During the Winter of 2018, several Wisconsin state legislators, including authors and sponsors of the 2016 “Right to Hunt Act” which specifically targeted Wolf Patrol, pressured Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to remove the group’s leader, Rod Coronado from the WDNR volunteer-based, Large Carnivore Tracking Program. The program conducts one of the most thorough wolf counts in the country, relying on citizens to conduct surveys on their own throughout the winter when snow makes tracking much easier.
Reasons cited for Coronado’s removal were his past criminal record, his current legal involvement with Wolf Patrol and a completely unfounded accusation of sexual assault from a disgruntled crew member in 2014. Unfortunately, the WDNR decided to side with this group of politicians and remove Coronado stating, “past criminal behavior disqualified him from volunteer activities with the DNR” adding, “Coronado’s continued activities involving interactions with hunters is incompatible with the DNR’s mission.”
I’ve been with Wolf Patrol since the Main Street Ed’s coyote killing contest in Argonne, Wisconsin in January 2016. In that time I have never once seen Rod or any other member of Wolf Patrol engage in anything even questionable, much less, illegal. I’ve also tracked with Rod and in the two years he was involved with the tracking program, he has always recorded everything he’s found completely and accurately. Removing Rod had nothing to do with incompatibility with the WDNR’s mission, and everything to do with political pressure from Wolf Patrol’s detractors in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Anybody who doubts this need look no further than the case of Wisconsin trapper, Skye Adeline Goode and her relationship with WDNR. Goode frequently updates her Facebook page with tales of her trapping exploits (including using scent lures to attract wolves, which is illegal) and has posted photos of an “accidentally” trapped wolf last year.
In 2015, Goode was convicted of violating WDNR Statute NR10.07(2)(a) related to baiting and ordered to pay a fine of $345.50. Fast forward to the present day when WDNR chose to use a photo of game law violator Skye Goode on the cover of its annual 2018 Wisconsin Trapping Regulations booklet, as an example of a recreational trapper employing “best management practices.”
So the WDNR (under pressure from state politicians) uses the excuse of a decades-old conviction that has nothing to do with game laws, Wolf Patrol’s perfectly legal activity in the field and vicious unfounded rumors to prohibit Rod from volunteering with WDNR. Meanwhile WDNR turns around and puts a trapper with a questionable past as well as a recent conviction on the cover of their trapping regulations?
That’s not looking out for your public image or your “mission”– its blatant hypocrisy. The WDNR waited two years to remove Rod because of his widely known past convictions as well as his current completely legal activities and than champion a trapper who violated game laws just three years ago? That doesn’t add up.