Here’s the link to the above documents:
Here’s the link to an Mlive news article about the law change:
Here’s the link to the above documents:
Here’s the link to an Mlive news article about the law change:
In, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and many other states, right now is coyote killing contest season. Once deer season has ended, many predator hunters take to the field, killing as many coyotes as they can with the use of electronic callers, night vision and assault-style rifles with thermal imaging scopes.
In Michigan, only since 2017 have the weapons predator hunters use today been allowed to legally hunt coyotes at night. Previously, predator hunters were limited to using shotguns or .22 calibre rimfire rifles. Now they’re able to use centerfire ammunition and rifless up to .269 caliber, a big benefit when trying to shoot coyotes more than 100 yards away.
Like many modern predator hunters, George Witmaier has killed over a 100 coyotes with the aid of his electronic callers and high-powered rifles with night vision and thermal imaging scopes. All of these videos are shared publicly on Facebook, and represent just one of the many individuals who attend and economically benefit from coyote killing contests which are held every winter in Michigan, and across America.
Five states have already banned coyote killing contests, recognizing that unregulated and commercial killing of predators only creates more problems than it solves. In the midwest and eastern states, coyotes have filled the ecological niche left after wolf eradication in the last century. Most states now recognize the eastern coyote as a hybrid blend of coyote, wolf and domestic dog, and as a functioning member of the ecosystem.
Still many states like Michigan encourage the wholesale slaughter of coyotes, fox and bobcats and even the state’s governor appointed Natural Resources Commission endorses killing contests with cash rewards given to those who kill the most public trust wildlife.
If you agree that it’s time to end these barbaric and cruel contests that encourage and reward the mistreatment and disrespect of wildlife, please send a polite email to Michigan’s Natural Resources Board asking that they ban coyote and other wildlife killing contests immediately.
Coyote killing contests in America are growing. As the growth and expansion of coyotes continues, filling an ecological niche left after the eradication of larger native predators in the country, like wolves and cougars, most states in the country allow legal hunting of coyotes year around with no season or bag limit.
Many farmers and landowners invite predator hunters to eliminate local predator populations, believing their lives are better without coyotes. But are they? What about the land? What about the ecological communities that depends on a healthy predator/prey relationship to keep in check rodents and other animals that can negatively affect humans and our American ecosystems?
The wanton waste of wildlife that coyote and other wildlife killing contests encourage is not in line with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation or any ethical sportsperson’s agenda, and it most certainly should not be in line with any state’s wildlife agency, committed to preventing the kind of wanton waste of wildlife common in coyote and other wildlife killing contests.
Don’t get angry, get organized. Contact your state’s wildlife agency and let them know that you do not support the awarding of cash and prizes to those who kill the most of our public trust wildlife. Wildlife killing contests encourage unethical and cruel treatment of coyotes and other wildlife and should not be supported by any ethical hunter or sportsperson.
Thousands of grey foxes are killed every winter, with hunters using assault rifles with thermal scopes, electronic calls, traps and poison. All perfectly legal and allowed by most state wildlife agencies in the country. The problem is, animals like grey fox actually perform an important function in any healthy ecosystem, controlling and eradicating small rodents that might otherwise damage agricultural crops or spread disease.
This past weekend was no different from any other, for animals like coyotes and grey foxes, who must contend not only with the harsh winter conditions, but also now with humans out for cash and prizes for killing the most members of their species.
This grey fox was caught and killed in a legal trap. We wanted you to see what the trapper wanted his friends on Facebook to see.
It’s that time of year again. When Wisconsin’s hound hunters who were responsible for twenty-one deadly conflicts between federally protected wolves and their hunting dogs in this year alone, now begin chasing and killing other wildlife across Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other public lands.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) hunting regulations allow resident and non-resident hound hunters to chase and kill coyotes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no limit on the number they are allowed to kill. Hunting bobcats in Wisconsin requires a tag, but only to kill a cat, not chase one.
Much like Wisconsin’s liberal bear hunting regulations, which allow any hound hunters to chase bears (but not kill them) from July until the kill season in September, WDNR regulations allow hound hunters to chase and kill bobcats from mid-October until the end of January.
Both WDNR & the U.S. Forest Service allow hound hunters and others to participate in coyote and bobcat killing contests on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other public lands. In addition, both agencies allow coyote, bobcat and other furbearers killed legally to be sold on the international fur market for profit.
Because of Wisconsin’s liberal hound hunting regulations, many hound hunters are able to run their dogs across our national forest lands year-round. In Spring its raccoons, all Summer and early Fall its bears, and then in Winter its coyotes and bobcats that are legally chased and killed with the aid of hounds in Wisconsin.
As has been documented and reported by Wolf Patrol annually, many hound hunters in Wisconsin who corner their prey on the ground after miles of being chased through the snow, allow their dogs to fight, maul and kill their prey, which is illegal.
All of the video and photos accompanying this article were shared by Wisconsin hound hunters and on public and private Facebook pages and groups. These photos are not the exception in hound hunting, but the rule.
Some Wisconsin hound hunters like Carl Bailey III claim they train their dogs to “bay not bite” their chased prey, but most of these hound hunts occur when loose dogs are miles from their handlers, cornering prey for extended periods of time until humans can reach their dogs and put them on leashes. Often in winter, coyotes and bobcats are forced to retreat into the icy waters which Wolf Patrol has documented already occurring this winter in northern Wisconsin.
It’s time to restrict hound hunting on Wisconsin’s national forest lands and end competitive contests offering cash and prizes for coyotes and bobcats killed. Chasing wildlife throughout the winter months should not be considered a legal or ethical hunting practice anywhere in our national forests, especially in federally protected gray wolf habitat where there is a history of conflicts between hound hunters and territorial wolves.
Please join Wolf Patrol in calling on WDNR & the U.S. Forest Service to address the lack of regulations governing hound hunting on Wisconsin’s national forest and other public lands by sending an email today to public land managers and contributing to Wolf Patrol’s campaign to end hound hunting and wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin.
On 9/10/19, USDA-Wildlife Services confirmed wolves depredated a Plott trailing hound in the Town of Georgetown, Price County, Wisconsin. This latest incident brings the total body count since bear hound training season began in July to 21 hounds killed and one injured. Bear hunting with hounds is responsible for five hound and wolf fights in Price County this year. Depredations occur when hound hunters run dogs where bear baiting activities has also attracted wolves.
In Forest County, Wisconsin where five deadly wolf/hound fights have been reported on national forest lands, many bear hunters are reporting wolves visiting their bait sites and hunting their hounds. On August 22, in nearby Marinette County, hound hunters fired on wolves they claim were trying to attack them after killing one of their hounds (the Endangered Species Act only allows wolves to be killed if they are threatening your life, not a dog’s.) Wolves will also defend summer rendezvous areas especially while their young pups are still vulnerable.
With three more weeks of bear hunting with hounds left in Wisconsin’s bear season, many more deadly clashes between hounds and federally protected gray wolves are certain to occur, many in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where over a dozen have already occurred. Yet, Wisconsin’s bear hunters continue running their dogs in Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Wolf Caution Areas which are designated once a depredation of a hunting hound has occurred.
Wisconsin’s policy of compensating hound hunters up to $2,500.00 for each hound killed by wolves may be contributing to the careless running of hounds in caution areas where hounds have already been killed. The state program even allows for payouts to known wildlife violators including hound hunters who were running their dogs illegally.
Wisconsin is also the only state in the nation that allows unlicensed, unregistered and unlimited baiting of bears for the purposes of hunting. A WDNR survey in 2014 estimated that over 4 million gallons of food waste, grease and oil is dumped in Wisconsin each year to attract bears, many so hound hunters can then chase them. WDNR and the US Forest Service even allow chocolate to be used as bear bait though its been proven to be toxic to bears and wolves and was recently banned in neighboring Michigan.
All, so bear hunters can shoot bears out of trees after chasing them for miles. In Wisconsin’s national forests and other public lands, resident and nonresident hound hunters have been baiting and chasing bears for over two months and now is the time for the kill. Only its not just bears that are dying, but wolves and hounds too. Its time state and national forest managers do something to stop the preventable conflict between bear hounds and federally protected wolves before more animals have to die.
September 8, 2019:
Reports are just coming in for the number of bear hounds killed this weekend during Wisconsin’s bear hunt which began on September 4th. So far, 18 bear hounds have been killed by wolves since the state’s two-month hound training and bear baiting season began on July 1st. The actual kill season runs until October 8th.
The latest depredation which resulted in an injury, not death of a bear hunting hound, took place on September 6, 2019 in Polk County, Wisconsin. This was the 17th bear hound and federally protected gray wolf fight reported since July 2019 and there’s still an entire month of bear hunting in northern Wisconsin wolf territory.
Wolf Patrol visited multiple Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Wolf Caution Areas in Marinette and Forest County where wolves have killed more bear hounds this year than any other area of the state. Wisconsin’s allowance of unlimited and unregistered bear baiting sites, many on national forest lands, has led to not only bears being conditioned to visiting bait sites, but wolves as well.
Now it appears wolves are also becoming conditioned to defending these feeding sites as well as their own territory by killing not only hunting hounds, but any dog. It’s time the WDNR & US Forest Service do something to restrict and limit bear baiting and hound running in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas once any dog or hunting hound is killed.
On Saturday September 7, 2019 Wolf Patrol monitors continued documenting bear baiting and the running of bear hounds in three known WDNR Wolf Caution Areas in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where wolves have already killed four hunting dogs. The following video reveals continued bear hunting in these areas despite warnings provided by WDNR that federally protected gray wolves are becoming conditioned to killing domestic dogs.
These wolves are responding to the lack of any restrictions on bear baiting and hound hunting in their territory, which has been increasing the number of hound deaths reported so far this year, as hunters continue to place their dogs at risk despite continued depredations. In Wisconsin, hound hunters are compensated up to $2,500.00 for dogs killed by wolves.
Could the compensation be an incentive for careless hound hunters? Or do they simply not care that they are increasing the likelihood of even more depredations? Sacrificing bear hounds to wolves won’t win hound hunters an open season on wolves, more than likely it will help Wolf Patrol get them kicked out of our national forests!
Wisconsin’s 2019 black bear hunt began on September 4th and on the season’s first three days bear hounds were killed by wolves in three separate incidents in Forest, Oneida and Douglas Counties. The latest incident in Douglas County is the 16th reported deadly encounter between federally protected gray wolves and bear hunting hounds in Wisconsin since July when the two-month bear hound training season began.
Wisconsin’s bear season runs until early October with 11,595 licensed hunters hoping to fill their tags before the WDNR quota of 3,835 black bears is reached. In 2018, of the 3,717 black bears legally killed in Wisconsin, 3,623 were killed with the aid of bait and 1,041 were killed with the aid of dogs and bait.
Most of the bear hound depredations that have occurred in 2019 have been in areas heavily baited for bears and where there is a history of wolf depredations on bear hounds. On opening day of the actual kill season on September 4th, a bear hound was killed in northern Forest County in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where so far this year, there have been five separate deadly fights between wolves and bear hounds on national forest lands.
Neither the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) or the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) require registration or limits to the number of baits a bear hunter can place on national forest and other public lands. Up to ten gallons of human food waste, fryer grease and even chocolate that is toxic to bears, can be used in each bait daily.
Since Wisconsin’s 2019 bear hound training season began, Wolf Patrol has been investigating and documenting federally protected wolves visiting and feeding from bear baits in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where the majority of bear hound depredations in 2019 have occurred so far this year.
Unregistered and unlimited bear baiting on our national forest lands has created a deadly conflict between bear hunters and wolves that is only getting worse. A bear baiter and hound hunter operating where a bear hound was killed on September 4th has told Wolf Patrol that wolves aren’t only protecting their pups, they’re actively hunting free-roaming bear hounds. If wolves are becoming conditioned to hunting bear hounds, both WDNR and the USFS should take action to limit bear baiting and hound hunting in known WDNR Wolf Caution Areas.
On August 31, the last day of Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training season, Tyler Kettlewell who’s unethical hunting practices have been exposed by Wolf Patrol this summer, published photos of himself with a young child in front of a bayed bear. Other photos published with the photo show a large black bear bayed by his hounds, which often suffer injuries inflicted by large bears that will not tree when chased.
Wisconsin hound hunters like Tyler Kettlewell continue to be seen on Wolf Patrol’s platforms because they continue to practice unethical and illegal hunting practices like allowing hounds to fight with a bear on the ground, which is what Kettlewell has been doing and sharing videos of on Facebook for years. In the past, its been Kettlewell’s hounds that suffer puncture wounds and even death, sometimes by bears, but also in the past by wolves.
Hound hunters like Kettlewell are good examples of why the U.S. Forest Service and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) should require registration for bear baits and bear hounds being trained on national forest lands. So hunters like Kettlewell can be prevented from creating conflicts that cost lives.
It’s not wolves that are creating deadly conflicts in Wisconsin’s national forests, it’s out of control, unregistered and unregulated bear hunters conditioning bears and other wildlife into being fed by humans and running vicious packs of dogs through federally protected gray wolf habitat.
Please send US Forest Service & WDNR officials an email today asking that hound hunters like Kettlewell be more closely managed and monitored on our national forest lands where bear hunters are already responsible for 13 bear hound/wolf fights this summer!
On August 22, 2019 a young bear hunter and anti-wolf advocate from Forest County, Wisconsin reported on Facebook that he and his brother shot at federally protected wolves after they killed one of their hunting hounds during the state’s two-month summer bear hound training season.
Ty Belland says that after a five-mile chase, his GPS indicated that one of his dogs 700 yards away wasn’t moving. When he was 60 feet away, he says he saw two wolves killing his dog and yelled. According to Belland, the wolves dropped his dog and came at a dead run towards him causing him to fall, but he was able to keep the wolves at bay with a tree branch until they ran far enough away for him to retrieve his pistol and shoot towards them with the intent to scare them away.
Belland says he called his brother Wes for help and halfway to his truck on the 700 yard return walk, the wolves began following and barking at him. After a few minutes, he shot twice towards where he thought he could see the wolves. When he was 50 yards from the road he says the wolves again came towards him and circled for about five minutes until his brother Wes Belland arrived. “After two shots fired they ran away and let us get back to the truck.” said Ty, not indicating who fired the last two shots. On August 23, WDNR confirmed the Belland’s wolf depredation just inside of Marinette County on private forest lands.
Ty Belland and his brother Wes are part of a community of hound hunters in Forest County who promote the illegal killing of wolves. The brothers use their dogs to hunt not only bear, but bobcat and coyotes as well and this is not the first time one of their hunting hounds has been killed by territorial wolves. In March 2019 Wes Belland posted a photo on his Facebook page of a wolf-killed deer that led to many commenters advocating for more illegal wolf killings. Belland commented that someone could only shoot a wolf if “they have harmed you with a mark to prove it.”
Wolf Patrol contacted Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) law enforcement on August 23, 2019 to ask whether the Belland’s shooting incident would be investigated as a possible violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under current federal protections, a wolf can only be killed if it is endangering a human, not a dog’s life.
On August 26, 2019 WDNR conservation officers informed Wolf Patrol that an investigation had been carried out and US Fish & Wildlife authorities had determined that, “The ESA does allow for the protection of life within the code. As Mr. Belland documented the encounter, there would be no violation of the ESA.”
In addition a WDNR conservation officer interviewed Ty Belland and members of his hunting group, saying he was “unable to find any information to discredit the FB Post. Mr. Belland and his group were advised of the ESA, reminding them that wolves are protected. Any retaliatory shooting of wolves by anyone outside the exceptions of the Endangered Species Act could be charged in either Federal or State court.”
Since the August 22 bear hound depredation, Wolf Patrol has been monitoring continued bear baiting and hound training in the newly created WDNR Wolf Caution Area. In addition, local anti-wolf advocates are warning that two individual wolves are prowling the nearby Blackwell, Wisconsin area and people should arm themselves for their own protection.
There were thirteen separate bear hound and wolf fights reported during the 2019 Wisconsin bear hound training season which ran from July 1-August 31. The Belland incident was the 12th, but more are sure to occur during the actual bear killing season which begins September 4th and runs until early October 2019.
And as more and more bear hound depredations occur, more hound hunters will know they can shoot at federally protected wolves, as long as they claim the wolves were threatening their own lives as well. This is not an acceptable solution to the conflict bear hunters are creating with federally protected wildlife, especially on our national forest lands where unregistered bear baiting is also attracting wolves that in turn, prey on bear hounds.
The now allowable exception to the Endangered Species Act that allows bear hunters to fire on federally protected wolves is just one more reason why Wolf Patrol is calling on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials to address unregistered bear baiting and hound training on our national forest lands, where its causing multiple conflicts with wolves and other wildlife.
Wolf Patrol will continue monitoring bear baiting and hound hunting activity in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas throughout Wisconsin’s black bear hunt.