Field Update – July 13 2017

Today marks our 20th continuous day of patrols in the Chequamehon-Nicolet National Forest’s Washburn District, where Wisconsin’s minimally regulated bear hound training season & baiting season is in full swing.

Last year, over 19 bear hounds were killed by wolves while training & hunting in the CNNF’s wolf territory. Many of these conflicts occurred literally in the same areas, as hound hunters still receive $2,500 payouts from the state’s Endangered Species Fund, even though their continued use of dogs in “Wolf Caution Areas” can be considered irresponsible.

If you agree with Wolf Patrol that it is time to end the practices of bear hound training & baiting in our national forest lands, please email your comment to:
cnnfadmin@fs.fed.us

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

Vice News: Animal Rights Activists Target Wisconsin’s Annual Grey Wolf Hunt

“Wisconsin’s annual wolf hunt begins Wednesday, but hunters won’t be the only ones venturing into Wisconsin’s northern forests.

A group of environmental and animal rights activists are protesting the wolf hunt by trailing hunters and investigating potentially illegal kills. Their aim is to spotlight the cruel practices involved in grey wolf hunting, which indigenous groups in the Great Lakes region oppose, and the failure of government agencies to adequately manage wildlife populations…”

Read the rest of the article at Vice News.

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Article: Federal judge won’t give Wyoming control of wolves

“CHEYENNE — A federal judge on Tuesday denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and pro-hunting groups to change last week’s decision that reinstated federal protections for wolves in the state.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., leaves Wyoming and the Fish and Wildlife Service with the choice of either appealing or to developing a revised management plan. The planning process can take years and require more public comment, during which time Wyoming wolves would remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Wyoming wolf plan Jackson rejected took effect in 2012. It classified wolves as unprotected predators subject to being shot on sight in most of the state…”

Read the full news article

Great News out of Wyoming!

Article: “Victory for Wolves in Wyoming” (Earthjustice)

The Yellowstone wolves on the eastern side of the Park will benefit from the federal ruling that has suspended the hunt. Now it’s time to put pressure on Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks to do the same for Yellowstone wolves on the Montana side!

THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!
10623529_273737512825896_1698614495287029835_oYellowstone Wolf Patrol will continue to generate attention to the continued hunting of Yellowstone wolves in Montana and will be launching other monitoring efforts in Wisconsin as well.

The ruling in Wyoming was a result of the state failing to biologically ensure the continued recovery of gray wolves in Wyoming. The state wanted to reduce the population to as little as 100 animals, and continued to classify wolves as “vermin” in some parts of the state, meaning you didn’t even need a hunting license to kill one.

Similarly, in Montana there are clear instances of bad wolf policy. The state maintains a similar population of wolves as Wyoming, yet has not placed a ceiling on the annual quota, and allows the killing of five wolves per hunter, which means its legal for people like Jason Maxwell to state: “Once I clean out the Lake Como pack I will be heading to Gardiner to help with the problem there.” (9/16/14) and MFWP endorses it.

It’s also further evidence of bad wolf policy that Montana resident Toby Bridges can run down wolves with his truck, brag about it on Facebook, and again have MFWP endorse it.

And if that wasn’t enough to make MFWP nervous that a federal judge might intervene to stop the hunt in Montana, than perhaps we need to be reminded that the state is actively still trying to remove the Madison Pack and other uncollared wolves, and is also allowing private landowners and ranchers permission to kill upwards of 100 wolves without influencing the recreational hunt quota. Oh that’s right there is no quota…

Let’s end this hunt for Yellowstone wolves in WMU 313/316. It’s the very least Montana can do to demonstrate a responsible commitment to managing public trust wildlife. Until then, Yellowstone Wolf Patrol will be planning a return to Montana, we have film crews interested and we will continue to highlight the reversal of gray wolf recovery until no wolf-kill buffers are in place around all our national parks.

Article: Yellowstone wolf observers break camp, plan return

Yellowstone wolf observers break camp, plan return – from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. LAURA LUNDQUIST, Chronicle Staff Writer

GARDINER – After four days of prowling the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness near Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Wolf Patrol leader Rod Coronado still hasn’t seen any wolves. But he couldn’t be happier.

Coronado, a wildlife activist, and eight YWP volunteers hiked into the wilderness east of Gardiner last weekend just before Montana’s wolf season started. Their intention was to be close to where hunters might kill one or more of the three wolves allowed by the area’s hunt quota.

Two local outfitters offer wolf hunts.

“We want to get images of the wolves or guys packing them out. We thought, with the low quota, that it might happen more quickly,” Coronado said. “But the ranger said the wolves are still snuggled down in the park.”

That didn’t stop the group members from hiking 15 to 20 miles a day around their wilderness camp near Hellroaring Creek in search of wolves.

Coronado created the YWP to monitor the wolf hunt north of the park to ensure hunters didn’t exceed the quotas and to put pressure on Montana to create a no-hunting buffer around the park.

They want to document any wolf kills to get more Americans to protest the hunt.

“We’re trying to illustrate that outfitters may be able to charge more than $3,000 to kill a wolf, but look how much money can be made from that wolf when it’s left alive. People travel here to see wolves, bringing money to hotels, restaurants and stores,” Coronado said. “That’s nothing to be ignored in today’s economy.”

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