The Resistance to Wolf Extinction in Wisconsin

It’s time to let our supporters know about Wolf Patrol’s plans for the November 2021 wolf hunt in Wisconsin. While there is still some hope that lawsuits being heard in federal court in late October might stop the hunt, it’s our job to expect that the hunt will move forward as planned beginning November 6th. This November’s hunt will be very different, with trappers, predator callers and other gun hunters getting the first shot, with hound hunters having to wait until December 1st, as required by state law.

Some of the comments on social media encouraging delayed reporting of wolf kills during the legal hunt.

It is also with some relief to report that Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) has announced that the wolf kill quota will be 74, not the 300 recommended by the Natural Resources Board. This number reflects the WIDNR’s own recommendation that the quota be 130, following the gross overkill in February and it’s still unknown affect on the state’s wolf population. Wolf Patrol would like to thank WIDNR’s Cole Preston for asserting the WIDNR’s authority to set the wolf quota based on science, rather than the illegitimate direction of the Natural Resources Board, led by Hunter Nation puppet and dentist, Fred Prehn.

Can you tell the difference between Wisconsin’s dog fighters and hound hunters?

There will still be 370 legally licensed hunters allowed to pursue a wolf beginning November 6th, which means Wolf Patrol will also be in state and national forest lands to once again report on any illegal trapping or hunting practices. In the February wolf hunt, our crew discovered illegal traps baited with livestock and a convicted poacher participating in multiple hound hunts for wolves. This Fall we will again be monitoring the wolf hunt in areas with a history of conflict with bear hunters. The regulations for the November wolf hunt have yet to be published, but it is expected that the use of snares as well as foot-hold traps and hunting at night will be allowed.

From WIDNR’s wolf hunting and trapping webpage.

Without the thousands of hound hunters that caused the overkill in February, this fall hunt is expected to last longer than a few days. Because of the quota reduction, there will again be calls on wolf hunters to delay or simply not report their kills as is legally required within 24 hours. If the quota of 74 is not filled by November 20th, when Wisconsin’s firearms deer season begins, there will be a greater chance that the quota would be grossly exceeded by the additional deer hunters in the field during the overlap with wolf season. Any zones still open on December 1st, will be quickly filled by hound hunters who are another interest group with a desire to exceed the state’s quota.

74 wolves can be legally killed in Wisconsin beginning November 6th, 2021.

Wolf Patrol has also been in communication with WIDNR’s Chief Warden for the Northern District of Wisconsin and informed him that again, our crew will be monitoring wolf hunting and trapping practices on public lands this November. While our conversation was about our mutual frustration that convicted poacher and hound hunter Tyler Belott can still legally run his dogs on wolves, he also took the time to tell me that in the seven years he’s seen Wolf Patrol in the field, he’s never had a problem with any of our crew and always appreciated our valuable tips on illegal activity.

Our November patrol’s of the wolf hunt will also be focused on areas where we suspect illegal wolf hunting will be taking place and areas with a history of poisoning. Wisconsin state law allows hound hunters to train their dogs on wolves all year, thereby making illegal wolf hunting more likely because a suspected hunting party could simply claim to be training their dogs and not intending to kill the pursued wolf. Wolf Patrol will be closely monitoring any hound hunting activity during the November wolf hunt.

In addition to patrols, Wolf Patrol is offering a $1,000 reward for any information on illegal wolf hunting or evidence of delayed reporting of kills which we know will happen. If you’re evidence results in a WIDNR warden issuing a citation to any wolf hunter during the November hunt, Wolf Patrol will pay you $1,000 and you can remain anonymous.

Join the resistance to wolf slaughter and click on the links to the right to contribute via PayPal or GoFundMe

Donate to Wolf Patrol’s Fall Campaign!

Stop The Second Extinction of Wisconsin Wolves!

WIDNR Needs to Punish Convicted Poacher for His Participation in February 2021 Wolf Hunt

Langlade County hound hunter Tyler Belott also participated in a bobcat hunt in 2020 despite the revocation of his hunting privileges.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WIDNR) has confirmed in a September 24, 2021 letter to Wolf Patrol that convicted Langlade County hound hunter, Tyler Belott can still legally continue to run his dogs on bear during both the training and kill season as well as on wolves any day of the year, including during the next November/December wolf hunt.

The WIDNR letter was written in response to Wolf Patrol’s call for action to terminate the illegal hunting activities of Belott, who pled no contest to the charge of killing a bear out of season and without a tag during the 2019 Wisconsin bear hound training season. Belott was sentenced to the loss of hunting privileges for three years. WIDNR admits that a stipulation agreement was made between Langlade County prosecutors and Belott’s attorney that essentially allows Belott to continue to run dogs during any regulated bear training or kill season, as long as the intent is to train, not kill.

WIDNR 09/24/21 letter explaining why Belott can still run dogs during his hunting revocation order:

Belott’s punishment is moot, as it allows him or any other convicted poacher to continue the very same activity they were engaged in during the commission of their crime. In Belott’s case, a large hunting party set out on the night of July 4th, 2019 to chase and harass bears all night, which is legal during Wisconsin’s bear hound training season.

Chris Pavek was also charged with killing the same bear as Belott, but was later found not guilty because Belott had pulled the trigger and their crime was supposedly “in self defense.”

Near dawn on July 5th, Belott and his brother-in-law, Chris Pavek bayed a young bear that wouldn’t climb a tree to escape and instead allegedly attacked the hunters pursuing hounds. Belott testified that he took a shotgun from Pavek’s truck and shot the bear, only wounding the animal. He said a second shot killed the bear, but both men hid the evidence and the bear was never recovered or reported to WIDNR.

Not only at the time of his crime of conviction has Belott displayed a willingness to break the law when it comes to hound hunting. In the two years since his revocation period began, Belott has been reported to WIDNR whose investigations determined that he has indeed participated in multiple hound hunts for bear, bobcat, coyote and wolf in violation of his revocation order.

One of the 2020 hunts Belott participated in during his revocation period.

Despite WIDNR’s legal efforts to explain why a convicted poacher can still run dogs on wildlife in Wisconsin, Wolf Patrol is still calling on the agency to cite Belott for his clear participation in Wisconsin’s February 2021 wolf hunt which went grossly over quota, thanks to hound hunters like Belott.

On September 24, 2021 the WIDNR Chief Warden for the Northern District of Wisconsin spoke with Wolf Patrol after he reported, that his department was receiving a lot of calls and emails from Wisconsin residents unhappy with the leniency given to Belott. Warden Bryan Hammerstein said that although he also was not satisfied with the outcome of the Belott case, he hoped the scrutiny the poacher was receiving would convince him not to run his dogs during Wisconsin’s next wolf hunt in November/December 2021. The warden also acknowledged that under current hound training laws in Wisconsin, even convicted poachers like Belott could still run their dogs on wolves any day of the year.

Belott center, holding dead wolf during his revocation period on February 24, 2021.

What was also agreed on during the phone conversation between Wolf Patrol and WIDNR, was that Belott’s involvement in the February wolf hunt was a clear violation of even WIDNR’s understanding of his revocation. Therefore we are calling on WIDNR to cite Belott for the offense and restart his three year revocation period.

If you agree that hound hunters like Belott deserve to be punished for not only breaking the law once, but many more times as was determined by the WIDNR, then join Wolf Patrol in calling and emailing WIDNR Chief Warden Casey Krueger and politely ask that Belott be held accountable for his illegal hound hunting activity.

Email WIDNR Chief Warden Casey Krueger @

Casey.Krueger@wisconsin.gov

or call:

608-279-0830

Wisconsin DNR Says Convicted Poacher Can Still Run Dogs on Wolves and Bears

On July 4th, 2019, the first week of Wisconsin’s bear hound training season, Langlade County hound hunter Tyler Belott was part of a large group of hound hunters that went out to train dogs to chase bears at 10pm. The hunting party chased bears all night and near dawn, a small bear was bayed and reportedly began attacking the pursuing hounds. Belott would later testify that he retrieved a shotgun from a truck and shot the bear, only wounding the animal. He then reloaded and killed the bear it was reported during his trial in early 2020. Three bear hounds required medical staples for their wounds, and Belott originally admitted that the bear was taken back to the hound hunter’s home where it was eaten. Later, in Langlade County Court, Belott changed his story, saying he was earlier mistaken and the bear was left at the scene of the crime. The illegally killed bear was never recovered.

Belott’s Facebook post about hound hunts he participated in during his hunting revocation.

Belott was charged with “Hunting Bear During Closed Season” by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) conservation officer, Timothy Otto. For reasons unknown, the charge was later changed to “Hunt/Pursue Bear Without a License.” On January 22, 2020 Tyler Belott pled no contest to the charge and was later sentenced to three years of revoked hunting privileges.

News report on Belott’s trial in Langlade County Court.

When Wolf Patrol read of Belott’s conviction in a local Wisconsin paper in February 2020, we began monitoring his Facebook page and soon began collecting evidence of Belott’s continued use of hounds to hunt bear, coyote and bobcat in Wisconsin, in clear violation of his court ordered loss of hunting privileges. In February 2021, during the state’s reckless wolf hunt, Belott began posting comments encouraging his friends to continue killing wolves, despite the quota having been filled. Belott also included photos of himself holding a dead wolf with a large Langlade County hound hunting party on February 24, 2021.

Photo shared by Belott on his Facebook page on 02/24/21. Belott is in center holding dead wolf.

Wolf Patrol reported Belott’s violations to WDNR conservation officer Timothy Otto in late February 2021, and the case was investigated by WDNR conservation officer Bradley Dahlquist. Immediately after reporting Belott to WDNR conservation officers, the guilty hound hunter quickly shutdown his Facebook account.

On March 23, 2021 WDNR’s investigating officer contacted Wolf Patrol to inform us of WDNR’s findings. Dahlquist said though some hunts Belott’s shared pictures of on Facebook occurred before his court-ordered revocation, many did indeed take place when he was legally prohibited from hunting. When confronted with the facts, Belott claimed to have misunderstood his sentence, believing he still could run his hounds following a stipulation agreement he made with the Langlade County Court.

Lily, Wisconsin bear poacher Tyler Belott.

Officer Dahlquist reported to Wolf Patrol that WDNR decided to issue a warning to Belott and “he has been advised he cannot train or hunt his hounds during revocation.  Mr. Belott now knows this activity is prohibited, and any future involvement with training or running hounds could result in enforcement action. If you obtain any more information as to Mr. Belott illegally hunting in the future, please feel free to reach out to me or our Tip-line.” 

If this isn’t hunting, it must be animal abuse.

On September 15, 2021 Wolf Patrol’s online investigations again found photos of Belott with his hunting hounds operating during bear hound training season, which is also when his original crime of killing a bear out of season occurred. We quickly contacted the WDNR investigating officer to report the violation. The following day, conservation officer Dahlquist again contacted us to provide an update, saying that following our earlier conversations, WDNR Legal looked into the stipulation agreement Belott made with the court and, “DNR legal decided that based on the stipulation and training laws in the state, Mr. Belott could continue to train his hounds because this activity is not hunting.  Mr. Belott’s revocation is for hunting approvals and privileges only.”

Still running hounds, despite court ordered revocation 08/22/21.

Officer Dahlquist again tried to define what the WDNR’s understanding was of the court ordered revocation of hunting privileges saying, “Therefore, he can continue to train his hounds on bear during both the training season and harvest season (training is allowed during this season as well).  However, he cannot be associated with turning his dogs loose (or participating in any other aspect of the hunt) while trying to harvest game.  This activity would be considered hunting and would be in violation of his revocation.”

For example, under the current interpretation of Belott’s revocation, he could be involved in the pursuit of a bear, wolf, bobcat or coyote and if confronted by a warden, can simply claim to be training his hounds. An investigating warden would have to enter each hound hunter’s name into a database to determine if they were in possession of a kill tag, or search every vehicle for weapons to actually determine if any pursuit was for training or killing purposes. Allowing a convicted poacher to continue to pursue wildlife is not only a violation of the law, it contributes to the growing lack of public trust in the WDNR’s ability to manage bears, wolves or any animal in Wisconsin.

Another hunt Belott participated in during his revocation 01/18/20.

In 2016, Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker signed into law “The Right to Hunt Act” amending the state’s hunter harassment statute to include baiting and hound training as hunting associated activities. Now, WDNR claims to not recognize hound training as a hunting activity, even when a known violator such as Belott committed his crime while training hounds. What WDNR does not refute or defend is Belott’s involvement in Wisconsin’s last wolf hunt and the fact that it was a clear violation of his court ordered revocation.

Belott’s now deleted Facebook post admitting his involvement in numerous hound hunts for wolves in February 2021.

Wolf Patrol is calling on Wisconsin’s Chief Warden Casey Krueger to enforce the revocation of Tyler Belott’s hunting privileges and prosecute him for participating in the February 2021 wolf hunt. We understand that WDNR cannot undo the stipulation agreement Belott made with the Langlade County Court that gives Belott the legal right to still run his hounds on bears and wolves. But WDNR can still rebuild public trust and confidence in their competency by appropriately prosecuting Belott for illegally hunting wolves in Wisconsin.

Please call or email Chief Warden Casey Krueger and politely ask that Belott be cited for violating his revocation order during Wisconsin’s February 2021 wolf hunt. Convicted poachers should not be allowed to participate in any legal wolf hunt and deserve to be punished when they do!

Email WDNR Chief Warden Casey Krueger @:

Casey.Krueger@wisconsin.gov

or call: 608-279-0830

Wisconsin Hound Hunters To Be Paid More Than $10,000 For Running Dogs in Wolf Caution Areas in August 2021

The video accompanying this post is a compilation of Wisconsin bear hunter videos shared on social media during the month of August 2021.

Every year in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, bear hounds are killed by wolves which have become habituated to feeding from the unlimited bear bait sites that hound hunters use to attract bears. Wisconsin allows unlicensed and unregulated bear baiting from April until October, with most hound deaths occurring in Summer months when bear hound training is allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A Wisconsin wolf feeding alongside a bear at one of thousands of bear bait sites in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on August 16, 2021.

In August 2021 alone, seven separate incidents were reported to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) of wolves killing bear hounds in heavily bear baited areas. Six of the depredations occurred in Bayfield County alone, with four bear hounds having been killed in four separate attacks in the same portion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. National forest lands in Bayfield County are baited for bears all Summer long, and despite a long record of wolf depredations on bear hounds, Bayfield County bear hunters continue running their dogs in active Wolf Caution Areas established by WDNR.

A 2019 WDNR study in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest determined that 40% of a Wisconsin black bear’s diet consists of artificial baits.

Hound hunters in Wisconsin are paid up to $2,500 when one of their dogs is killed by wolves. Compensation is still paid when hounds are killed in areas already established as Wolf Caution Areas by WDNR. Wolf Patrol believes Wisconsin’s hunting dog compensation program encourages, rather than discourages, hound hunters from continuing to run dogs in areas where hounds have recently been killed. While investigating WDNR Wolf Caution Areas from 2015-2020, Wolf Patrol found that bear hunters continue to operate bear baits and run their dogs in Wolf Caution Areas despite warnings to avoid those areas.

Source: Humane Society of the U.S.

The escalating conflict between Wisconsin bear hunters and wolves has fueled the state’s push for an aggressive wolf hunt. Pro-wolf hunt advocates say a hunt is needed to reduce conflicts, but both the WDNR and Wolf Patrol’s evidence shows that a major contributor to wolf conflicts in Wisconsin is the unlimited and unregulated number of bear baits on mostly national and state forest lands.

Red dots are bear hound depredations in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest since July 1st, 2021, when bear hound training season began.

Wolf Patrol supporters have for years introduced citizen resolutions to Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress (WCC) to address unlimited bear baiting, but every year those resolutions are disregarded and dismissed by the WCC Bear Advisory Committee whose mission statement is to increase bear baiting and hunting opportunities in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin bear baiters sometimes use “super soakers” to spray fryer grease into the forests surrounding their bait sites. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials allow unlimited bear baiting without a license on national forest lands where wolves are presently killing bear hounds.

U.S. Forest officials don’t know how many bear baits are on national forest lands because no licensing or registration is required to bait bears in Wisconsin. The last survey of bear baiters by WDNR revealed that over 4 million gallons of bear bait is dumped on Wisconsin’s forest lands annually. It’s not wolves in Wisconsin which are the cause of deadly conflicts, but bear hunters and their intentional feeding of wildlife and training of hounds in known wolf territory.

Even chocolate, which is known to be toxic to bears, wolves and other canines can be legally used to bait bears in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Join Wolf Patrol in calling for an end to the intentional feeding of bears and wolves in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest!

Write US Forest Service officials:

cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board Has Become A Rogue Agency Pushing Wolf Slaughter

On August 11, 2021 Wisconsin’s Natural Resource Board, chaired by term-expired Fred Prehn, an anti-wolf farmer and dentist who refuses to vacate his seat in order to push a political agenda, voted in favor of a 300-wolf quota during the next state sponsored wolf hunt which begins in 80 days.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) biologists and officials recommended a much more conservative quota of only 130 wolves, but Prehn’s refusal to allow his governor-appointed replacement to vote allowed anti-wolf board members to approve a hunt twice that size.

Disgraced Chairman of the Natural Resources Board, Fred Prehn has refused to vacate his seat since May 2021.

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board, led by Prehn, rubber-stamped the February 2021 slaughter of almost twice as many wolves as the February quota allowed. His current agenda is to reduce the state’s wolf population by over half of the current population to just 350 animals. On August 17, 2021 Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit to remove Prehn from the board saying, “Dr. Prehn’s term is over. His attempt to remain on the Natural Resources Board indefinitely, in defiance of the will of the voters, is fundamentally undemocratic.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court on August 17, 2021 to prevent Fred Prehn from continuing to serve unlawfully on the state’s Natural Resources Board:

As long as Fred Prehn remains the illegitimate chairman of Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board, Wolf Patrol will not recognize the authority of the state agency and it’s approval of a 300-wolf quota for the November 2021 wolf hunt. Prehn’s actions reinforce our belief that the February 2021 overkill of wolves was not a mistake, but the intention of Prehn and others who believe that the state’s wolf population should be reduced by two-thirds.

More Wisconsin wolf hunters encouraging each other to delay reporting, to keep zones open to wolf hunting longer and to increase the number of animals killed before the hunt legally closes, From Wisconsin Outdoorsman! August 14, 2021.

Wisconsin’s plan for a wolf hunt beginning in less than three months also disregards the sovereignty of indigenous nations and treaty rights that allow tribal governments across Wisconsin, the right to claim up to half of the wolf quota. In February 2021, Wolf hunters across Wisconsin ignored the tribal quota reduction and kept on killing beyond what was legally allowed. Prehn’s actions set the stage for another over-quota wolf hunt with as many as half of the remaining 900-1,000 wolves in Wisconsin set to be killed this fall and winter alone.

More wolf depredations on bear hounds in a heavily bear baited and hound hunted area of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Meanwhile in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, bear baiting and hound training remains the number one source of violent conflicts between humans (bear hunters) and wolves. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources allows unlicensed and unlimited bear baiting beginning in April and running until October. Most bear baits are used by hound hunters to attract bears to where hounds can easily pick up their trail.

Bear bait left uncovered and accessible to other wildlife, especially deer is illegal but continues unabated across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Unfortunately, wolves have become habituated to also feeding from bear bait sites and defending them as a feeding site. When bear hounds are released to chase bears, they can be miles away from handlers when wolves attack and often kill them. Despite Wisconsin’s unlimited bear baiting policy contributing to dozens of bear hound deaths annually, the state and U.S. Forest Service continue to allow bear baiting on both public and private lands.

Black bear feeding from one of literally thousands of unregistered bear baits in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, August 4, 2021.

As can already be seen this month in Bayfield County, despite the knowledge that wolves are aggressively defending territory, Wisconsin bear hunters continue to run their hounds on national forest lands where other bear hounds have recently been killed. The only reasonable explanation for such reckless behavior could be that hound hunters are compensated $2,500 for any hunting dog killed by a wolf in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin wolves visiting a bear bait in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Prevent Deadly Wolf Conflicts

Ban the Intentional Feeding of Bears and Wolves in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest!

Please contact U.S. Forest Service officials and let them know feeding the bears is unacceptable!

cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

   

Wisconsin’s Unlimited Bear Baiting Responsible for Continuing Wolf Conflicts

With international attention continuing to shed light on Wisconsin’s reckless and grossly over quota February 2021 wolf hunt, the Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) remains tight-lipped about recent scientific reports that as many as a third of the state’s wolves were killed legally and illegally since losing federal protections in January of this year. Instead, WDNR officials are simply moving forward with plans for the next hunt in November 2021, while bear hunters continue to feed bears and wolves from thousands of intentional bait sites.

In 2020, more bear hunting hounds were killed by wolves than livestock in the state. Despite arguments for the February wolf hunt centering on the reported impact wolves were having on livestock producers, the biggest conflict that has hunters hating wolves more than any other game animal, is the killing of an average of two dozen bear hounds a year in mostly state and national forests.

Red circles indicate a wolf depredation of a hunting hound between 2013-July 2021.

Wisconsin allows bear hunters to pour up to ten gallons of bait into hollowed out logs, in as many bait sites as the hunter cares to create, often in the vast Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest that stretches across the northern portion of the state. No license is required to bait bears in Wisconsin, which begins in April and ends in October. No license is required to also train bear hunting hounds to chase bears, which is why hound hunters use baiting to attract bears that their dogs can then pursue from the recently visited bait site.

Wisconsin’s bear hound training season begins on July 1st, and runs until the kill season in September. It is also the time when wolves are looking for an easy food source and fiercely protective of growing pups that have only recently left their dens. Bear hounds released from bait sites are seen as trespassers to wolves conditioned to feeding on bear bait, and are regularly killed. So far this Summer, only two bear hounds have been reportedly killed by wolves in Wisconsin, but those numbers are expected to grow.

A bear hunter leaving their bait site after having poured three gallons of fryer grease into the log.

Wisconsin’s wolves have successfully recolonized most of northern and even central Wisconsin in the last 40 years. But in their absence grew a culture of hound hunters unaccustomed to the threats a large wild carnivore poses to hunting hounds loosed into the forest to chase bears for miles and hours at a time. Than in 2015, under pressure from the state’s bear hunters, the state requirement of a license to bait bears and train bear hounds was removed, opening the door to not only unlimited baiting and hound training by resident hound hunters, but nonresidents as well.

In Wisconsin, hound hunters are paid up to $2,500 for any injuries or death caused by wolves. If the hunter has already claimed compensation for a hound killed, but chooses to continue to run dogs in what the WDNR establishes are “Wolf Caution Areas” they are still eligible to collect additional compensation. In 2020, a hound hunter in Forest County, Wisconsin had three bear hounds killed on three separate occasions less than a mile apart from the hunter’s bear bait locations. He was able to collect $2,500 for each dog killed despite the depredations beings easily preventable.

A bear cub learning to feed from one of thousands of bear baits across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Bear hunters, not wolves are to blame for the continuing conflict caused by the intentional feeding of bears. If Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources won’t reign in unlimited bear baiting and hound training, then Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials should act now to restrict bear baiting on national forest lands.

Join Wolf Patrol in calling for a total ban on bear baiting in our national forests before more wolves and bear hounds have to die!

Email Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials at:

cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

Wisconsin’s November Wolf Quota Should Subtract Wolves Killed Over Limit in February 2021 Hunt

In response to the blatant disrespect for Wisconsin’s February 2021 gray wolf hunting quota by hound hunters who openly encouraged late reporting and illegal killing, Wolf Patrol is calling on the Natural Resources Board to adjust the November 2021 wolf hunt quota, to reflect the overage in the last hunt which saw 99 wolves killed beyond the quota of 119 animals.

No segment of Wisconsin’s hunting community should encourage the intentional overkilling of a game animal, as was evidenced in the last February wolf hunt. Holding wolf hunters accountable for their intentional violation of Wisconsin’s state-licensed wolf quota by reducing future quotas to account for over quota kills would discourage future delayed reporting as a tactic to extend the wolf hunting season.

In Wisconsin’s February 2021 wolf hunt, a total of 218 wolves were reported killed in less than 72 hours of hunting. Hound hunters were responsible for 188 kills, with the remaining wolves taken with the aid of foothold traps, snares and electronic callers at night. A total of 160 wolves were killed on public lands.

The following is a video compilation of Wolf Patrol’s reports from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and documentation of illegal wolf hunting practices our crew investigated, documented and reported to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division.

Wolf Patrol Premiers Film on 2021 Wolf Hunt

DANE COUNTY, WI  Wolf Patrol, a volunteer conservation group that has monitored each of Wisconsin’s wolf hunts since 2014, will host an informational event at the Goodman Center in Madison, June 13 2021 at 1 pm.  The group will premier their video documentation of the February hunt, when 218 wolves and as many as 54-100 packs were killed in less than three days.

Wisconsin wolf hunters releasing a fresh hound in a 3-hour chase of a wolf on February 23, 2021 in Forest County.

The group’s volunteers monitored hounders and trappers in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest during the controversial hunt, which allowed traps, snares, the use of hounds, electronic calls, hunting at night, and hunting over bait.  Their video footage documents violations of the “Emergency Rules” for the hunt, which they reported to law enforcement.  Violations documented include the participation of those legally barred from hunting for prior poaching convictions.  Wolf Patrol also reported trapping violations that resulted in investigations and warnings.

Members will demonstrate legal wolf trapping methods, as well as how to free a pet from a trap.  Bear baiting regulations and methods will also be discussed.  The group hopes to encourage more citizen monitoring on Wisconsin public lands.

The film premier and informational program will take place Sunday, June 13, 2021 from 1-3 pm at the Goodman Center, 149 Waubesa St, Madison, Wisconsin.  This is a free event, donations gratefully accepted.  Masks required for building entry.

Beef calf illegally used as bait and to attract wolves to foothold traps in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Wisconsin’s Largest Coyote Killing Contest Exposed by Undercover Activists

Wisconsin is one of the many states that still allow wildlife killing contests, where contestants compete by killing as many coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, rabbits or crows as possible. Most popular among these contests are coyote killing contests of which they are dozens that take place in Wisconsin each winter, usually organized from a bar or restaurant.

Moondog Madness weigh in: Nelsonville, Wisconsin January 10, 2021.

The largest coyote killing contest in Wisconsin is called Moondog Madness and takes place in two rounds in central Wisconsin every January and February. The contest offers thousands of dollars in prizes as well as being a benefit for a veterans organization. Dozens of two-person teams pay an entry fee to the event of $100, and all coyotes killed are given a thorough examination at weigh-in to ensure competition rules restricting hunting to the weekend of the event were obeyed.

Moondog Madness Round Two weigh-in: Merrimac, Wisconsin March 7, 2021.

Proponents of coyote killing contests argue that their competitive killing of coyotes helps reduce their predation on local farmer’s livestock. Yet, in a Wisconsin killing contest every coyote responding to a hunter’s electronic calls is a target, not just those posing a threat to livestock or pets. Coyote killing contests target animals that are ecologically beneficial to the landscape because the vast majority of coyotes prey on mice and other rodents whose populations are held in check by such natural predation .

Many of the coyote killing contests in Wisconsin are small, with hunters taking sometimes as few as a dozen coyotes. Other contests offer higher dollar prizes thus drawing more hunters, often from out of state. Hunters participating in killing contests are sometimes allowed to use hounds or traps, but with larger contests, hunting is restricted to electronic or mouth calls and mostly night hunting with rifles outfitted with thermal imaging scopes to see coyotes at night.

KB Memorial Predator Hunt: Townsend, Wisconsin January 17, 2021.

Coyotes killed during this winter’s Moondog Madness competition were responding to remote-controlled electronic callers hunters place away from their hidden position. The sounds they are emitting are often those of another coyote in distress or a wounded prey animal like a rabbit. Often in this kind of hunting, coyotes are mortally wounded but escape to die an agonizing and slow death. Other times, a shot aimed at the animal’s vital organs results in the leg being broken or even blown clean off. Many of the coyotes at the Moondog Madness weigh-in exhibited such conditions.

A Moondog Madness contestant awaiting weigh-in. Over 100 coyotes were registered in Round One.

All that is required to kill coyotes in Wisconsin is a small game license. The season on coyotes is year around with no bag limit, giving some hunters plenty of opportunities at hunting in what would normally be the off-season. Coyote killing contests aren’t always about utilizing the animals they kill. Fur quality late in the winter combined with damage to the pelt by the rifle round mean that most coyotes killed in late winter contests are commercially worthless.

Blocks are placed in the mouths of dead coyotes and tied to confirm time of kill before rigor mortis sets in.

Wolf Patrol sent an undercover group of activists to Moondog Madness Round One in Nelsonville, Wisconsin on January 10, 2021 to document the weigh-in and observe the condition of the coyotes killed in the two-day round of hunting. We believe that wildlife killing contests for money and prizes encourages the worst kind of hunting at the expense of our public trust wildlife.

Moondog Madness organizers inspect coyotes at weigh-in to ensure no rules were broken, Nelsonville, Wisconsin January 10, 2021.

Please join Wolf Patrol in calling on the state of Wisconsin to end wildlife killing contests. Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress has repeatedly dismissed citizen resolution’s to end the contests, we need to fight legislatively. If you are a Wisconsin resident, please contact your elected officials and let them know that killing wildlife for fun and prizes is a cruel and wanton waste of wildlife.

Let Governor Evers know it’s time to end wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin!

https://appengine.egov.com/apps/wi/governor/voice-an-opinion

If you are a Wisconsin resident and would like to find out who your elected officials are, please visit:

https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/MyElectedOfficials

You can also email Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board via their liaison:

Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov

To find out more about ending killing contests:

projectcoyote.org