic cats to train his hounds to DNR officials in Madison, who advised against pressing charges in the Brandt investigation. Because the investigation is now closed, Wolf Patrol is sharing what amounts to video evidence of legal hunting hound training & trapping practices in Wisconsin.

A search of Brandt’s Facebook page reveals other graphic animal abuse, such as his clubbing of a raccoon with a baseball bat, something Brandt admits is his preferred method to kill wildlife. In another video, Brandt is seen clubbing, stomping and drowning an otter caught in one of his traps in 2010. In other videos of his legal trapping activities, Brandt shoots a raccoon in the mouth and poses with live fox, coyotes and raccoons in published Facebook photos. Many of these photos are deemed legal hunting behavior, thus revealing the level of animal abuse and cruelty that is inherent in much of Wisconsin’s legal hound hunting and trapping practices.

BRANDT COON STOMP POST 2014

Brandt admits stomping live raccoons.

BRANDT ADMITS DOGS KILL COONS 4.3.15

Brandt admits his dogs kill raccoons.

Brandt defends his behavior openly and publicly in his Facebook posts, and that is one reason why Wolf Patrol is featuring it here, because Steve Brandt is a truthful representation of legal hound hunting and trapping in Wisconsin, otherwise the WDNR would have prosecuted his highly unethical hunting and trapping activities which he broadcasts openly on social media. In a 2014 Facebook video where Brandt shoots a trapped raccoon, he states, “Normally I just stomp on there (sic) chest til they die. But I was feeling lazy today.”

Wolf Patrol is opposed to Brandt’s treatment of wildlife and hunting privileges in Wisconsin, not only because it is cruel and inhumane, but also because it is a form of financial income for Brandt, who sells his furs on the open fur market. Cruelty to animals in Wisconsin should be illegal whether its committed to wild or domestic animals, and serial animal abusers like Brandt shouldn’t be allowed to financially benefit from their commercial exploitation of our public trust wildlife.

BRANDT STOMPED FOX 12.11.14

Brandt admits to animal cruelty.

On March 16, 2018 Wolf Patrol again provided WDNR with this and other evidence of Brandt’s hound training and trapping practices with the hope that, in lieu of new and further evidence, WDNR and Marathon and/or Portage Counties will re-open the investigation into Brandt’s hunting and trapping practices in Wisconsin.

Photos of Steve Brandt’s legally trapped wildlife shared on Facebook 2014-15:

STEVE BRANDT FACEBOOK POSTS 2013-16:

DEFENDING HIMSELF

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BRANDT FISHER 10.21.13

Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 011: Animal Cruelty Charges Filed Against Wisconsin Hunter


Hunting with hounds in Wisconsin is a year-round sport for many of the hunters Wolf Patrol has featured this month, and not only for coyotes. While it is common and legal to hunt black bear, bobcat, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and rabbits with multiple dogs, some Wisconsin hunters approach the sport a different way, a very illegal way, using bull terriers and Patterdale’s to not just pursue wildlife, but capture and kill it as well.


We feature the videos and photos of two such hounders, Jason Armbruster of Amery, Wisconsin and Steve Ritter of Rockford, Illinois. In Illinois, it is legal for hunting dogs to “dispatch” or kill legal prey like raccoons and opossums. In Wisconsin, it is not legal for dogs to kill their prey. Armbruster is a Wisconsin resident who was reported to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) after he posted photos on his Facebook page of three of his dogs mauling live raccoons. Wolf Patrol called the WDNR’s Violation Hotline on March 10, 2018 because Armbruster was looking for homes for three of his hunting dogs that had been trained to kill raccoons and possibly other wildlife.


On March 15, Wolf Patrol was informed by WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller that animal cruelty charges were pending in Polk County against Jason Armbruster, and that the criminal investigation into his hunting and training with dogs was now being handled by the Polk County District Attorney’s office. Armbruster was charged on March 13, 2018 with ten counts of Mistreatment of Animals/Cause of Death and for Instigation of Animal fights, all Class One felonies. Armbruster has an initial court appearance scheduled for April 16, 2018 for the charges which stem from incidents that occurred from May until October of 2017, when many of the photos on his Facebook page were first published.

 

Armbruster’s own evidence on Facebook tells the story of his dog training which includes the use of live-trapped raccoons. In Wisconsin, it is legal to capture wildlife like raccoons, rabbits, fox, coyote and even black bear for the sole purpose of training hunting dogs. Armbruster’s Facebook page includes photos of live-traps he uses to capture raccoons for his illegal training purposes.

 

It isn’t legal to allow your hunting dogs to maul live animals, such as depicted in Armbruster’s Facebook photos, but it occurs often, anywhere dogs are trained to pursue raccoons. Steve Ritter’s Facebook page includes multiple videos of his dog’s mauling and killing raccoons and opossums, which is legal in Indiana, but not Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, live raccoons are supposed to be placed in “roll cages” or other cages that allow them to be separated from actual contact with the dog being trained.

 

ARMBRUSTER

Jason Armbruster of Amery, Wisconsin.

Wolf Patrol does not support the use of live animals for training purposes, or the use of hunting dogs to maul or kill wildlife, in Wisconsin, Illinois or anywhere, legal or not.  Such bloodthirsty hunting dogs pose a risk not only to public trust wildlife, but to human safety as well. Can you imagine what might happen to your young child or companion animal if while out for a walk in the Wisconsin’s woods, you came across a dog trained to kill raccoons and other wildlife?

 

Wolf Patrol hopes Jason Armbruster will lose his hunting privileges, not only in Wisconsin, but in Illinois and other states which are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which prevents hunting violators from continuing to hunt legally in another state while their privileges are suspended in their home state. Only through the rigorous enforcement of the Wildlife Violator Compact can Wisconsin’s illegal hunters be prevented from committing wildlife crimes in other states.

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SR4 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

JASON ARMBRUSTER CRIMINAL COMPLAINT:

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Steve Ritter’s truck Christmas Eve, 2017.

Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 010: More Legalized Coyote/Dog Fighting

In the last ten days, Wolf Patrol has been featuring the highly unethical, yet common practice amongst Wisconsin’s hound hunters of allowing dogs to fight and maul live coyotes. Our report has resulted in a criminal investigation of this practice by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) conservation officers, who assure us that the practice is also illegal.

FRANCIS METZ 12.30.17

Francis Metz, December 2017.

Despite our very public calling out of the common practice, hound hunters in Wisconsin continue to feature videos and photos of their dogs fighting coyotes on their social media accounts. To Wolf Patrol, the continued discovery of evidence of this illegal activity is an indication that such examples are not isolated incidents, but normal behavior unquestioned by the many hound hunters sharing their videos and photos on Facebook.

For the hound hunting community, Facebook has become a platform to promote their unethical and illegal sport, while also giving the rest of the world a look into the dark underbelly of legal hound hunting practices allowed by WDNR in Wisconsin. These aren’t videos and photos Wolf Patrol has taken, they are provided by Wisconsin’s hound hunters themselves.

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Francis Metz’s hounds with coyote, January 2014, Wisconsin.

Today we feature the legalized dog fighting practices of Francis Metz, a coyote, bobcat and bear hunter from Mishicot, Wisconsin who is also a hunting companion to wild animal abuser, Nicholas Valenta whose videos of coyote mauling have been published in earlier Wolf Patrol reports and are also being investigated by WDNR.

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Francis Metz’s hounds with coyote, January 2014, Wisconsin.

“Get’em dogs!!!” Metz can be heard yelling as his hounds stand off with a exhausted coyote after his dogs have ran the animal down, “Shake that fucker up!!!” The 2014 video is accompanied on Metz’s Facebook page with numerous photos of his hounds with this and other cornered wildlife in Wisconsin being illegally tormented.

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Another one of Metz’s hunting companion’s is Zach Jansky, of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Another coyote, bobcat, bear and raccoon hounder, Jansky’s Facebook page features multiple photos of the coyotes his hounds have killed over the years, including photos of a cornered coyote in a culvert in Wisconsin, with the caption, “#24 coyote bayed up in a huge culvert! Gator, Gage and Sugar….no shells need, just kick ass never back down dogs!!!”

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Its time to for the reign of violence to end on Wisconsin’s public lands, which have become the legalized dog fighting grounds for hound hunters like Francis Metz, Zach Jansky and Nicholas Valenta. If you agree that hunting coyotes with hounds in Wisconsin is a form of animal abuse not welcomed in our civilized society, please contact the five elected Wisconsin politicians listed below who are legislating in favor of its protection.

METZ, VALENTA, ? 2.26.14

Nicholas Valenta, unknown hounder, Francis Metz, Wisconsin 2011.

Wisconsin’s wildlife belongs to everyone, not only those looking for live bait for their bloodthirsty hounds. No ethical hunter in Wisconsin should support these illegal practices which tarnish the entire hunting community in Wisconsin. If hunters are fearful of losing their rights to hunt, then its time to clean up your act and report abusers who will ultimately cost you your sport.

Senator Tom Tiffany (608) 266-2509

Representative Mary Felzkowski (608) 266-7694

Representative Adam Jarchow (608) 267-2365

Representative Joel Kleefisch (608) 266-3796

Representative Romaine Quinn (608) 266-2519