Hey Wisconsin! Don’t Feed the Bears!

Wolf Patrol Summary of Bear Baiting & Hound Training Activities in July 2015

In July, Wolf Patrol set out to gather information about Wisconsin’s bear hound training & baiting activities on public lands. Our focus was to learn more about the conflict that exists as a result of bear hunting hounds being trained in wolf habitat in early July when the predators’ are leaving their dens with new pups to areas known as “rendezvous sites” where their parents can teach them to hunt and explore their habitat. Last year in Wisconsin alone, over 25 hunting hounds were killed by wolves as they hunted or were trained on public lands.

hound killed by wolves

Although bear hunting in Wisconsin does not begin until September 9th, it is legal in Wisconsin to begin baiting for bear in mid-April, and training bear hounds on July 1st, thus bear hunters through intentional feeding, are conditioning bears to behave in ways that are in the bear hunter’s own self interest. This is not only the opinion of Wolf Patrol, but the scientific findings published recently by researchers who investigated Wisconsin’s liberal bear hunting policies, comparing them to Michigan’s, where a much more regulated baiting season exists. What we found in our two weeks of on-the-ground investigations reinforces the findings of researcher Joseph Bump and others in, “Bear-Baiting May Exacerbate Wolf-Hunting Dog Conflict” published in 2013.


Early Summer is not only a time when bears and wolves are active, but other wildlife as well. The presence of “free-feeding” bait sites throughout bear habitat, means not only bears are influenced by these artificial feed sites, but other animals as well. Most notable in our findings was the presence of deer at bear bait locations. Deer and other animals are attracted by the calorie-rich foods placed in the field by bear hunters, and anywhere there are deer congregating, you can expect predators and other wildlife to gather as well. What we are witnessing is a “trophic cascade” whereby, bear hunters intentionally set out baits for bear, the bait becomes exposed, and other wildlife feeds from it, also contributing to predator attention to bear baiting sites.


One particular bait supplier, “Northwoods Bear Products” uses the by-line: “Turn Nocturnal Bears into Daytime Bears” taking pride in the fact that their artificial baits and lures cause bears to alter their natural behavior. Bear baiting is a big business in northern Wisconsin, where guides are able to “guarantee” that their clients will have the chance to shoot a bear, only because the animal has become conditioned to feed at an artificial feed site.


Another recent finding from researchers is that the artificial calorie-rich diet often provided in bear baits (chocolate, breads, candy, cookies, and other randomly-sourced sweets) is contributing to larger litter sizes amongst black bears fed from bait stations. Continue reading

Wolf Patrol Returns to Yellowstone National Park

Rod Talks to Wolf Watchers Wolf Watchers LamarYesterday our crew was in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park sharing our spotting scopes with dozens of tourists from all over the world, watching 3 young wolves feeding on a bison carcass. To see the excitement in adults as well as children’s eyes as these international citizens were touched forever by the wolf’s spirit was all the pay I could ever ask for.
To see an animal as magnificent as the wolf for the very first time and then learn that they are still being killed was a consciousness awakening that transforms tourists into activists. Each viewer was aghast to learn that these and other wolves are still being targeted for extermination and many parents said their children wanted to join Wolf Patrol.
So wolf killers of Wisconsin, please take a moment and think about all the money your communities could make by taking your knowledge of these animals in your own state and becoming wolf watchers as well. If any of you want to take me up on the offer, Wolf Patrol will promote any wolf tourism by former wolf hunters and trappers and help you get rich doing it. Think of that new Ford F-150 that you’ve been wanting to buy!

**Howl To Action!**

Today as directed by our questioning Sheriff’s deputy, we reported to the Clerk of the Court in Polk County, only to be told that no charges had been filed, so I called the deputy directly, and he told me the bear hunter (pictured here) went to the District Attorney, and was told we would be charged with hunter harassment, and if we had any questions to call him directly, which I then did, and was told it would take a week to review the deputies report to determine whether charges would be filed.

Sooooo, if you’d like to call the District Attorney and RESPECTFULLY request that charges NOT be filed, us three accused would appreciate it. Whatever happens, Wolf Patrol will not cease its operations in Wisconsin, and myself, Benjamin and Stef are unceasing in our belief that we have broken no laws and that citizen monitoring of public hunting practices on public lands must continue. Remind DA Steffen that traveling public roads and photographing others on public lands is not illegal. Hound hunters operate with impunity in Polk County, and if anyone deserves a citation for harassment, its the hound hunters themselves who run dogs across our public lands chasing and harassing public trust wildlife.

Daniel P. Steffen – Polk County District Attorney
Phone: 715-485-9231

Wolf Patrol members facing hunter harassment charges

Dear Wolf Patrol Supporters,
Myself and two other crew members are facing charges of hunter harassment, which we welcome as an opportunity to demonstrate that what Wolf Patrol does is not illegal. We have been in Polk County, Wisconsin documenting the training of hounds for bear hunting, with the full knowledge of the Department of Natural Resources.

In what appears to be an attempt by Polk County officials to dissuade us from monitoring hunting practices on public lands, we have been told that we could not follow and film bear hunters. We were told that we would be charged with hunter harassment, and deputies would be writing us misdemeanor citations. Sheriff’s deputies then told us their computers were down. Then they said they couldn’t find the statute, and asked us to come to the Polk County Clerk’s Office tomorrow, but otherwise we were free to go.

We have no intention of ceasing our patrols as long as we haven’t been charged with anything. But we need your help! Please kick down a few bucks if you can so we can give the wolves of Wisconsin their day in court and return their protectors to the field (PayPal donations: http://tinyurl.com/kp5x25y). Otherwise, we are OK and in high spirits after finding HUGE wolf prints accompanied by puppy prints! Video of the encounter with bear hunters and Sheriff’s deputies coming!

The First Annual Great Montana Wolf & Coyote Hunt

Two wolves trapped January 14th, 2015 Sanders County, Montana

Two wolves trapped January 14th, 2015 Sanders County, Montana

Members of Wolf Patrol were in Sanders County, Montana from January 15-18th, to monitor an organized wolf hunt in western Montana dubbed the “Great Montana Wolf & Coyote Hunt.” The event was sponsored by the Montana Trappers Association and other sportsmen’s groups and was billed as an effort to “manage the wolf and coyote population.”

Wolf track Lolo National Forest

Wolf track Lolo National Forest

Wolf Patrol’s objective is to monitor coordinated “killing contests” or trapping competitions in Idaho and Montana, which are the only states outside of Alaska to still allow wolf hunting. Wolf Patrol decided to investigate the event after Montana residents brought the predator contest to our attention and after a similar contest was held in Salmon, Idaho the past two years.

Wolf in crosshairs billboard

Wolf in crosshairs billboard

The Montana hunt was centered in Sanders County, where very few livestock depredations were reported by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks in 2014. The few wolf-caused depredations reported, resulted in lethal removal of the responsible animals by federal Wildlife Services agents from the Garden Creek and Corona wolf packs. Events like the “Great Montana Wolf & Coyote Hunt” are more than just recreational hunts, they are vigilante-style wolf eradication programs that have the potential to wipe out not only solitary animals, but entire wolf family groups. Continue reading

UNANNOUNCED WISCONSIN WOLF PATROL: January 9, 2015 Lincoln County Forest, Wisconsin

Fresh Wolf Tracks

Fresh Wolf Tracks

With newly returned authority to verify wolf depredations, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services has confirmed that wolves injured a bird hound outside the town of Harding, in Lincoln County Wisconsin on December 26th.                            2014 was the year when 22 hunting dogs were killed and nine injured by wolves as they pursued other wildlife, mostly bears.

Location of 12/14 hound injury

Location of 12/14 hound injury

Most of the attacks in Wisconsin occur as bear hunters are training hounds in Summer months. Its also bear baiting season, when hunters begin leaving large food piles as an attractant for bears in the forest, which can also attract wolves. Domestic dog/wolf encounters are greatest in July-August, when wolf pups are leaving their dens for the first time and their family groups are very protective.

Ice Age Trail, Lincoln Co., WI

Ice Age Trail, Lincoln Co., WI

Each dog owner is entitled to $2,500.00 in compensation (from the sales of wolf tags and applications) and all claims will be paid out by the state in January 2015. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to reimburse hound hunters for deaths or injuries to dogs used for hunting, conflicts that continue because of the state’s liberal nine-month hound training and hunting season.

New Wood Forest

New Wood Forest

New Great Lakes Wolf Patrol members-in-training participated in a patrol of the site of the latest hound depredation in Lincoln County on January 9th, (after a recent snowstorm forced the postponement of our public meeting the night before!) to determine whether this latest attack as well as six recorded depredations between 2009-2013 might result in any illegal retribution or reprisals against wolves. Continue reading


Polk County Forest Lands

Polk County Forest Lands

GLWP representatives at DNR Meeting 11/20/14

GLWP representatives at DNR Meeting 11/20/14

Great Lakes Wolf Patrol’s (GLWP) objective in its December 2014 wolf hunt monitoring campaign, was to document the use of hounds to hunt wolves and patrol for wolf hunting violations when Wisconsin’s hound hunting season began on the first of the month. Wisconsin is the only state to allow the hound hunting of wolves, with the 2014 hound hunt being the second in the state’s history, since the gray wolf lost federal endangered species protection in January 2012. The hound hunt lasted five days before the statewide quota of 150 was reached and Wisconsin’s wolf hunt closed.

On November 20th, GLWP met with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wardens to discuss the upcoming hound hunt for wolves. Since our reporting of a trapping violation in October, DNR law enforcement officers expressed a willingness to outline the legality of wolf trapping and hound hunting of wolves, as well as answer questions so citizen monitoring activities can have a greater law enforcement, as well as fact-finding value. GLWP was informed by DNR wardens patrolling the wolf hunt where we monitored the wolf hunt in October, that there were no complaints related to our monitoring activities. DNR wardens also welcomed our illegal hunting and trapping reports to their anti-poaching hotline. GLWP informed DNR officials that in addition to patrolling for illegal wolf hunting in December, that our objective was the video documentation of the legal hound hunting of wolves.

Hound hunter looking for wolf sign...

Hound hunter looking for wolf sign…

Wolf Patrol’s intention is to establish a working knowledge of what hound hunting for wolves is, so that we as citizens might better understand it as a wildlife management tool and additionally understand the logistical complexities involved in enforcing hound hunting regulations and policing the hunt. It is hoped that our monitoring will neither confirm or refute claims, but simply present evidence that citizens could then use to educate themselves accurately. Any evidence obtained is free to be used by any individual or group.

During our November meeting with DNR officials, specific concern was expressed for the stage of hound hunting when a wolf is exhausted from pursuit by hounds. Hound hunting of bears, mountain lions or raccoons often ends with the pursued prey taking shelter in a tree. GLWP questioned DNR wardens about this stage of hound hunting for wolves, and were told that in such instances, the wolf could effectively protect itself. Mention was made of the many fatal conflicts between hunting hounds and wolves, but nothing was provided to assure us that hound hunters could control their hounds when far from their reach and in pursuit, or cornering a wolf.

Hound hunter checking for wolf tracks...

Hound hunter checking for wolf tracks…

Much of the time GLWP observed hound hunters in pursuit of wolves, their hounds were out of the reach of their control and often times, as is quite common, could not be easily located. Much is unknown about the hound hunting of wolves. Yet many speak of the potential for violent interactions between wolves and hunting hounds. Hence, the focus of our December monitoring of the hound hunt for wolves, was to determine whether hounds were indeed biting, attacking or killing wolves while free-roaming public lands in Zone 3 of the wolf hunt area. In the 2013 Wisconsin wolf hunt, 35 wolves were killed with the aid of dogs, all in Zone 3.

On 11/29/14, when GLWP began its patrols in Zone 3, the statewide wolf kill was 146 animals, with twenty-nine wolves reported killed in Zone 3 (with a total allowable quota of 40 wolves.) Wolf Patrol members began patrols, focusing our investigations on wolf hunting activities in the western portion of the zone, along the state border with Minnesota. The same areas where GLWP documented wolf trapping activities in October.

Wolf tracks seen by hound hunter...

Wolf tracks seen by hound hunter…

On 12/01/14, the hound hunt for wolves began with the statewide quota still at 146. The first two days saw sub-zero temperatures, which were not favorable for hunting hounds. Warmer temperatures beginning on 12/03/14 allowed for more favorable hound hunting conditions which resulted in two wolves being legally killed in Zone 3 during Wolf Patrol operations before the season ended on 12/05/14. Of the two wolves killed with the aid of dogs in Zone 3, only one was taken in the Polk County area where Wolf Patrol documented hound hunting for wolves.

Wolf Patrol monitored hound hunts on three separate occasions during the five-day hounding season, on December 2nd and 3rd, when we encountered two separate hound hunting parties in Polk and Burnett counties. On the morning of 12/02/14, patrol members documented wolf hunters operating near the northwestern border of Zone 3 and the state line of Minnesota, along the Burnett and Douglas county line. Two vehicles were involved in the hunt, one with Minnesota license plates. While no dogs were released during our observations, the search for wolf sign and tracks by the hunting vehicles took the hunters frequently across the state line into Minnesota, where a wolf hunting season in the state’s East-Central Zone was open. The monitored hunters were informed that they were being monitored by GLWP, and there were no further interactions during the short encounter when no wolves were pursued with hounds. Continue reading

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.


Postering at the Curtis Area Chamber of Commerce

Wolf Patrol’s First Encounter with Hunters Using Hounds to Hunt Wolves in Wisconsin…and Minnesota

Wolf Patrollers’ Stef & Matt’s Report from the Field…


Sunrise over Polk County, WI, while in pursuit of hounders in state forest.


Hound hunting trucks, Danbury, Wisconsin December 3, 2014

The second day of the hound hunt for wolves found us patrolling the far eastern portion of Zone 3, where it borders the state of Minnesota. This is also the area where we witnessed a lot of wolf trapping activity when the wolf hunting season first opened on October 15th. After filling up with gas and coffee at the town of Danbury, where hound hunters are known to converge, we headed north into public forest lands in the far northern portion of Burnett County. Leaving Highway 35, we saw an atypical hounding truck driving along the St. Croix River. We turned around and started following the truck, thinking that the small Geo Tracker had been modified to accommodate two hounding dogs.


First active hounders spotted on county forest land on the morning of 12/02. Hounds currently occupying boxes in back of vehicle, awaiting a fresh scent.

We followed the truck as it turned off Markville Road and crossed the state line into Minnesota where hunting with hounds is illegal. We could see hounds in the back as they began to stop periodically to check for fresh wolf tracks. After approximately 30 minutes of hunting alone, the Geo Tracker met up with another truck with Minnesota license plates. While Minnesota’s wolf hunting season was also open, the use of hounds to hunt wolves is illegal in the state.


Fresh wolf track found on 12/02.

After talking for ten minutes, the two vehicles parted, the one Minnesota truck passing us and giving us quite a look. We continued following the Geo Tracker as they continued to look for tracks, while hunting remained relatively uneventful. Over the next hour, the Geo Tracker re-connected with the Minnesota truck a number of times until eventually turning around and pulling up to our driver’s side window, wanting to talk.

Both hunters asked how and what we were doing out there, and we told them we were driving around, enjoying the forest. They then interrupted to ask us directly if we were Wolf Patrol. We immediately answered yes, and both hunters looked at each other and chuckled. “Have you seen any wolves out here?” asked the driver. “I don’t know you tell me?” we responded.

They then asked if we were having any luck finding wolf hunters and it was then our turn to chuckle. After wishing each other a good morning, the hunters drove off. Shortly thereafter, we lost the hunters as they left Minnesota and re-entered Zone 3 in Wisconsin.

The next day, December 03, pictures surfaced on Facebook of the Geo Tracker hound hunters with a wolf they had killed south of Clear Lake in Zone 6, the only other zone remaining open to wolf hunting. “Did you guys run into those assholes who’ve been following around the WI wolf hunters all season at all?” read one of the comments on the Facebook post, while another read, “Shoot a wolf you get (sic) a free Wolf Patrol member tag as well. Don’t forget to fill that one too lol nice kill guys. Keep shooting!”

Hound truck seen rendezvousing with friendly vehicle in the Polk County forest at various points during our monitoring.

Hound truck seen rendezvousing with friendly vehicle in the Polk County forest at various points during our monitoring.