From August 10 through the 12th, Wolf Patrol took a tour of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) designated Wolf Caution Areas (WCA’S), where federally protected wolves have injured or killed bear hounds being trained to chase bears, all on public lands since bear hound training season began on July 1st.
As part of a larger investigation in current Wolf Caution Areas across northern Wisconsin, Wolf Patrol is documenting and reporting on the bear baiting and hound training activities that continue, despite the injuries and deaths to hounds that have already been reported in those areas.
On August 12, Wolf Patrol visited a WCA in Burnett County, Wisconsin, where on July 29, 2018 wolves injured a 4 year-old bear hound. In less than an hour, we discovered 4 active bear baits within a half-mile of the depredation site. Our patrol also caught the attention of local bear hunters who confirmed over the radio that the hound attack took place in this immediate area. One hound hunter also asked Wolf Patrol for free dog bells, which we provided.
Wolf Patrol’s monitors investigating bear baiting and hound training activities in this WCA earlier in the day discovered four active bear baits, three of them out of compliance with WDNR regulations which stipulate that bear baits must be at least 50 yards away from public roads and trails.
The evidence we find says that bear hunters themselves are contributing to the problem by first intentionally baiting wildlife like bears, that in turn attracts prey animals, which can attract wolves. (Last month we published video from this Summer showing wolves feeding from bear baits in northern Wisconsin.) Secondly, hound hunters using bait sites to attract bears their dogs can then chase, instead are creating sites wolves will defend as feeding sites, leading to many attacks near bear baits on bear hounds.
Wolf Caution Areas are mostly designated during the bear hound training season, when an unlimited number of hounds are being trained to chase bears in Wisconsin. The WDNR does not require any license to train dogs or bait for bear, which also attracts many hound trainers and bear baiters from out of state.
Some hounders will intentionally run their dogs in Wolf Caution Areas, knowing that if they are killed or injured, they are then eligible for up to $2,500.00 in compensation from Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Fund. In 2016, over $60,000 was paid out to hounders for injured or killed hunting hounds. Continuing to run your dogs in Wolf Caution Areas does not disqualify hounders from compensation either.
Wolf Patrol is calling for a cessation of bear hound training and bear baiting in areas where fights between federally protected wolves and bear hounds have already occurred this summer. Throughout the remainder of Wisconsin’s bear hound training season, and into the actual kill season for bear which runs through October, Wolf Patrol will continue investigating bear baiting and hound training activities in WDNR designated Wolf Caution Areas.
It’s not a pro versus anti-hunting debate, its about preventing deadly conflicts between wildlife and humans. Neither is it a request for policy change, in so much as a call for wildlife and public officials to do the right thing to protect not only wolves or hounds, but everyone’s best interests.
Prevent deadly conflicts between bear hounds and wolves. Stop bear baiting and hound training in Wisconsin Wolf Caution Areas!
OPPOSED TO BEAR BAITING & HOUND TRAINING ON WISCONSIN PUBLIC LANDS?
SEND COMMENTS TO DNR OFFICIALS:
Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (all board members):
Wisconsin DNR Secretary:
Wisconsin DNR Secretary’s Director for Northern Wisconsin:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WOLF DEPREDATIONS ON BEAR HOUNDS VISIT WDNR WOLF PAGE AT: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/dogdeps.html
TO SUPPORT WOLF PATROL’S CALL FOR AN END TO BEAR BAITING AND HOUND TRAINING IN THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST AND WDNR WOLF CAUTION AREAS,
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