Wolf Patrol’s response to Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage public meeting on Assembly Bill 433 aka: The Right to Hunt Act
WATCH the video of the hearing here. You can jump forward to Wolf Patrol’s testimony at any time which begins at 3:22:00 though we encourage you to watch the entire meeting, then contact your legislators Wisconsin friends!
Wolf Patrol’s monitoring in October 2014 of Wisconsin’s wolf trapping season led to the videotaping of a wolf trap illegally set beyond the close of last year’s hunt. This evidence was reported to the DNR’s anti-poaching hotline, and led to an investigation that concluded that the trapper had indeed broken the law. In a private meeting with the DNR’s Chief Warden, Wolf Patrol’s monitors were informed that the trapper had been given a verbal warning. This is the kind of public reporting and monitoring of controversial hunting and trapping practices that Rep. Jarchow and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) wants to outlaw with Assembly Bill 433.
At today’s Assembly hearing, hunter after hunter testified to how they’ve felt intimidated and threatened by our public lands monitoring, yet not one shred of evidence was provided to prove that Wolf Patrol’s investigations have impeded or interfered with their hunting or trapping. Much of the WBHA’s testimony amounted to fabricated stories about Wolf Patrol committing serious crimes so as to foment fear amongst themselves and lawmakers to justify proposing legislation that criminalizes public lands monitoring and free speech.
Adam Jarchow testified today that The Right to Hunt Act was introduced to specifically target Wolf Patrol. He admitted that his legislation was drafted in response to the WBHA’s demand that Wolf Patrol’s citizen monitoring be made illegal. Yet all of their testimonies attested to alleged activity that is already covered in Wisconsin’s hunter harassment statute and anti-stalking laws. This legislation is purely the evidence of a special interest group (Wisconsin bear hunters) using political favoritism to draft laws that violate the Constitution and keep their activities hidden from public view.
The Right to Hunt Act is a direct response to Wolf Patrol’s investigation into Wisconsin’s liberal bear baiting and hound hunting regulations. In 2014, a DNR survey revealed that over 4 million gallons of bear bait was dumped into over 82,000 bear baiting locations on Wisconsin’s forestlands. In Wisconsin, anyone can set as many bear baits as they desire, and are not required to provide the locations to DNR, as is the practice in other states that allow bear baiting. Our 2015 investigation into bear baiting in a DNR-designated Wolf Caution Area documented over 24 bear baits within a square mile of where wolves killed seven bear hunting hounds between July and October, which spans both bear baiting, hunting and hound training seasons.
Our investigation was in response to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s Washburn District request for public input into how to better manage our public forest lands in northern Wisconsin. Our videotape documentation of bear baiting practices was used to educate the public to the creation of Wisconsin’s number one source of wolf conflicts: the allowance of bear baiting and hound training and hunting in areas where it is known wolves have become conditioned to kill domestic animals. Our evidence was used to encourage citizens to submit public comments to the USFS, asking that bear baiting and hound hunting be banned within the Chequemegon-Nicolet National Forest.
UPDATE: The public hearing is being widely reported in the media from coast-to-coast. Here are a couple of media reports: