Wolf Patrol spent opening day of Wisconsin’s bear hunt in the Washburn District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, in Bayfield County, where more bears are killed than any other county in Wisconsin. Our campaign focus during the bear hunt is to monitor hound hunting and bear baiting activities in areas with a history of conflicts between bear hunters and federally protected gray wolves.
This morning saw multiple hunting parties operating around national forest lands where they have been baiting to attract bears since early July. Recent logging activity has impacted a lot of areas bear hunters use here, so we saw fewer hunters out today than in the past two years on opening day. At around 10am, we spotted the first bear killed this season being driven out of the forest in the back of a truck, a small bear, maybe 175lbs.
In addition to monitoring bear baiting and hounding activities, we are following up with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service in regards to our earlier reports of illegal activities.
In support of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility’s legal complaint to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in regards of the use of bear hounds in known wolf rendezvous areas, Wolf Patrol will be closely monitoring national forest lands where we know both bear hunters and wolves currently are, in case of future depredation on bear hounds running in these areas.