VIDEO: Citizen tip leads to hound hunters on private lands

This morning Wolf Patrol began its day by responding to a complaint by a Bayfield County resident who reported hound hunters in the area who were running their dogs on private land. We do not know if these particular individuals have permission to hunt on land clearly posted with “No Trespassing” signs, but once they knew they were being documented, they were very determined to retrieve their hounds from the private land. As this video demonstrates, all individuals present were courteous and respectful. Part Two of this video will illustrate the difficulty hound hunters face when trying to control their free-roaming dogs.

The video below shows hound hunters in Bayfield County trying to gain control of two hounds that were running on private lands. Wolf Patrol does not know whether they had permission to be on these lands that were clearly posted, “No Trespassing.” Our point is that even these experienced houndsmen’s were having difficulty controlling their dogs.

The following video documents the hound hunter we encountered this morning driving illegally on a road closed to motor-vehicle access in the Chippewa West Unit of Heartwood Forestland Group property in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. It has been turned over to the appropriate authorities.

VIDEO: Bear Bait in Wolf Caution Area of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

On September 9, opening day of Wisconsin’s bear hunt, Wolf Patrol members heard wolves howling in the immediate vicinity of this bear bait. Three days later, two hounds were killed by wolves not far from it. Our investigations show that black bear are not the only animals getting habituated to artificial feeding sites, but wolves, deer, raven, raccoon and other wildlife also feed from this sites, something that is supposed to be illegal, but is virtually impossible to enforce when there are so many bait sites. The bait is meant to be covered up with something that only a bear can move, but as soon as the bear has gained access to the bait, it’s open for any other passing animal to eat from.


VIDEO: Day 4 of the campaign to end bear baiting & hound hunting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Yesterday morning while on patrol in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, bear hounders responded to Wolf Patrol’s presence by initiating a verbal confrontation which ended with their calling the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department. The deputy questioning us regarding our monitoring activities indicated that none of our activities were in violation of hunter harassment statutes in the state of Wisconsin, and advised us to notify the department if we witnessed any illegal activity from bear hunters during our campaign.

Wolf Patrol would like to thank the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department for recognizing our right to continue monitoring the atrocious practice of bear baiting and hound hunting on public lands in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Our campaign to end bear baiting and hound hunting in the CNF today led to 12 hound trucks, three sheriff’s cruisers, two bear baiter ATVs, and a DNR warden all recognizing (some less willing than others) that in this country, no consent is required to film on public lands; that our national forests belong to everyone, not just bear hunters; and that every citizen has a right to monitor activities that negatively impact wildlife on public lands. This Fall’s bear hunt monitoring project will culminate on September 26th as we celebrate National Public Lands Day in the Moquah Barrens. The public is welcome to join us.

If you believe the intentional feeding of bears to later kill them after running them down with dogs should be illegal in your national forests, please send your comments to the Forest Supervisor by Sept. 30th!

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!