Report-back on the Public Hearing about the Right to Hunt Act

Wolf Patrol’s response to Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage public meeting on Assembly Bill 433 aka: The Right to Hunt Act

WATCH the video of the hearing here. You can jump forward to Wolf Patrol’s testimony at any time which begins at 3:22:00 though we encourage you to watch the entire meeting, then contact your legislators Wisconsin friends!

10/28/15: Today we heard Wisconsin’s bear baiters, hound hunters and commercial trappers cry bloody murder for our monitoring of their recreational hunting and trapping activities on public lands.12063356_417917295074583_4898341874414937424_n

Wolf Patrol’s monitoring in October 2014 of Wisconsin’s wolf trapping season led to the videotaping of a wolf trap illegally set beyond the close of last year’s hunt. This evidence was reported to the DNR’s anti-poaching hotline, and led to an investigation that concluded that the trapper had indeed broken the law. In a private meeting with the DNR’s Chief Warden, Wolf Patrol’s monitors were informed that the trapper had been given a verbal warning. This is the kind of public reporting and monitoring of controversial hunting and trapping practices that Rep. Jarchow and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) wants to outlaw with Assembly Bill 433.

At today’s Assembly hearing, hunter after hunter testified to how they’ve felt intimidated and threatened by our public lands monitoring, yet not one shred of evidence was provided to prove that Wolf Patrol’s investigations have impeded or interfered with their hunting or trapping. Much of the WBHA’s testimony amounted to fabricated stories about Wolf Patrol committing serious crimes so as to foment fear amongst themselves and lawmakers to justify proposing legislation that criminalizes public lands monitoring and free speech.

12188916_417910715075241_130594514664350209_nAdam Jarchow testified today that The Right to Hunt Act was introduced to specifically target Wolf Patrol. He admitted that his legislation was drafted in response to the WBHA’s demand that Wolf Patrol’s citizen monitoring be made illegal. Yet all of their testimonies attested to alleged activity that is already covered in Wisconsin’s hunter harassment statute and anti-stalking laws. This legislation is purely the evidence of a special interest group (Wisconsin bear hunters) using political favoritism to draft laws that violate the Constitution and keep their activities hidden from public view.

The Right to Hunt Act is a direct response to Wolf Patrol’s investigation into Wisconsin’s liberal bear baiting and hound hunting regulations. In 2014, a DNR survey revealed that over 4 million gallons of bear bait was dumped into over 82,000 bear baiting locations on Wisconsin’s forestlands. In Wisconsin, anyone can set as many bear baits as they desire, and are not required to provide the locations to DNR, as is the practice in other states that allow bear baiting. Our 2015 investigation into bear baiting in a DNR-designated Wolf Caution Area documented over 24 bear baits within a square mile of where wolves killed seven bear hunting hounds between July and October, which spans both bear baiting, hunting and hound training seasons.

Our investigation was in response to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest’s Washburn District request for public input into how to better manage our public forest lands in northern Wisconsin. Our videotape documentation of bear baiting practices was used to educate the public to the creation of Wisconsin’s number one source of wolf conflicts: the allowance of bear baiting and hound training and hunting in areas where it is known wolves have become conditioned to kill domestic animals. Our evidence was used to encourage citizens to submit public comments to the USFS, asking that bear baiting and hound hunting be banned within the Chequemegon-Nicolet National Forest.

UPDATE: The public hearing is being widely reported in the media from coast-to-coast. Here are a couple of media reports:

NPR: Some Wisconsin Lawmakers Claim Bear Hunters Are Being Harassed

SF Gate: Hunters press committee to pass anti-harassment bill

Controversial Wildlife Group Concludes its Monitoring of Florida’s Bear Hunt

Media Release 10/25/15 – An organization whose controversial tactics monitoring wolf & bear hunts in Wisconsin (which has led to the recent introduction of The Right to Hunt Act, a bill to outlaw their activities) has announced that it has been secretly monitoring Florida’s bear hunt. Wolf Patrol, operating as Florida Bear Patrol, is a group that advocates for “citizen monitoring” of controversial hunts that it believes caters to trophy hunting at the expense of apex predators and healthy ecosystems.

Florida Bear Patrol (FBP) members from Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan spent the weekend of the state’s first bear hunt monitoring hunting activities outside Altoona, FL in the Ocala National Forest. Where bear hunting tree stands were discovered, activists placed trail cameras to help ensure bear hunters were obeying the laws governing the hunt, most notably, whether illegal baiting was being employed.

FBP members also interviewed community members in Lake County, discovering that many residents were opposed to the hunt. “Our initial investigation revealed that the vast majority of bears reported killed weighed in at less than 140 lbs. that means they were either very young adult bears or second year cubs at best,” said FBP member, Rod Coronado. “While FWC (Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission) mandated that bear baiting would be illegal, it did not halt the legal baiting of deer with foods that also attract bears.”

FBP’s parent group, Wolf Patrol, is campaigning to halt the practice of bear baiting on national forest lands in Wisconsin where according to that state’s wildlife agency, over 4 million gallons of bear bait was dumped in the state in 2014 alone. In July and September of this year, while monitoring bear baiting and hunting, patrol members were questioned by county sheriff deputies investigating claims by bear hunters that the group was violating the state’s hunter harassment laws. “We operate 100% within the law monitoring questionable hunting tactics such as baiting and hound hunting. Our presence on public lands also helps wildlife officials rein in illegal activities and that’s what legislators in Wisconsin are being asked to stop.” concludes Coronado.

Coronado and his FBP crew will be on hand in Orlando Monday night to share their findings with bear hunt opponents who asked his organization to monitor the state’s first bear hunt in 21 years.

‘Right to Hunt’ Act would criminalize first amendment rights in Wisconsin!

Please sign our petition against the ‘Right to Hunt’ Act here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/841/015/589/right-t…

petitionimage2The proposed ‘Right to Hunt’ Act in Wisconsin would criminalize documenting hunting practices. The act was introduced by WI State Rep Jarchow in direct response to Wolf Patrol‘s work in national forests (public land) in WI.

The text of the proposed Right to Hunt Act (SB338) in Wisconsin is available here: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/sb338.

There are two public hearings happening next Wednesday 28th in Madison relating to this bill:

9am at 417 North (GAR Hall) for the Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage public hearing: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1205713

10am at 400 Southeast for the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry public hearing http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1205859.

Our Wolf Patrol crew have simply been filming and documenting bear baiting & hound hunting practices on public lands to bring them to the attention of the public. These hunting practices frequently put hounds and wolves in conflict situations, with hounds dying and wolves being further demonized. Clearly we are having an impact if representatives with hunters interests at heart are trying to criminalize our activities. What are they trying to hide by stopping us documenting hunting practices?

Wisconsin already has hunter harassment laws, and hunters have a lot of protections for their activities on public lands. Please help us stop the ‘Right to Hunt’ act, which would inhibit the ability of ALL residents of Wisconsin to practice first amendment rights on public lands.

Sign our petition against the ‘Right to Hunt’ Act here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/841/015/589/right-t…

Wolf Patrol’s Response to Wisconsin Representative Adam Jarchow’s proposed “Right to Hunt Act”

Wisconsin Representative Adam Jarchow has chosen Wolf Awareness Week
to introduce the unconstitutional ‘Right To Hunt Act’, which would
criminalize the use of cameras or driving on public roads if a hunter feels that they are being harassed. Jarchow has targeted Wolf Patrol as the reason behind proposing this tightening of existing hunter harassment laws in Wisconsin, citing our recent citizen-monitoring of bear baiting season in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Adam Jarchow’s ‘Right To Hunt Act’ media release can be found here:

Listen to / read the NPR transcript: “New Bill Would Prevent Harassment Of Wisconsin’s Hunters

A year ago today, the organization, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol launched its campaign to witness, document and monitor the recreational trapping and hunting of gray wolves in northern Wisconsin. Our October 2014 documentation of a trap set for wolves, led to a DNR investigation that confirmed that the trap was left in the ground beyond the close of the season. The trapper was issued a verbal warning. In December 2015, Wolf Patrol documented this country’s only hound hunt for wolves, which was in Wisconsin. Our monitoring of the hound hunt for wolves was instrumental in the DNR’s decision to close the hunt in Zone 3 before the statewide quota of 150 wolves could be exceeded.

In July 2015, following the publishing of the scientific paper, “Bear-Baiting May Exacerbate Wolf-Hunting Dog Conflict” (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0061708) Wolf Patrol began to document Wisconsin’s bear hunting practices, specifically, bear baiting and hound hunting. Since July, sixteen bear hunting hounds have been killed by wolves while being trained or hunting black bear in areas with an unlimited number of bear baits and in known wolf territory.

The number one source of conflict between wolves and humans in Wisconsin is the state’s liberal bear baiting and hound hunting practices. Wolf Patrol’s investigation of two DNR declared Wolf Caution Areas in Bayfield County where seven bear hounds have been killed in the last two month’s, revealed 29 bear baits inside of one Wolf Caution Area. This evidence reinforces the scientific finding that in Wisconsin, gray wolves are becoming habituated to feeding from bear bait sites and thus defending them from free-roaming hunting dogs.

This evidence is being used to solicit public comments to the US Forest Service who are inviting public participation in the management of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where bear baiting and hound hunting is prolific.

Since it’s inception, Wolf Patrol has fostered open communication with both the Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Wisconsin’s hound hunters, bear baiters and wolf trappers. Wolf Patrol’s Facebook site welcomes and allows debate from all stakeholders in the wolf debate. DNR law enforcement have always been informed when Wolf Patrol is carrying out it’s monitoring of activities that threaten and harm federally protected gray wolves in the state, and our investigations have led to numerous DNR investigations of suspected illegal hunting activity.

By introducing the Right to Hunt Act, Representative Adam Jarchow is advocating for the criminalization of the above-mentioned constitutionally protected activities. While some public agencies respond to citizen complaints with greater openness, Rep. Jarchow is asking for prison time for citizen’s who want to peacefully document unethical hunting practices on public lands. Wolf Patrol is not an anti-hunting organization. We support the ethical and respectful taking of deer and other animals which provide a source of food to many Wisconsin families.

The documentation of bear baiting practices within Rep. Jarchow’s district this past July led to Wolf Patrol’s documentation crew being detained by the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. We were informed that our activities were in violation of the state’s hunter harassment law which specifically states, “(3m) Affirmative defense. It is an affirmative defense to the prosecution for violation of this section if the defendant’s conduct is protected by his or her right to freedom of speech under the constitution of this state or of the United States.” To this date, no Wolf Patrol member has ever been charged with a crime while carrying out its activities.

Wolf Patrol’s founder, Rod Coronado concludes, “By introducing the Right to Hunt Act, Rep. Jarchow is asking that the constitutional rights of those opposed to bear baiting and hound hunting be illegally restricted. If the law is passed, Wolf Patrol will continue its monitoring of bear hunting and any other activity that threatens wolves and challenge this unconstitutional law in the courts.”

To celebrate 2015’s Wolf Awareness Week, Wolf Patrol is announcing the launching of a campaign to monitor Wisconsin’s coyote and bobcat trapping season which begins on October 17th. Last year, eight gray wolves were reported incidentally trapped in coyote or bobcat foothold traps. Our monitoring effort is intended to ensure that such captures are reported to the DNR and the wolves released. Wolf Patrol members will also be alerting grouse hunters to the danger posed to their hunting dogs by hidden coyote and bobcat traps which can be legally placed on trails and the shoulders of public roads.

Website: http://www.wolfpatrol.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/teamwolfpatrol
Twitter: http://twitter.com/teamwolfpatrol
Email: teamwolfpatrol@gmail.com

Another Bear Bait in Wisconsin Wolf Caution Area

In total, Wolf Patrol has documented over 37 bear baits within the four mile radius of the DNR’s Wolf Caution Area. What this reveals is that, bear hunters ignore the risks their hounds face when loosed in wolf territory. Probably because they know if a dog is killed, they will generously be compensated from Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Fund. So if you think that money you are giving to the state when you buy an endangered species license plate is helping wildlife, you are very wrong. Hound hunters receive up to $2,500.00 for each hound killed by a wolf in Wisconsin.
LINK FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS TO BAN BEAR BAITING & HOUND HUNTING IN THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST: https://my.usgs.gov/ppgis/studio/launch/35135

Calling Miley Cyrus!

Wolf Patrol’s Rod Coronado has long been a Miley Cyrus fan. So you can imagine our excitement when we heard the pop singer was taking a stand against senseless wolf killings! If any of her fans know of a way to get her to see this video, please share. Coronado made his plea to the singer while documenting illegal bear baiting operations in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where bear hunters hounds are being killed by wolves who see the invading dogs as trespassers and threats to their families. If you would like to tell the US Forest Service that bear baiting in our national forests should be illegal, please send in your comments before September 30th.
LINK FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS TO BAN BEAR BAITING & HOUND HUNTING IN THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST:
https://my.usgs.gov/ppgis/studio/laun…

Wolf Patrol’s Rod Coronado Appeal to Ban Bear Baiting in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Wolf Patrol’s founder, Rod Coronado appeals to the public to send comments to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, asking that bear-baiting be banned on our national forest. In Wisconsin, it is legal for bear hunters to construct an unlimited number of artificial feeding stations. At each of these, it is legal to dump at each restocking, up to ten gallons of fryer grease, sugary foods, bread and other foodstuffs, all for the purpose of conditioning bears to visit these sites when bear season opens in September. Bear-baiting in WI begins in May and ends in October. Where this video was shot, four bear hounds have been killed by wolves, who also become conditioned to recognize bear baits as a food source.
LINK FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS TO BAN BEAR BAITING & HOUND HUNTING IN THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL FOREST:
https://my.usgs.gov/ppgis/studio/laun…