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 admits stomping live raccoons.


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 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:





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.



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


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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, 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.


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.


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.

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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

Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 009: Mauling Coyotes Today, Wolves Tomorrow

Today we are featuring the abusive and illegal hound hunting practices of Brian (Ratt) Nicks of Medford, Wisconsin. Ratt Nicks is a known coyote and bear hunter, and one of the hunters who successfully ran down wolves with his dogs in the first hound hunt for wolves in the United States in modern history, which took place in Wisconsin in 2013. When gray wolves are not federally protected, it is mandatory to hunt them with hounds in Wisconsin, according to the state’s legislative rules.

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Third from Left: Brian (Ratt) Nicks with two wolves killed with the aid of hounds in Wisconsin’s 2013 wolf hunt.

Here we present three short videos published on Nick’s own Facebook page, which document his hounds attacking and mauling live coyotes. All of the videos were filmed in the last year. Nick’s own videos demonstrate why hound hunters in Wisconsin should never again be allowed to hunt wolves with hounds, as it can be assured that they will be allowed to illegally fight with wolves, as has been repeated proven through the documentation of multiple hound hunters using their dogs to maul their intended prey.

Currently, federal and state officials are scrambling to strip wolves in Wisconsin of their federally protected status, so abusers like Nick’s can continue in their sick and twisted illegal sport of running them down and letting their dogs finish them off. In one of Nick’s videos, when he is asked if he needs assistance with dispatching a coyote his dogs have captured, you can hear him saying, “Naw, their eating him!”

Licensed Wisconsin hunters like Nicks do not deserve the privilege to hunt or trap, when it has been documented repeatedly that they commit illegal acts of cruelty on our public lands. Setting one’s dogs on any living animal is illegal and should not be the kind of behavior that is allowed to be used against wolves in Wisconsin, should they ever be successfully stripped of federal protections.

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From Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association website.

If you agree, please call the Wisconsin elected officials who are attempting to make the hunting of wolves with hounds in Wisconsin legal again, and tell them you will not tolerate animal abuse disguised as hunting in Wisconsin or anywhere on our public lands.

United States Representative Sean Duffy:


United States Senator Ron Johnson:


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Wisconsin Hound Hunters Form Armed Vigilante Group to Disrupt Wolf Patrol



A member of Wolf Pack’s Facebook profile picture from 2017.

In response to Wolf Patrol’s successful expose of illegal hound hunting practices in northern Wisconsin, hound hunters have organized a vigilante group whose mission statement is to, “oppose the Wolf Patrol, and support the hunting community in all aspects. We need to start following these guys around, documenting them, filming them, and disturbing them ( legally) as they do hunters.” according to the group’s Facebook page administrator, Justin Hauser.

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Wolf Pack Facebook page March 9, 2018.

The new group, called “Wolf Pack” is filled with many hound hunters from Forest County, Wisconsin, where Wolf Patrol had an angry altercation with a coyote hunting party on January 27, 2018 outside of Laona, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has cleared Wolf Patrol of any legal wrongdoing in the incident, but the Forest County District Attorney has yet to decide whether it will press any charges against either Wolf Patrol or the coyote hunters who illegally detained and assaulted Wolf Patrol’s members as they witnessed a coyote hunt from a public road.

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Wolf Pack Facebook administrator Justin Hauser.

A simple search of the active hunting members of Wolf Pack on social media easily revealed photos of the kinds of illegal activity that has already resulted in a criminal investigation into hound hunting of coyotes in Forest County and other areas of northern Wisconsin.


Wolf Pack member Corey Hiller’s hounds tearing into a bobcat chased into a frozen Wisconsin river 2017.

Wolf Patrol is not opposed to any individuals right to observe our own or anyone’s activities on public lands, something that is guaranteed to everyone in the U.S. Constitution, but what we are opposed to, are illegal hunters organizing to defend their unlawful practices committed against public trust wildlife on our public lands. Wolf Pack is not a group whose members can be trusted to know the difference between what is legal and illegal, as has been proven when some of its members have insisted to Wolf Patrol that it was illegal to photograph hound hunters in Wisconsin. Something that the newly passed Right to Hunt Act, has mistakenly led them to believe.

felon & AR activist

Wolf Pack’s posts aren’t implying that its members will be writing letters, more the intent of the group is to disrupt, harass and intimidate the lawful activities of Wolf Patrol, a legal organization that has uncovered numerous illegal hunting practices in northern Wisconsin that are currently being investigated by state law enforcement officers according to Todd Schiller, Chief Warden of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources.


A Wolf Pack member’s Facebook cover photo.

Posts on the group’s Facebook page indicate that the group is fomenting anger and violence, with words used to describe Wolf Patrol members as “terrorist scum” and “maggots.” Wolf Pack has posted false allegations that Wolf Patrol members are sex offenders, and a 2014 Ammoland-Shooting Sports News article about the group’s founder, Rod Coronado who served four years in prison for a string of arsons against animal research laboratories, something that Coronado has never denied.


Wisconsin hunters concerned about the future of hound hunting on public lands in the state shouldn’t be organizing armed militia’s to protect the illegal cruelty in their sport, they should be working with DNR conservation officers to turn in those members they know engage in illegal activities that will cost all hound hunters their beloved pastime. Promoting an atmosphere of hatred will only lead to violence, and Wolf Patrol is committed to ending such attitudes practiced by unethical sportsmen against people as well as wolves, coyotes and other animals on our public lands.


Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 008: “He’s Still Alive…I Know!”

Today we are sharing the last of the videos from Nicholas Valenta’s Facebook page, which show him directing his hunting hounds to mercilessly tear into a wounded coyote as he and he friends stand by laughing, watching…and filming. Hunting coyotes with hounds with Valenta isn’t only dangerous for his prey, but anyone within range of his friends shotgun blasts. In this and other videos, hunters can be seen running through the snow with what’s presumed to be loaded weapons taking shots at coyotes as they run.


Nicholas Valenta’s Facebook post accompanying above video.

Wolf Patrol is presenting these videos to the public because we know this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as cruelty and animal abuse go with the “sport” of hunting coyotes with hounds, which is at its peak in winter and early Spring. In the past, Wolf Patrol has been accused of staging illegal bait sites that we have discovered, or doctoring video footage to present a biased perspective to our followers. However, every one of these videos and photographs were taken by the hunters themselves, and shared amongst the hound hunting community without a single member questioning the illegality or ethics of such practices. To Wolf Patrol, that is not surprising, as we know setting hounds on live animals is a regular practice to anyone familiar with the sport.

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Other hound hunters advising each other not to post their hounding videos on Facebook.

Since our expose began, many Wisconsin hound hunters are scrambling to remove offensive and illegal material from their social media pages and calling on each other to not publish anymore of their gruesome videos. Nicholas Valenta’s entire Facebook page has been removed, as hound hunters desperately attempt to destroy evidence of their illegal practices. Don’t worry, Wolf Patrol’s Wildlife Crimes Unit has already copied many such videos before our campaign began and we will be sharing them with any interested law enforcement agency investigating.


Aaron Reivitis’ current Facebook profile picture.

Moving on, Wolf Patrol would now like to highlight the commercial trapping and snaring practices of one of Nicholas Valenta’s hunting partners, Aaron Reivitis of Cecil, Wisconsin. Reivitis is no stranger to Wisconsin conservation officers, having been cited in recent years for failing to check his traps and remove their victims once a day, as is required by law, and harvesting a black bear out of season.

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Reivitis’ trapping violation.

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Reivitis’ post about illegally salvaged black bear.

While the use of foothold traps and wire snares is inherently cruel, Wisconsin’s trapping regulations require licensed trappers to humanely kill any intentionally caught wildlife immediately. For trappers like Reivitis however, there is always time to take a selfie for his Facebook page as the trapped or snared animal suffers in silence.

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From Wisconsin DNR 2017 Trapping Regulations.


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Wolf Patrol is cooperating with Wisconsin DNR conservation officers investigating the coyote hounding practices of Nicholas Valenta and Aaron Reivitis, and on March 9, 2018 were contacted by Chief Warden Todd Schaller who informed us that his agency was taking these matters seriously and sharing our posts with investigating officers. If there was such a thing as an ethical hunter amongst either Valenta or Reivitis’ Facebook friends, both men would have been reported years ago, as this evidence has been on their social media pages since the early 2000’s.

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Licensed hunters and trappers like Valenta and Reivitis have forfeited their rights to hunt and trap in Wisconsin by participating in serial abuse of public trust wildlife, let’s hope the DNR’s investigation into their acts leads to their loosing their rights to ever hunt in Wisconsin again. Only by making an example out of such behavior can we ever hope others will be discouraged for participating in similar illegal and unethical practices on our public lands.


Another successful “hunt” for Reivitis.



Victims of Reivitis’ cruelty.

Wisconsin’s War on Wildlife 007: Citizen’s Call for Justice

Today we are featuring another video depicting gross cruelty and animal abuse by the Wisconsin hound hunter Nicholas Valenta. This is only one of many videos documenting the serial criminal behavior of a licensed Wisconsin hunter who does not deserve the privilege of owning a hunting license, let alone hunting hounds or weapons. There is a place for people like Valenta, and it should not be on our public lands with a gun in his hand and hounds in his truck.


Valenta’s post accompanying above video.

In this video Valenta is heard telling hunter Andrew Marcelle, “Just leave him!” after Marcelle has already given a crippling shotgun blast to the cornered coyote, so that another hunter, Aaron Reivitis can bring in his young puppy to tear into the wounded and terrified animal. Meanwhile, the crippled coyote desperately attempts to drag himself to freedom that never comes. All along Valenta can be heard laughing and encouraging his dogs to attack.

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In another video, Valenta admits to first hitting this coyote with his truck.

Towards the end of the video another hound hunter is heard over the radio telling Valenta his hounds are on the trail of another coyote, and that they are waiting on Valenta to finish with his sick and twisted pleasure killing before regrouping for another kill. This is what hunting coyotes with hounds in Wisconsin looks like. And it is legal for the practice to be carried out in our national forests and other public lands almost year-round with no bag limit.


Licensed Wisconsin hunter Aaron Reivitis takes a selfie as his hounds tear into live coyote, March 2014.

While we are opposed to the overall practice of hound hunting on public lands, Wolf Patrol feels it is important for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to address cases of severe abuse such as those we have featured by Valenta in the last week. That Valenta was so emboldened as to circulate his cruelty videos amongst his hunting circles for years without prosecution, indicates the level of tolerance for such abuse amongst the entire hound hunting community. It is time to act, and call for immediate action to prevent Valenta from ever being issued a hunting license to commit such acts in the future.

VALENTA 2.27.18

February 2018

If you agree that Nicholas Valenta and others in his hunting parties deserve to be punished for gross violations of state hunting laws, please call or email Wisconsin’s Chief Warden, Todd Schaller and POLITELY express your displeasure for animal abuse disguised as hunting that is allowed by the DNR on our public lands.

UPDATED!!! MARCH 9, 2018