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.

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

Wolf Advocates to Document Hound Hunters on Opening Day of Wisconsin’s Bear Hunt

MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 8th September. Beginning September 9, 2015, Wolf Patrol will return to the northwoods of Wisconsin alongside hunters to document the outdated hunting practice of bear baiting and hunting bears with hounds. This will launch the fall campaign of Wolf Patrol, a citizen-activist monitoring project, to end bear baiting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Crew members of Wolf Patrol from Wisconsin and Michigan will be available for comment during the hound hunt for bear on public lands until late September 2015. Documentation of the hound hunt for bear in Wisconsin will be posted daily on Wolf Patrol’s YouTube channel. The number one human/wolf conflict in Wisconsin is the killing of bear hunting hounds by wolves defending their families and feeding areas.

In Wisconsin, it is legal to artificially feed bears beginning in mid-April, and by the beginning of bear season in September, bears, wolves, deer and other animals have become conditioned to feed from bear baits. Bear baits are artificial feed stations where hunters are allowed to dump fryer grease, sugary baked goods, and food scraps in large piles so black bears feed there and can later more easily be shot.

Hound hunters are allowed to chase bears beginning July 1st, which is when many wolf packs are traveling with pups. Since July, nine bear hounds have been killed in northern Wisconsin according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Activists will be patrolling known bear baiting areas on public lands beginning in the predawn hours of opening days of the hunt, in an effort to document the practice of bear baiting and hound hunting as part of their campaign to end bear baiting and hound hunting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

“We aren’t here to break any laws, we just believe that in Wisconsin, like every other national forest, you shouldn’t be allowed to feed the bears.” says founder of Wolf Patrol, Rod Coronado. There is no limit to the number of bear baits a hunter can maintain in Wisconsin. “Many of these bear baits on public lands are virtual oil spills where its legal to dump up to ten gallons of fryer grease.” says Coronado, “Baiting bears and running them down with GPS-equipped dogs through wolf territory isn’t hunting, it’s unethical, unsporting and should be illegal.”

Wolf Patrol’s campaign goals are:

  • Delaying the start of bear-baiting season until September 1st, so gray wolves do not habituate to or defend bear-bait sites, causing unneeded conflict with hounds used by bear hunters.
  • Banning bear-baiting, the intentional feeding of bears and other wildlife to lure them into one location, in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
  • Banning hound-hunting, the use of domestic dogs to hunt bears, wolves, coyotes and fox, in which hounds are used to find, chase, harass and kill wildlife on Wisconsin’s public lands.

When Wolf Patrol was in the field in July documenting bear baiting sites in Wisconsin, three of our patrol members were informed by a Polk County Deputy Sheriff that they would be cited for hunter harassment, due to a complaint from a hunter who was had issues with our presence in the field. The Deputy Sheriff did not have the statute number at the time, so told our patrol members to go to the courthouse the following day. There was no citation at the courthouse the next day, and no citations have been issued since.

We believe no citations have been issued in this case because of the lack of evidence that our patrol members were doing anything illegal. We will continue to adhere to relevant laws during our patrols, as we have since Wolf Patrol’s inception.

In 2013, Wolf Patrol launched their multi-state citizen-activist campaign to protect endangered gray wolves on public lands who were being delisted and subject to management by hunting under a variety of jurisdictions and rules even before these new populations were fully understood.

The 2014 Wolf Patrol campaign focused on documenting illegally set wolf traps the state-sanctioned wolf hunt in December that authorized the use of hounds to hunt wolves in northern Wisconsin. With gray wolves returned to protection under the Endangered Species Act in the upper Midwest December 2014, Wolf Patrol continues to investigate threats to the continued recovery of gray wolves in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Wolf Patrol YouTube Channel
Wolf Patrol Facebook Page

Call to action against aerial gunning of wolves heeded by grassroots wolf advocates

Two Anti-Trophy Hunting groups, Wildlife Defense League (so-called Canada) and Wolf Patrol (U.S.) will be answering a recent statement made by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder and Captain Paul Watson, calling for action to stop the resumption of aerial hunting of wolves in British Columbia.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.02.58 AMWolf Patrol and Wildlife Defense League members operate in the field, monitoring and preventing the recreational hunting of wolves, bears and other wildlife. The two groups are issuing their own “call to action” to the general public to help oppose this senseless slaughter.

In 1984, Paul Watson established Friends of the Wolf, a group that worked out in the Canadian killing fields to stop wolf hunting and bring international attention to the issue of aerial wolf eradication programs. The so-called government of British Columbia has recently started killing wolves by helicopter again, claiming they are doing so because wolves are impacting the caribou population.

It is widely understood and accepted that the decline in caribou herds is due to human caused habitat loss, not wolf predation. By resuming aerial hunting of wolves, Victoria politicians are using wolves as a scapegoat, rather than addressing trophy hunting of caribou or the real root cause of the population decline, habitat loss.

Only just starting to recover from near extinction, gray wolves are still listed as an endangered species in most of America. Sadly, states like Montana and Idaho are already running organized wolf hunting events, after only three years of regaining state control over wolf ‘management’.

In the U.S. wolves continue to face many threats, despite the recent federal decision to wrestle control out of the hands of state agencies that were allowing trapping, snaring and even the hunting of wolves with hounds. Wolves in the lower 48 states still occupy only five percent of their original range and Wildlife Defense League & Wolf Patrol support their continued recovery to suitable native habitat across the North American continent.

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Media Release: Wolf Patrol Calls for Investigation into Threats to Kill Wolves in Retaliation for their Return to Endangered Species Act Protections

An organization that documented Wisconsin’s 2014 wolf hunt, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol, is asking federal law enforcement authorities to investigate imminent threats being made by northern Wisconsin residents to kill wolves. Since 12/19/14, when a federal judge returned Great Lakes wolves to the federal list of Endangered Species, Wolf Patrol members have documented violent threats on anti-wolf Facebook sites calling for hunters to “SSS” (Shoot, Shovel & Shut-up) and “S.O.S.” (Shoot on Sight).

Killing a wolf, can now result in fines of up to $50,000, a year in prison and can result in the confiscation of guns and vehicles used in poaching activity. Earlier this month, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol began offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in illegally killing wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. The announcement came after two wolves were illegally killed in Michigan this November.

The group is now calling on ethical sportsmen to speak out against inciting hunters to violate the Endangered Species Act, and asks that anyone report illegal wolf killing to US Fish & Wildlife law enforcement officers. “We believe that wolf hunters are violently forcing their agenda on the public by calling for unlimited killing of wolves, less than 40 years since their return to Wisconsin.” says Wolf Patrol founder Rod Coronado, “These aren’t baseless threats made by internet trolls, these people live in wolf territory and use social media to threaten federally protected wildlife.”

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol is also offering to assist in anti-wolf hunting patrols on northern Wisconsin public lands, and this past Fall provided Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers with evidence of illegal wolf trapping. “We are not criticizing wildlife officials for failing to protect wolves, we are simply offering our services to help aid them in protecting endangered wildlife in the Great Lakes region.” stated Coronado.

Media Release: Wolf Monitoring Group Begins Reward Program in Response to Wolf Killings in Michigan

Wolf Patrol Media Release, December 11, 2015: A Michigan based group, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol announced today that it was offering a $1,500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who illegally kills a wolf in Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota. The announcementphoto comes in response to recent wolf killings in the Upper Peninsula and an upsurge in Facebook sites that promote illegal wolf killing, such as “Wisconsin Wolf Hunt & Wisconsin Wolf Hunting” whose public comment logs encourage readers to “SSS” (Shoot, shovel and shut-up) and kill wolves out of season.

Organization members will be circulating reward posters in the areas where two dead wolves were recently found near Newberry and the the town of Gulliver with the hope that the cash reward will provide an incentive for residents to come forward. “We want to assist Michigan and other states’ conservation officers in their investigations of illegal wolf killing.” said Rod Coronado, the group’s founder.

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol was founded this year to document and investigate the recreational hunting of gray wolves in Montana and Wisconsin. The group monitor’s hunters and trappers during each state’s wolf hunting seasons and worked with Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources this Fall to investigate illegal wolf trapping during the October hunt. Last week, Wolf Patrol members documented this nation’s only hound hunt for wolves in northern Wisconsin.

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Postering at the Curtis Area Chamber of Commerce

Media Release: Hound hunters file harassment complaint against Wolf Patrol. Wolf Patrol files DNR report on illegal elk kill in same area

Yesterday, members of Wolf Patrol were questioned by Polk County Sheriff’s deputies after receiving a complaint from Wisconsin hound hunters, accusing the citizen-led monitoring project of interfering with their hunt for wolves. On December 2nd, Wolf Patrol located wolf hunters from Luck, WI, running their hounds in the Polk County Forest. The hound hunter was informed that Wolf Patrol would not be interfering with his wolf hunt, but would be monitoring the hunt for illegal activity. The encounter ended without incident.

On December 3rd, Wolf Patrol encountered the same houndsmen, hunting directly from the road, in the same county forest lands, and followed their vehicles during the hunt for six hours.

No wolves were killed during the monitoring of the hound hunt, nor did any members step further than ten feet from their vehicles during the entire encounter. Upon returning to Luck, patrol members were questioned by local Sheriff’s deputies, who said they had received a harassment complaint from the hound hunters in question. Wolf Patrol founder, Rod Coronado informed the deputy that our project had been cleared by the DNR, and that we would cooperate fully with any investigation into whether our actions constituted hunter harassment or any other violation of county, state or federal laws.

“We welcome any investigation into whether the monitoring of wolf hunting in Wisconsin on public lands constitutes a violation of the law. If it does, Wolf Patrol will use the opportunity to further expose the irresponsible practice of releasing hounds on public lands to chase wildlife.” said Coronado, who was the individual questioned by the police. Coronado said the deputy took a “hands off” approach when he was informed that our campaign was not condemned by the DNR. “When I explained what Wolf Patrol was about, the deputy expressed interest in our project and asked to see photos we took that morning of two deer carcasses we discovered dumped at a dead end road.” No citations were issued. The deer incident was reported to the DNR Poaching Hotline.