02/22/21 FIELD UPDATE: Our crews are busy combing national forest roads looking for more wolf traps like those we’ve already found in the first three hours of the hunt. A group of bear hunters who have had their hounds killed by wolves is also camped out in the national forest, and is actively hunting with hounds as I write this.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin: Wolf Patrol, a wildlife advocacy group that has been monitoring conflicts between bear hunters and Wisconsin wolves since 2014 will have members in the field to document, without disrupting, the wolf hunt starting February 22, 2021. From the season opening, Wolf Patrol will gather evidence on public lands to support legal challenges to the court-ordered cull, the first legal wolf hunt in seven years.
“The expedited hunt violates Wisconsin treaties, as well as promises the WDNR made about public input and transparency,” said Wolf Patrol’s founder, Rod Coronado. “Hunting wolves with dogs is legalized dog fighting. Rushed through during breeding season, this cull is based on hate, fear, revenge and the desire to kill as many wolves as possible.”
Wolf Patrol was among the organizations represented for testimony at the December, 2020 meeting of the Natural Resources Board, when WDNR made assurances of no wolf hunt until the Fall, as mandated by Act 169. Wisconsin state law requires a hunt, with hounds and traps, during any year wolves are not Federally protected. Wisconsin is the only state that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
Act 169 does not allow snares or night hunting, but WDNR quickly added those methods to regulations for 2021, without public input. The state’s Wolf Management Plan, not updated since the beginning of re-colonization in 1999, lags behind the best available science. WDNR promised input from all stakeholders on an updated plan, including environmental and wildlife organizations. Former WDNR Secretary Stepp removed groups opposing recreational wolf killing from the Wolf advisory Committee in 2012.