This document was shared with county, state and federal law enforcement authorities in our patrol area in July 2017, after repeated incidents where hound hunters accused Wolf Patrol of harassment. We are sharing it again to demonstrate our adherence to open communications with law enforcement agencies responsible for patrolling public lands in northern Wisconsin. The document was shared at a meeting which led to the understanding that hound hunters and Wolf Patrol would respect each others rights to engage in legal activities on public lands without such an incident as that occurring outside of Laona, Wisconsin January 27, 2018.
Great Lakes Wolf Patrol
Statement of Principles
Citizen Monitoring of Public Hunting Practices within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
To: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service & Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department
Purpose of this Document
The purpose of this document is to describe Wolf Patrol’s working principles within it’s field of operations, which for the purpose of this document, is those portions of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) contained within Bayfield County, Wisconsin.
Since 2014, Wolf Patrol has conducted investigations of wolf, bear & coyote hunting practices within the CNNF, for the purpose of gathering evidence of practices which we believe negatively impact federally protected gray wolves and other wildlife, namely, black bear, bobcat, fisher and possibly, wolverine & lynx.
The intent of our data collection is to provide a reasonable assessment of how bear hunting & hunting hound use impacts the presence of gray wolves in Wisconsin and other wildlife affected by these practices. We also remain an organization that provides assistance to WDNR conservation officers in their enforcement of existing state and federal laws governing wildlife.
Data collected is used to educate the public, recruit greater citizen participation in the solicitation of comments in regards to the management of our national forests, and as a scientific basis of information which can be provided to public lands managers to aid in their decision-making process in regards to the management of all public lands.
This document has been created with the hope of creating a formal agreement of understanding between Wolf Patrol and local, county, state and/or federal officials involved in the management of wildlife and public lands. We recognize that the management of gray wolves and other wildlife is a contentious issue, fraught with strong emotional responses from all sides.
Wolf Patrol, in agreeing to begin formal discussions with county, state and federal officials, hopes to provide a template whereby citizens involved in these issues can participate in a framework that respects the rights of all citizens who use our national forest system and all public lands, while also providing the opportunity to participate in policy-making process and decisions.
That being said, Wolf Patrol is asking that county, state and federal officials offer a public statement of understanding, to be used to educate the public to the rights all individuals have to use and access public lands, including but not limited to county, state and federal forest lands, so as to address the misunderstanding that we as an organization have run into. Too often, we have been accused of engaging in illegal activity, by carrying out the duties and objectives of our organization, yet since our inception, we have never been cited for any violation of any local, county, state or federal law.
Towards that end, we also remain open to meeting with private individuals and organizations including, but not limited to the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and other local, county, state or federal organizations involved in legal hunting & trapping practices.
Great Lakes Wolf Patrol
Principles of Operation
Wolf Patrol monitors will obey all local, county, state & federal laws.
Wolf Patrol will cooperate with all relevant law enforcement agencies.
Wolf Patrol will provide documentation & information on any & all suspected illegal activities encountered while conducting data collection & monitoring within the national forest system, state & county forest lands.
Wolf Patrol will not impede nor interfere with legal hunting practices.
Wolf Patrol will not tamper, disturb nor damage private property, including but not limited to bear baits, hunting hounds, trail cameras, vehicles, legal traps or campsites.
Wolf Patrol monitors will not engage in uncivil behavior including, but not limited to interactions with individuals engaged in legal hunting activities, individuals associated with legal hunters & county, state or federal employees carrying out their duties.
Wolf Patrol will work with local, county, state & federal land managers including but not limited to, providing data to assist with the responsible management of public lands, the solicitation of citizen involvement in resource management & soliciting information from the public when illegal activities have been carried out on public lands.
Wolf Patrol will provide up to $1,000.00 to be used as a cash reward for investigating illegal wolf killings. These funds will be dispersed at the discretion of relevant WDNR conservation officers, to be used as an incentive for individuals suspected of possessing information valuable to ongoing investigations into wolf killings.
Wolf Patrol will offer assistance to law enforcement agencies investigating ANY illegal activity, or in need of assistance in the carrying out their respective duties, including but not limited to emergency assistance in our field of operations.
Wolf Patrol will remain open to dialogue at all times with those individuals or organizations involved in legal hunting practices within the CNNF or other state, county or federal public lands.