Media Release: Activists Monitoring Hound Hunting & Snaring of Wolves in Wisconsin for Illegal Activity

With the beginning of the hound hunt for wolves in Wisconsin, the wildlife advocacy group, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol (GLWP) is continuing its monitoring of the wolf hunt, with nine members patrolling areas open to hound hunting for illegal activity and snaring. In October, GLWP conducted an investigation into Wisconsin wolf trapping, which resulted in documentation of an illegal wolf trap in Douglas County. The evidence was turned over to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which conducted its own investigation, which concluded that the documented wolf trap was indeed illegal.

On November 20, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol met with DNR Chief Warden, Todd Scheller and other enforcement personnel to discuss the trapping investigation, GLWP’s monitoring project and the upcoming hound hunt for wolves. Patrol members reviewed hound hunting guidelines and informed DNR officials that while GLWP advocates for a total ban on the hound hunting of wolves, we intend to only gather video and photographic documentation of the wolf hunt, to be used to educate the public and legally fight for a complete ban on the hound hunting of wolves. “We believe that this hunt is unethical and against all manner of fair chase. This isn’t a hunt, it’s another DNR approved policy of running down wildlife with dogs.” says Rod Coronado, founder of GLWP.

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol also has been informed that Wisconsin’s wolf hunt will not end when the statewide quota reaches 150, as was earlier reported, but will be allowed to continue until the remaining open areas (Zones 3 & 6) have filled their individual quotas (40 & 35). A major reason for GLWP’s presence in the hound hunt is because legal wolf kills are exceeding pre-determined quotas, such as in Zone 2 where the quota was 15, but allowable kills were 29. In the meeting with DNR, patrol members were told that the agency has no clear idea how many hound hunters will be out in the field today on opening day of the hound hunt. Our presence is intended to not only document the hunt, but also patrol hound hunters for illegal hunting practices such as hunting with more than the legally allowed six hounds, or allowing their dogs to bite or attack wolves.

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol’s monitoring location will vary, depending on hounding locations, but will continue until Wisconsin’s wolf hunt officially ends. Patrol members will then provide the public and DNR with our findings. DNR enforcement officials also GLWP members that during our October wolf trap monitoring project, that they did not receive a single complaint and that the DNR relies on the eyes and ears of citizens such as GLWP to investigate illegal hunting activities in Wisconsin. Contact: teamwolfpatrol@gmail.com

Media Release: Yellowstone Wolf Patrol returns to monitor wolf hunt

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Hunters leaving the Hell’s A Roarin camp for the afternoon hunt

On November 2nd, citizens opposed to the hunting of wolves just outside Yellowstone National Park (YNP) returned to the Gallatin National Forest to witness, monitor and document wolf hunting in Management Units 313 & 316. Yellowstone Wolf Patrol (YWP) was formed following the decision by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to continue to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves immediately outside YNP.

Patrol members are following non-resident trophy hunters led by Hell’s A Roarin Outfitters, who charge thousands of dollars for guided wolf hunts. The monitoring project, the first of its kind in the country, is focused on filming the annual general season elk hunt, just outside of Gardiner, Montana. At least three outfitters in the area are directing elk hunting clients to purchase wolf permits, so that, “…if you run into a wolf during your trophy whitetail hunt or while climbing the ridge looking for elk, you can take a shot.” (Linehan Outfitting Co. fishmontana.org)

YWP supports the position of local environmental groups, wolf watchers, and Native American tribes opposed to the hunting of wolves outside not only YNP, but Glacier National Park as well. Our objective is to obtain photographic/video evidence of the legal killing of Yellowstone wolves, in order to educate the public and encourage them to pressure the state of Montana to end the hunting of wolves outside national parks.

This is the third time in as many months, that Wolf Patrol has led groups of citizens in Montana and Wisconsin into wolf hunting areas to document what we believe is the irresponsible management of wolves in states with aggressive wolf eradication policies. Last month, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol obtained evidence of illegal wolf trapping activities, and are currently working with state wildlife agencies to investigate the alleged crimes.

Officials with FWP have publicly stated that citizens are within their rights to monitor wolf hunts, as long as no interference with legal hunting occurs. YWP are calling on FWP to stop the wolf hunt in Units 313 & 316, in order to prevent the killing of five (of a quota of six) wolves, that have yet to be killed outside the park. We believe the lives of these wolves are invaluable to researchers engaged in ongoing predator/prey studies, to Native Americans who hold these animals as sacred relations, and to the thousands of tourists from all over the world whose travel to the park to view wolves.

Despite threats of violence posted repeatedly on Wolf Patrol social media sites, we are determined to represent the interests of people everywhere who are opposed to Montana’s recreational wolf hunting season. We are currently camped on public lands in below-freezing conditions in order to follow wolves that are currently leaving Yellowstone National Park in pursuit of elk migrating out of the park to their winter range.

Contact Rod Coronado 616-914-4575 Julie Henry 615-943-7700

Media Release: GLWP documents illegal wolf trapping activity, hunters kill over quota, WDNR takes no action

Media Release October 22rd, 2014 – At the invitation of Wisconsin residents, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol (GLWP) monitored the state’s third wolf trapping season in Douglas County Forest, located in Zone 1 of the Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) wolf hunt area.  Patrol members set out on daily foot patrols of high-traffic trapping areas and conducted surveillance using metal detectors, handheld and trail cameras, and our own eyes during hikes on public lands.  Our legwork reveals commonplace violations of trapping regulations by Wisconsin wolf trappers. GLWP left Douglas County Forest on Monday, October 21st with documentation of at least one wolf trap still unsprung and in the ground.

GLWP clocked hundreds of miles of patrols across Douglas County Forest lands, encountering dozens of hunters, but not once witnessing the presence of WDNR wardens patrolling an area with known wolf trapping operations.  Such negligence in managing public trust wildlife explains why wolf hunters were allowed to exceed the quota of 32 wolves in Zone 1 by 4 animals.  In Zone 2, the quota of 15 was exceeded almost 100% to 29 animals.

GLWP also documented steel-jaw leg hold traps placed within 3 feet of roads and hiking trails, frequented by grouse hunters and their dogs. In one trail video, hunters drive directly over a wolf trap and step out of their truck inches away from the hidden trap known to regularly injure dogs and other animals.  (Spruce grouse season began on October 13th, just two days before the beginning of Wisconsin’s wolf trapping season.)

After witnessing the placement of the above-mentioned trap, GLWP also filmed deer feeding near the trap, the trapper not checking his trap within the legally-required 24 hours, and the documented wolf trap being left in the ground after the Zone 1 wolf hunt ended at 6:30 pm on October 19th.

On two separate occasions, grouse hunters hunting with free-roaming dogs in the Spruce River and Empire Swamp Grouse Management Area were seen walking on roads where known  traps were placed.  WDNR’s legal minimum is 3 feet away from any road.  The overlap of grouse season and wolf season illustrates WDNR’s careless attitude towards not only wolves, but also the welfare of hunting dogs.  WDNR allows hound hunting and training in known areas where wolves travel with young pups.  This practice has led to 22 hunting dogs being killed and 8 injured by wolves so far this year.

Independent journalists were in attendance on our patrols, documenting our legal observations, and verifying that GLWP does not engage in any illegal activities (such as harassing hunters or damaging traps).  Yet, despite numerous death threats made against GLWP on social media sites by wolf hunters, the WDNR’s response was only to instruct wolf hunters to call 911 if they felt they were being harassed by our nonviolent observers.  Representing a lack of faith in the WDNR’s ability to monitor this hunt, six local residents joined us on GLWP missions.  Many other citizens from the region have joined these volunteers in pledging their continuing support for our presence in their northern Wisconsin communities.

Our conclusion is that Wisconsin’s 2014 recreational wolf hunt is violating not only the rules of fair chase and ethical hunting, but more importantly, the two principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation; that fish and wildlife are for the enjoyment of all citizens, and should be managed such that they are available at optimum population levels forever.  For the above reasons, Great Lakes Wolf Patrol calls on not only Wisconsin citizens, but all wildlife-loving Americans, to demand:

– A ban on all wolf trapping on public lands.

– The ouster of Cathy L. Stepp, Director of WDNR, for failing miserably to represent our Wisconsin ecosystems’ needs for wolf recovery since the 2011 federal delisting of the gray wolf from endangered species protections.

– The dismantling of the Wolf Advisory Committee, to be replaced with a group of citizens with equal members of hunters and non-hunters.

– A ban on the year-round allowance of hound training and hunting on public lands.

– The implementation of a six-mile buffer zone around all tribal lands.

– The legislative end to the hound hunting of wolves.

– The raising of the allowable population of wolves in Wisconsin from 350 to 1,500.

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol’s evidence of these findings from the 2014 wolf trapping season is now available on our website (wolfpatrol.org) and Facebook page (Wolf Patrol).

Media Release: Wolf Patrol monitoring project arrives to protest hunt in Wisconsin

10628931_278537145679266_6780196933498532182_oCoinciding with National Wolf Awareness Week, a coalition of citizen monitors from Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other states will  be patrolling Wisconsin’s recreational wolf hunt, which begins October 15th. Great Lakes Wolf Patrol (GLWP) will be documenting the use of steel-jaw leg hold traps on public lands to capture gray wolves, and investigating claims that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is under reporting wolf mortality, and failing to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Wisconsin.

GLWP is made up of members of the same group that led a citizen monitoring effort outside Yellowstone National Park in Montana. YELLOWSTONE WOLF PATROL members hiked into the back country, without incident, on the opening weekend of Montana’s wolf hunt in September, to document the hunt. GLWP members in Wisconsin are hoping that their monitoring efforts will help empower citizens to act in defense of wolves, and lobby their elected representatives to stop the trapping and hound hunting of wolves in Wisconsin.

GLWP believes that wolf recovery in the great lakes is still a work in progress, and that wolf populations in Wisconsin and Michigan while healthy, are still a fraction of what they once were, and what they could be again. Members of GLWP believe that the near extinction of gray wolves in Wisconsin and Michigan in the last century, was the result of our past misunderstanding and ignorance of the role apex predators such as gray wolves play in a healthy ecosystem. Yet, after only 30 years, Wisconsin’s recovering wolf population has seen a return to lethal control policies that are drastically reducing the state’s wolf population between 20-50% annually.

GLWP maintains that state and federal agencies, as well as individuals are legally allowed to kill wolves involved in the depredation of livestock, and that a recreational hunt only increases the likelihood of new predations by younger less savvy wolves. GLWP also supports the development of wolf watching tourism such as that in Yellowstone National Park which brings much needed income to economically depressed areas. “Wolves are worth more alive than dead, to smart states that have decided to bank on their return.” says Matt Almonte, a patrol member new to the campaign.

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Activist teams enter Yellowstone backcountry to document and protest Montana Wolf Hunt

SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 – Americans outraged with the killing of wolves from Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have organized the YELLOWSTONE WOLF PATROL, whose members have entered the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness to monitor and document Montana’s wolf hunt which begins September 15th. Nine members of the Wolf Patrol are currently trailing hunters, who in the last two years, have killed wolves belonging to packs originating from YNP where hunting is prohibited.

Wolf Patrol members are opposed to the sport hunting of wolves in Wolf Management Units (WMU) 313 & 316, and are asking Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) to immediately stop the hunt before more wolves are killed. Yellowstone wolves cross over from the park into WMU 313/316 where since 2012, twelve have been killed by hunters. At least three of the wolves shot in the 2012/2013 season were of high social rank (alpha female or beta male), thus negatively affecting reproduction, hunting behavior, and territorial defense of these unique packs. 7 of 10 (70%) packs living primarily in YNP had at least one wolf killed by hunters.

Wolf hunting in WMU’s 313 & 316, negatively impacts the local economy, including wildlife guide companies, hotels, restaurants, park tourism, and other wildlife-observation-based industries. Yellowstone National Park is one of the few places left in the world where wolves can not only be studied, but also provide tourists from all over the world an opportunity to see a wild wolf. The recreational killing of apex predators is negatively impacting important predator research while also robbing wildlife watchers of a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Yellowstone Wolf Patrol supports the growing economy in wolf tourism, and believes that MFWP is catering to a few special sport hunting interests, all at the expense of one of our nation’s most pristine ecosystems. “In allowing the killing of Yellowstone wolves, MFWP is not just shooting wolves, but also itself in the foot, because this hunt is giving the entire tourism industry a black eye.” says Patrol member, Julie Henry, “We are not opposed to Montana residents filling their freezers with elk, but the wolves were here first, and deserve protection from recreational killing.”