On November 20th, a delegation from Great Lakes Wolf Patrol met with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials to discuss the state’s upcoming hound hunt for wolves which begins December 1st.
The meeting with DNR Chief Warden, Todd Schaller, Dave Zebro, (the warden from Zone 2 where WP operated in October) and other enforcement officers began with an update to the investigation launched into a documented wolf trapping violation WP obtained in October. The DNR assured us that they took the complaint very seriously, and sent a warden out to talk to the trapper in question. The trapper acknowledged that he illegally left his wolf trap in the ground after the season had officially closed on October 19th and was given a verbal warning.
WP believes this was an appropriate response by DNR to investigate illegal wolf hunting/trapping activities brought forward to them by the citizen members of our group. DNR staff informed us that the Wisconsin trapping community is very tight-knit, and the fact that a warden did a “stop & knock” visit to a trapper following our complaint, will inform the trapping community that they are being monitored not just by DNR, but Wolf Patrol as well.
DNR staff in attendance also commended Wolf Patrol members for their level of professionalism in their interactions with hunters & trappers, and said they received no complaints about our presence in the wolf hunt area in October. DNR reiterated that the success of their enforcement department depends on the eyes and ears of the public.
The rest of the meeting was spent addressing the legality of the upcoming hound hunt for wolves. WP was able to clarify what is illegal hound hunting and will use the information obtained from this meeting while observing the hunt in December.
Wolf Patrol stated to DNR officials that while we are opposed to the hunting and trapping of wolves in Wisconsin, our mission is documentation. WP is committed to exposing public policies on public lands that reveal the mis-management of wolves since their loss of endangered species protection. Both the DNR and WP recognize that it is the state legislature, not the DNR that legalized the hunting of wolves, and if we are to change that policy, we need to encite greater citizen participation.