Four more bear hounds were killed by federally protected gray wolves over the weekend during Wisconsin’s 7-month bear baiting and 2-month bear hound training season. The latest depredations mark the 11th such attack since hound training season began on July 1, 2020. To date, a total of 14 bear hounds have been killed and three injured by wolves.
Wisconsin does not require hunters to obtain any kind of license to bait bears or train hunting hounds, and neither the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) or the U.S. Forest Service know for certain how many bear bait locations litter our public lands because neither agency requires any limit or even registration on bear baiting, much of which takes place in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Over 4 million gallons of bear bait is estimated to be used by Wisconsin’s bear hunters, who can begin intentionally feeding bears in mid-April until October. Hound hunters are allowed to chase but not kill bears from July 1st until hunting season begins in October.
This year, many bear hunters are reporting gray wolves visiting their bait sites, many in areas where previous depredations on bear hounds have already occurred, such as in Forest County, Wisconsin where wolves killed another bear hound on August 12, 2020. Hound hunters are paid $2,500 for each dog killed by wolves.
The intentional feeding of bears and other wildlife causes many conflicts for predators that become accustomed to being fed by humans. Last week in Forest County, a bear broke into a bear baiters garage to get at 50 lb. bags of granola and peanut butter being used to bait bears in northern Wisconsin. Some peanut butter contains Xylitol, which is toxic to wolves and other canids. Another common ingredient allowed to be used as bear bait in Wisconsin is chocolate, which is also toxic to bears, wolves and other canids.
In 2018, a WDNR research study concluded that 40% of a black bear’s diet in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest consisted of bait set out by hunters. Much of the bait used in Wisconsin is high in sugar and suspected to be causing an abnormal increase in reproduction for wild bears, despite the fact that WDNR says it needs a bear hunt to control the animals growing population.
And it’s not just bear bait that is causing problems for wildlife in our national forests, since 2018, someone has been poisoning wolves and other animals in what is suspected to be retaliation for bear hounds killed by wolves in Wisconsin. Numerous witnesses have stated that bear hunters are responsible for the poisonings, but to date there have been no arrests. Wolf Patrol continues to offer a $5,000 reward for information on the poisoning in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Please join Wolf Patrol in calling for an end to bear baiting and summer hound training in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. You can send your email to forest officials at:
You can also help support Wolf Patrol by purchasing an “END BEAR BAITING IN OUR NATIONAL FORESTS” t-shirt which is only available for five more days during our special promotion. Please visit the following link to order your shirt today!