Once again, opponents of the return of the gray wolf from the brink of extinction to their rightful place on the American landscape are proposing that federal protections for the animals in the Great Lakes region and other states be removed. The latest call for delisting from protections under the Endangered Species Act would mean a return to the use of hounds, traps and guns in Wisconsin as a “management method” to control wolf populations.
Nowhere else in America is it legal to run down wolves with dogs…except in Wisconsin! Which is a very good reason to oppose federal delisting and a return to state controlled management of gray wolves in the state, where approximately 1,000 wolves roam the northwoods.
Another good reason for not lifting federal protections is because the Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources has failed to act to prevent the annual gray wolf/hunting dog-fighting season which begins every July when thousands of unregulated hounds are released in Wisconsin wolf country to chase bears.
Ever since the return of wolves to Wisconsin, a conflict has erupted between bear hunters baiting and training their hunting dogs, and wolves protecting young pups in the Summer months when they first leave their dens. Last year alone there were over 24 reported fights between wolves and hunting dogs in the state, the vast majority of dogs killed were bear hounds loosed on areas where wolves were known to be territorial.
The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association is opposed to both federal protections for wolves and other proposed restrictions on predator killing contests in the state, because they want their members to be able to retaliate against wolves that have killed their dogs. During the last legal wolf hunts in Wisconsin in 2012-14, bear hunters legally obtained wolf tags and targeted entire packs for eradication from national forests and other public lands.
Wolves in Wisconsin need your help! Although they have been federally protected for the last four years, Wolf Patrol has documented the continued threats to wolf recolonization of suitable habitat, mostly caused by unethical bear hunting practices like baiting and dog training. We have also uncovered the culture amongst many Wisconsin hunters to promote and encourage the illegal killing of wolves.
Please take a moment and send the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service your comments on why you believe Wisconsin should not be allowed to manage its recovering wolf population! The decision to once again allow Wisconsin hunters to run down wolves with dogs has yet to be made. We have just over 50 days to show the federal government all the reasons why states like Wisconsin should not be allowed to return to recreational hunting of a native apex predator still recovering from the brink of extinction.