Gresham Bear Hunters Tampering with Cameras Monitoring Wolf Activity at Unregistered Bear Bait Sites

Since federally protected gray wolves killed a bear hound in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on July 13, 2019 Wolf Patrol has been monitoring unregistered bear baits in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) designated Wolf Caution Area near where the depredation occurred.

Our public lands monitors have shown that since the depredation occurred, wolves including three young pups have been repeatedly visiting bait sites where bear hounds are continuing to be run in areas where two more bear hounds have been killed since the July 13, 2019 depredation. When bear hounds are released near bait sites that wolves identify as a food source, depredations can occur.

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Where wolves have killed three bear hunting hounds…so far in 2019. It is legal to run hounds on bear in Wisconsin’s national forest lands from July until October when kill season ends.

 

Wolf Patrol wants Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials and the WDNR to know that bear hound depredations are occurring not because wolves are overpopulated and need management, but because bear hunters don’t care about the well-being or safety of their hounds, especially when they are paid $2,500.00 when one is killed or injured by wolves.

Since Wisconsin’s bear hound training season began on July 1st, 2019, there have been eight reported deadly fights between gray wolves and bear hounds, leaving 9 bear hounds dead and an unknown number of wolves injured by packs of bear hounds. Neither WDNR or the U.S. Forest Service require any kind of license or permit to operate unlimited bear baits on national forest lands, including WDNR Wolf Caution Areas.

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This year’s gray wolf/bear hound fights during Wisconsin’s 2019 bear hound training season From WDNR’s gray wolf page: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/dogdeps.html   

Now the bear baiter responsible for the bait site that is attracting wolves is breaking the law to keep forest officials and the public from witnessing his actions on our national forest lands. On the evening of August 9, 2019 Wolf Patrol’s trail camera monitoring the bear bait in the CNNF and WDNR’s Wolf Caution Area was tampered with in order to prevent its recording of federally protected gray wolves visiting the still active bear bait.

Ironically, it was the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association which includes members of Gresham Bear Hunters who lobbied the state legislature in 2015 to amend Wisconsin’s hunter harassment law to include any acts committed not only during hunting season, but during Wisconsin’s summer bear hound training season as well.

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The bear baiter responsible for attracting wolves to the unregistered bear bait site on national forest lands where three bear hounds have already been killed this summer.

Last year during bear hound training season in the very same portion of the CNNF, the same bear baiter suspected of tampering with Wolf Patrol’s trail camera this year, stole two of Wolf Patrol’s trail cameras monitoring another bear bait in the area. After reporting the theft to Forest County Sheriff’s Department, investigating law enforcement were able to identify the suspect and retrieve the stolen cameras.

Wolf Patrol did not press law enforcement to prosecute the theft in 2018, but as this year’s tampering is suspected to be by the same individual, we are asking the Forest County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Forest Service and WDNR to investigate and press charges for illegally tampering with Wolf Patrol’s trail camera.

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Gresham Bear Hunters have started a fund to raise money to protect their “northwoods cultural traditions” like bear baiting and running dogs through WDNR Wolf Caution Areas.

Pro-hunting groups like Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and Gresham Bear Hunters are alleging this Summer that Wolf Patrol is threatening violence and acts of property destruction, but so far its only been Wisconsin bear hunters who have been documented violating Wisconsin’s hunting rules and regulations.

Wisconsin bear hunters have grown frustrated with the continuing exposure of their unethical hunting practices on national forest lands by Wolf Patrol. Illegal acts like the tampering with legally placed trail cameras is only the latest illegal effort to stop not only Wolf Patrol, but any citizen from exercising their constitutionally protected right to witness and document any activity in our national forest lands.

GRESHAM BAITER

Gresham Bear Hunters operating unregistered bear baits in three WDNR Wolf Caution Areas, July 2019.

Please call or email U.S. Forest Service officials as well as WDNR to demand that unregistered and unlimited bear baiting as well as illegal activity by bear hunters be addressed in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest before more bear hounds and wolves have to die.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

WDNR Secretary: preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin’s Wolf Pups & Bear Cubs Need Protection From Harmful Baits & Hounds

Unregistered and unlimited bear baiting is allowed in Wisconsin’s national forests, even though its causing deadly conflicts between wolves and bear hunting hounds and conditioning bears into being fed by humans. Bear hunters place baits to attract bears so their hounds can later chase them during Wisconsin’s two-month summer bear hound training season which begins annually on July 1st.

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WDNR allows up to 10 gallons of baits like these to be dumped on national forest lands from mid-April until mid-October, literally the entire length of time black bears are out of hibernation.

Over 4 million gallons of food waste is dumped every year during Wisconsin’s bear hound training & bear hunting season which begins in July and runs until mid-October. Chocolate can also be used as bear bait even though states like Michigan have banned its use because it is deadly to bears and canines, especially bear cubs and wolf pups.

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Wisconsin bear hunters like Jason Welch don’t care if their bait kills bear cubs or wolf pups, as long as they can chase bears through the national forests from July until October every year.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the U.S. Forest Service do not require any license or permits of any kind for residents or nonresidents to bait bears and chase them with packs of hounds during July and August when federally protected gray wolves are protective of pups like those in this video. Baiting bears in our national forests causes conflicts and changes the natural behavior of wildlife and should no longer be allowed.

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An exposed and unregistered bear bait in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, less than a mile from where federally protected gray wolves killed a bear hound on July 21, 2019.

 

It’s time WDNR & the US Forest Service do something about unregistered and unlimited bear baiting and hound training in Wisconsin’s national forests and federally protected wildlife habitat.

Send emails to Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials:

cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

WDNR Secretary:

preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

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Wolf pup in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and WDNR Wolf Caution Area designated after wolves killed a bear hound close by on July 13, 2019.

Give Smokey the Bear a Break on His 75th Birthday…Stop Bear Baiting & Hound Training in Wisconsin’s National Forest!

Wolf Patrol has reported on the deadly conflict bear baiting causes when bear hounds released from bait sites are killed by territorial wolves, but this year a Wisconsin bear hunter also told us he believes chocolate in Wisconsin’s bear baits is killing young cubs.

Its a fact that chocolate contains theobromine, which can be fatal to bears, wolves and other canines. This bear hunter and baiter said he’s seen mother bears pick out chocolate from baits so cubs wouldn’t eat it. Unfortunately, other bear cubs visiting baits will eat anything left over leading to theobromine poisoning.

CUBS AT BAIT SITE

Bear cubs feeding at a northern Wisconsin bear bait, July 9, 2019.

In 2017, Michigan banned chocolate in bear bait citing the poisoning threat to bears and other wildlife, but Wisconsin continues to allow chocolate in unlimited amounts and baits, without even requiring any registration or license.

Bear baiting is big business in northern Wisconsin where discarded baked goods and other sugary food items are resold as bear bait by the truckload. Wisconsin DNR bear baiting regulations state only that you must limit your baiting to 10 gallons per bait. Its not uncommon for summer bear hound trainers to operate more than 20 bear baits, meaning thousands of gallons of food waste is being dumped annually by individual bear hunters, much of it in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Chocolate candy bars sold by the tote, about three 55-gallon drums worth for $150.

Unlimited bear baiting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a threat to not only bears but federally protected gray wolves as well. This Summer, Wolf Patrol documented repeated visits to active bear baits by wolf pups clearly attracted to the bear bait in the log. More and more bear hunters in July also reported wolves visiting their bear baits in northern Wisconsin.

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Wolf pups playing at a bear bait not far from where wolves killed a bear hound on July 13, 2019.

WDNR & the US Forest Service do not know how many bear baits there are in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas (designated when a depredation of a hunting dog occurs) or anywhere in the national forest because no registration of bait sites is required in Wisconsin.

All of this, so hound hunters can chase bears in July and August when instead of putting on winter weight, bears have to run from hunters with their cubs in tow. Whether because of the threat chocolate poses to bear cubs and wolf pups, or baiting in wolf territory causes to hounds, its time the WDNR & US Forest Service do something to limit the deadly impact bear hunting practices are having in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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A casualty of the Gresham Bear Hunters in 2018.

Please send emails asking WDNR & US Forest Service officials to stop bear hunters from dumping millions of gallons of bear bait and toxic food waste in federally protected wildlife habitat and our national forest lands!

What better way to celebrate Smokey the Bear’s 75th birthday than to end bear baiting!

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Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

 

WDNR Secretary: preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

Harassing Bears…I Mean Bear Hound Training Continues in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Wisconsin bear hunters don’t want you to see what they are doing in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. That is why the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) lobbied for the passage of the “Right to Hunt Act” which was signed into law at the WBHA’s annual conference in 2016 by then Gov. Scott Walker.

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August 4, 2019: Another bear hound killed during training, this time by the bear being chased.

The new law cited only Wolf Patrol’s monitoring and publicizing of bear hunting practices on public lands since 2015, as cause for a stronger hunter harassment statute that would prohibit photographing and videotaping bear hunters in Wisconsin.

NOWINSKY YOTE ON BOX 2018

Many Wisconsin hound hunters like Andy Nowinsky don’t only chase bears, but coyotes in winter as well.

The problem is the “Right to Hunt Act” is unconstitutional. Anyone can take pictures or videotape on public lands and roads, which is why Wolf Patrol has never been cited for violating the new law. Even the “Right to Hunt Act” acknowledges that one must have the intent to impede or obstruct legal hunting activities in order to violate any hunter harassment laws.

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Wisconsin bear hunter Aaron Hamann getting ready to release his hounds on July 31, 2019 during Wisconsin’s summer bear hound training season

Wolf Patrol’s intent is not to impede or obstruct legal bear hunting practices in Wisconsin. Our intent is to see bear baiting and hound training practices regulated, restricted or outright prohibited on national forest lands where they are causing deadly conflicts with federally protected gray wolves and other wildlife.

 

Which is why we are continuing to share not only our own videos of Wisconsin bear hunters on national forest lands, but their own videos as well, which they are kind enough to share on Facebook.

EXTINCTION

Anti-wolf Facebook post on Tony Engebretson’s Facebook page. Engebretson is also a contributor to an anti-Wolf Patrol GoFundMe campaign.

As long as over 4 million gallons of bear bait is dumped, as long as there is no limit to the number of bear baits, and as long as hound hunters continue to bait and train their dogs in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wolf Patrol will continue exposing these unethical hunting practices.

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August 3, 2019: Wisconsin bear hunter complaining about the bear he’s harassing…I mean “training”?

On August 2, 2019 Wolf Patrol was contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and questioned about whether we were engaging in bear baiting activity. Apparently bear hunters have complained that we are for whatever reasons. What is ironic is that if WDNR required basic registration for bear baiting in Wisconsin, they wouldn’t have to waste any of conservation officers time trying to figure out who is baiting and where.

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Bear bait for sale on northern Wisconsin Craigslist, July 2019.

Please ask US Forest Service & WDNR officials to address unregistered & unlimited bear baiting and hound training in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest!

U.S. Forest officials: cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

ANDY, RATT, DEAD BEAR 2018

Wisconsin houndsmen participating in “northwoods cultural traditions.”

WDNR Secretary: preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Bear Hunters Tormenting Bear Last Weekend During Training Season

Meet Tyler Kettlewell. He’s a Wisconsin bear hunter that Wolf Patrol has reported on before. He likes to watch his hounds fight bears during bear hound training season, and has had dogs killed by both bears and wolves in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Tyler Kettlewell (orange shirt) during Wisconsin’s bear kill season September, 2018.

Last weekend, like literally hundreds of other hound hunters in Wisconsin, Tyler took his dogs out to chase bears, which he can legally do 24 hours a day from July 1st until September, when the actual kill season for bears begins. Tyler baits, trains and hunts with his Plott hounds around Clam Lake beginning every July. A “Plott blanket” is what hound hunters like Kettlewell call it when they’re dogs are literally covering a bayed black bear.

 

Kettlewell is no stranger to deadly conflicts with his hounds. In 2018 one of his hounds was killed by a bear during Wisconsin’s summer hound training season. And in 2014, another hound was killed by a wolf, for which she received $2,500.00 in compensation, like any other hounder in Wi sconesin whose hounds are killed by wolves.

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Kettlewell’s bear baits regularly attract wolves, yet like other hound hunters, act surprised when their hounds are killed near them.

Bear hunters like Kettlewell are responsible for the annual fights between bear hounds and federally protected wolves. Kettlewell reported on Facebook in 2018 that “he was covered in wolves” after continuing to attract wolves to his national forest bear baits. Yet, like many bear hunters Wolf Patrol halvs documented, he continues to operate bear baits and run his hounds in areas they are likely to be killed.

DEP CHECK

Like any irresponsible hound hunter who looses a hound to wolves while running off of bear bait sites that attract wolves, Kettlewell was paid $2,500.00.

When bear hunters bait for bears, they inadvertently attract wolves and other wildlife which wolves prey on, leading to a deadly conflict when bear hunters return to bait sites to release their hounds to chase bears. Federally protected wildlife like Wisconsin’s gray wolves shouldn’t have to fight vicious packs of bear hounds to protect their young offspring, but they do every summer in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

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Kettlewell bear bait photo shared on Facebook in September 2018.

If you agree that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources & U.S. Forest Service policy on allowing unregistered and unlimited bear baiting & hound training on national forest lands is part of the problem, please contact WDNR & USFS officials and ask that these practices be ended immediately before more bear hounds and wolves have to die.

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Kettlewell’s Plott hounds harassing a bear in a den after a nine hour chase in 2017.

 

 

WDNR Secretary: preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials: cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

 

Unregistered & Unlimited Bear Baiting Conditioning Wolves to Kill Bear Hounds

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the U.S. Forest Service’s policy of allowing unregistered & an unlimited number of bear baits, especially on national forest lands in July and August, is creating a deadly conflict between bear hunting hounds and federally protected gray wolves.

The following video was compiled from a trail camera that was placed at an active bear bait inside of a WDNR Wolf Caution Area following the depredation of a bear hound on July 13, 2019, less than a quarter mile away from this unregistered bear bait in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF).

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Location of July 13, 2019 bear hound depredation and bear bait where wolf pups were documented regularly visiting the site.

Beginning every July 1st, it is legal for any bear hunter, resident or nonresident, to dump thousands of gallons of oil and food waste in Wisconsin’s national forests and other public lands to attract black bears so hound hunters can release dogs from the bait sites to chase them. This official WDNR & USFS endorsed bear hound training season lasts until September, and no license is required to bait bears or train hounds to pursue bears.

Bear baiting and hound training especially in summer months when wolves are most protective of young pups, leads to an annual death toll of twenty bear hunting dogs or more, as territorial wolves who have grown accustomed to using bear bait sites as feeding locations defend the sites as their own when bear hounds are released to follow the trail of a bear.

07.13.19 DEP DOG

Bear hound killed and eaten by wolves near bear bait site where wolf pups were filmed in July 2019.

Despite WDNR designating areas where wolves have killed bear hounds as “Wolf Caution Areas” many bear hunters continue to ignore the warnings and maintain bear baits and run hounds in Wolf Caution Areas, as Wolf Patrol has documented over the last five years in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Now its time for U.S. Forest Service officials to do something, if WDNR won’t to prevent more bear hound deaths and unknown injuries to wolves and their young pups on national forest lands where endangered wildlife is required to be protected by federal and state laws.

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Adult wolf leaving bear bait where wolf pups were filmed.

Help Wolf Patrol pressure U.S. Forest Service & WDNR officials to end the practice of allowing unregistered & unlimited bear baiting and hound training in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where it causes deadly conflicts with federally protected wildlife!

SEND EMAILS TO US FOREST OFFICIALS:

cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

SEND EMAILS TO WDNR SECRETARY:

preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

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Bear hunter after having dropped four bear hounds deep in July 13, 2019 WDNR Wolf Caution Area on July 28, 2019.

6th Bear Hound Depredation of the Season in Price County Wisconsin

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Depredations of bear hounds regularly occur during Wisconsin’s two-month summer bear hound training season when wolves are especially protective of young pups.

On July 28th USDA Wildlife Services confirmed the 6th fatal wolf depredation of a bear hound since the start of the hound training season on July 1st. The depredation occurred in Price County north of the town of Catawba. The end of July is typically the time when depredations on hounds start to really ramp up. I’m sure this is far from the last depredation we will see during the 2019 training/bear hunting season.

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Wolf visiting bear bait in Forest County WDNR Wolf Caution Area.

To see all bear hound depredations since 2013 ( there are lots!):

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/dogdeps.html