Wisconsin Hounders Still Chasing Bears Across Highway 70…

Every Summer during Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training season, hounds are killed by both bears and wolves as they are taught to chase bears. In addition to the dangers faced while off the leash in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, bear hounds are routinely run their prey across busy highways such as HWY 70, which cuts through the northern portion of Forest County.

It’s time for both the Wisconsin DNR and the US Forest Service to reign in bear hunters and restrict and regulate the dangerous bear baiting and hound training practices associated with hunting bears in Wisconsin.

 

Chasing Bears & Hounds Across Highways is All a Part of Bear Hunting in Wisconsin…

Since this year’s training season began on July 1st, Wolf Patrol has seen hounders parked on Interstate 70 daily. In addition to the danger associated with running hounds through active wolf territory, bear hunters in Forest County also place bears, dogs and motorists at risk by allowing their dogs to chase bears across highways.

Anywhere else in the country, public land managers and wildlife officials would recognize the inherent risks associated with the intentional feeding bears, allowing unregulated hound training during peak wolf activity and hunting from busy highways.

But in Wisconsin, its all a part of the heritage of bear hunting and is continuing, despite the increase in conflicts its creating between bear hounds and federally protected gray wolves. Unlimited bear baiting, running hounds through summer wolf rendezvous sites, and chasing bears across highways should not be practices that are allowed in our national forests, where they place others also at risk.

Join Wolf Patrol in calling for an end to these practices in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and everywhere it causes conflicts between humans and wildlife!

Wolf Patrol Still Finding Bear Baits Out of Compliance in Forest County, Wisconsin

Today, Wolf Patrol continued to monitor bear baits less than the required distance from public roads and highways in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northern Wisconsin. Last month, we reported two of these sites to DNR wardens, but the sites remain intact. Wisconsin law dictates that bear baits be at least 50 yards from public roads, and a 100 yards from roads posted 45mph or more, such as is the case with one bait in question.

Yesterday, we spoke with the DNR’s supervising conservation officer for northern Wisconsin who assured us that he would be looking into the complaint, as well as assuring Wolf Patrol that we had the legal right to occupy a bear bait site where two of our trail cameras were stolen this week. Wolf Patrol has requested assistance from DNR conservation officers to reclaim the bait site in question, which we have been informed we have a legal right to occupy for our research purposes.

All bear baits recorded in this film are in Forest County and within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. These baits are also overlapping the territory of at least two known wolf packs. Each year, bear hounds are killed by wolves when released near bear baits that wolves also recognize as feeding sites.

In Wisconsin, anyone can bait for bears, with no license required, as long as the baits are used for hunting and not recreational purposes. An estimated 5 million gallons of human food waste, fryer grease and other unhealthy bait material is dumped with the intention of feeding bears in Wisconsin. There is also no limit to the number of bear baits an individual can operate on public and national forest lands in Wisconsin.

Throughout Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training, and 7-month baiting season, Wolf Patrol monitors will be recording gray wolf and other wildlife activity at bear baiting sites in known wolf territory. Our research will be used to lobby DNR and US Forest Service officials for greater oversight and regulation of bear hunting practices in federally protected gray wolf habitat.

Wisconsin Bear Hunters Continue Committing Crimes on Our National Forest Lands

Yesterday, Wolf Patrol citizen monitors documenting Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training, and 7 month bear baiting season returned to the site where a trail camera was stolen, only to discover that an additional research camera had been stolen from the location on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest lands. The second theft is just a small indicator of the degree of illegal activity that is tolerated by DNR officials, unwilling to enforce even the minimalist bear baiting regulations.

In addition to the theft of three trail cameras, bear hunters in Forest County are illegally baiting too close to roads and intentionally leaving their bait exposed to other animals, including deer and wolves. One theory behind the illegal practice of leaving bear bait accessible to other animals, is that Wisconsin hound hunters know that if a wolf is attracted to their bait, following deer or other prey, it might kill a young inexperienced bear hound, making the hunter eligible for up to $2,500.00 in compensation from the state’s Endangered Species Fund.

Not only is it illegally to remove someone’s (Wolf Patrol’s) trail camera from an occupied bear bait, its also illegal to have your bait accessible to other animals, especially deer. In our first month of investigations into illegal bear hunting practices in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, we have identified multiple illegal bear baits and had three of our trail cameras stolen by bear baiters.

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Illegal activity committed by bear hunters in our national forests is a chronic problem in northern Wisconsin, and the USFS and DNR are complacent in addressing the problems caused by the politically powerfully pro-hunting lobby in Wisconsin. Bear hound training and baiting should be banned in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest!

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Forest County Sheriff deputy investigating trail camera theft July 2, 2018.

Wolf Patrol will continue monitoring bear hunting practices in Forest County, Wisconsin throughout the bear hound training season, which runs until the end of August. In September, Wolf Patrol will return to the area to monitor the black bear kill season. Wisconsin conducts the largest black bear hunt in the nation, with an expected kill quota of almost 5,000 animals, more than are killed in any other state including Alaska.

Forest County Authorities Investigating Bear Hunter Theft of Wolf Patrol Trail Cameras

On July 1st, bear hound training season began in northern Wisconsin. Wolf Patrol is continuing their citizen monitoring of bear hunting activities in known wolf areas where conflicts have been known to occur. On June 2nd, Wolf Patrol began monitoring bear baits in Forest County, in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Our focus is on baiting activity that attracts wolves, although we are reporting suspected violations of Wisconsin’s bear baiting regulations in the same area. Sometime in late June, a WP trail camera was stolen from a bear bait located 75 yards from Highway 55 on national forest lands. On July 1st, another trail camera was stolen from a WP bear bait, and on July 2nd, a third camera was stolen from the very same site.

For too long, bear hunters in Wisconsin have been allowed to place an unlimited number of bear baits within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest from mid-April until October. A recent DNR study found in the CNNF, more than one third of a wild black bears diet consists of human food waste used as bear bait. Now these baiting practices, including the two-month long hound training season are causing conflicts between federally protected wolves and dogs loosed in their territory in July and August. Many are killed as wolves defend their young from bear hound trespass.

Wolf Patrol will continue its monitoring campaign in Forest County throughout the summer and into the kill season, which begins in September. As long as criminal behavior within the bear hunting community continues, so will Wolf Patrol’s campaign in Forest County, Wisconsin and other regions of our national forest lands where it occurs.

The theft of Wolf Patrol’s research cameras has been reported to County, state and federal authorities and unless they are returned immediately, we will pursue criminal charges against those responsible. Theft and other violations of Wisconsin’s wildlife laws on public lands is a crime against everyone, and reflects negatively on the entire bear hunting community. Such behavior should not be tolerated on national forest lands.

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July 1, 2018 Adult wolf and pup tracks near bear bait reported to DNR.

For Coyote Hunters, Another Season of Wanton Waste of Life

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A Pennsylvania hound hunter’s tradition, published on Facebook in April 2018.

This April marked the end of another coyote hunting season with hounds in Wisconsin and in other states like Pennsylvania, where there is no closed season or bag limit for coyotes. The use of hounds to hunt coyotes has become a cruel and abusive sport in most of the midwestern and eastern states where multiple hound trucks with GPS collared dogs run down coyotes. A search on YouTube or Facebook will easily lead you to public graphic videos of hunting hounds tearing into exhausted coyotes. No where else has this kind of hunting been more graphically represented on social media than in Wisconsin, Michigan and this winter, in Pennsylvania.

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A Pennsylvania coyote moments before being mauled and killed by hounds in January 2018.

The following is some of the evidence Wolf Patrol uncovered on social media of the wanton waste and abuse that is a part of all coyote hunting with hounds, in every state where it is allowed. And although the videos in this post were filmed in Pennsylvania, every coyote hound hunter knows this kind of hounding activity happens in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and other states as well.


Hunting coyotes with hounds is a sport many hound hunters participate in during the winter months when hunting seasons for bear and other animals are closed. But unlike black bears who can climb trees to avoid physical attack by packs of pursuing hunting dogs, coyotes are often cornered, captured and mauled. Some hound hunters will even wound an exhausted coyote and allow hounds to tear into the animal, some of these dogs become better “killdogs” while others are best at simply following their prey’s trail.

In many states like Pennsylvania and Illinois, it is legal for hunting dogs to kill prey, but in Wisconsin it is not legal for dogs to maul, attack or kill coyotes or other wildlife as is depicted in these and dozens of other videos Wolf Patrol has found on hound hunter’s own Facebook pages.


In January 2018, while investigating coyote hound hunters in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northern Wisconsin, members of Wolf Patrol were surrounded and detained by a large coyote hunting party unhappy with their hound hunting being documented by Wolf Patrol. While investigating members of the hunting party, we discovered that some were allowing their dogs to illegally kill coyotes with their dogs. Following the January incident, Wolf Patrol continued investigating suspected hound hunting abuses and publishing the evidence we discovered on of illegal hunting activities in Wisconsin and other states.


In March 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Regional Warden Supervisor for northern Wisconsin contacted Wolf Patrol to inform us that a criminal investigation was being launched into the illegal hound hunting activities published by Wisconsin hunters on social media. Later that month, WDNR Chief Warden Todd Schaller called Wolf Patrol to update us on their investigation into the abuses we were exposing and tell us of criminal charges being brought against Wisconsin hunter Jason Armbruster, whose photos of his dogs attacking raccoons had been reported to WDNR previous to being publicized by Wolf Patrol.


Unfortunately, the painful injuries inflicted on coyotes and other wildlife by hunting dogs is encouraged, rewarded, and applauded by “houndsmen.”  In a sport that trains packs of dogs to run together, chase after, fight, and draw blood, this is an inevitable outcome. Not only do coyotes suffer, but often the hounds themselves are severely injured by bears and coyotes and sometimes outright killed in an attempt to please their owners. In states such as Wisconsin, wolves which are encountered by packs of barking hunting hounds will often turn the tables and get the best of the hounds they are trying to outrun or in an attempt to protect their territories and families.

Resident and non-resident hound hunters who have hunting hounds killed by wolves in the state of Wisconsin are routinely compensated up to $2,500 for their careless loss, with most of the money coming out of the state’s Endangered Species Fund.

BLOODY HOUND

Coyote hunting “kill dog” injured in fight with coyote, January 2018.

States like Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas know of the inherent cruelty involved in hunting coyotes, raccoons and fox with hounds, so its legal in those states to allow hunting dogs to fight with coyotes every winter, when there’s nothing else to legally kill. Hunting hounds tearing into coyotes in Wisconsin is a crime that Wolf Patrol will continue to investigate and report.

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May 2018 Facebook post advertising coyote hunting dogs.

In April 2018, Wolf Patrol’s Wildlife Crimes Unit announced the launch of a new reward program that offers to pay $1000 for evidence of illegal hound hunting activities in Wisconsin that led to any conviction. The program is meant to encourage ethical hunters to report others they know of who allow their hounds to illegally kill coyotes or other wildlife. Your identity will be protected, and if your tip leads to a conviction, you will receive $1000, no questions asked.

100 COYOTES 3.17.18

This one group of coyote hound hunters in Pennsylvania were responsible for killing 114 coyotes during winter 2017-18. Here they celebrate their 100th.

Wolf Patrol is pleased to know that WDNR conservation officers are investigating illegal hound hunting activities in Wisconsin, but much more needs to be done. While hounders like Armbruster have been charged, according to Chief Warden Schaller, others whose illegal activities we highlighted, were only contacted and given warnings, as most of the evidence against other hounders was too old to act on. Still, Wolf Patrol appreciates WDNR wardens reminding hound hunters that it is illegal to allow your dogs to maul or kill coyotes and other wildlife.

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One of the Wisconsin hound hunters encountered by Wolf Patrol in January 2018, broadcasting her illegal animal cruelty to friends on Facebook.

 

In May 2018, Wolf Patrol members investigated a large pile of coyote carcasses dumped in the Ashland County portion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The pile was not unlike many others discovered when snows melt each Spring, revealing the carnage left behind by hound hunters who only want to kill, but not make use of any part of the animal. Over 30 coyote carcasses were found, many with shotgun wounds consistent with hound hunters, not trappers or predator callers.

WDNR & USFS investigated the dumping on national forest lands, but indicate that although unethical, it is legal to kill an unlimited number of coyotes, and later dump the bodies in a legal fashion. Investigators told Wolf Patrol that at the most, its a case of illegal dumping, because the carcasses weren’t spread out in a way that they could decompose more easily. Mange has been reported in many coyotes in the area, so investigators surmise that might explain why the coyotes were not skinned in this particular carcass pile.

Because both WDNR & USFS investigators have indicated that they would still like to know who is responsible for the coyote dumping which they say was first reported months ago, Wolf Patrol is offering a $500 REWARD for information that leads WDNR and/or USFS investigators to whoever dumped the coyotes on US Forest Service lands.

Wisconsin state law prohibits the wanton waste of wildlife, but the law is broadly defined, and it must be proven in court, that the intent of an activity was actually to destroy or waste wildlife or any other state natural resource. Still, according to a WDNR conservation officer interviewed about Wisconsin’s wanton waste laws on the hunting site, HuntTheNorth.com:

“…those who are just to lazy to clean their game and allow there harvest to go bad, or those who had no intention of eating or utilizing the game they harvested in the first place, those people have no business participating in the outdoor traditions many of us have grown to cherish so much. We as hunters and fisherman have a moral obligation to make sure that the game we harvest goes to good use and to make sure that it does not end up in a dumpster somewhere rotting away.”

Wanton Waste Laws- What Do They Mean and Why Do They Exist?
An Interview with a Wisconsin DNR warden by a pro-hunting organization:

http://www.huntthenorth.com/wantonwaste.html

Attention Ex-Wives & Girlfriends of Wisconsin Hound Hunters! Wolf Patrol will pay $1000 for Videos of Your Ex’s Hunting Violations!

In February 2018, Wolf Patrol began a campaign targeting Wisconsin hound hunters whose own videos published on Facebook depict graphic and illegal animal cruelty, which has led to a Department of Natural Resources criminal investigation. We are now soliciting the public for other video and photographic evidence of animal cruelty committed against Wisconsin’s wildlife over the last three years.

Wolf Patrol will pay $1,000 for any video or photograph depicting Wisconsin hound hunters engaged in illegal activity, such as allowing hounds to maul and kill coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. If the video or photos you provide result in a criminal conviction, you will then receive your $1,000. Only videos not previously reported will receive a reward and you may remain anonymous.

Wolf Patrol is not an anti-hunting organization, but we are opposed to the animal cruelty committed by some hunters using hounds to hunt coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife. Allowing hunting dogs to maim, injure or kill animals is illegal and should be reported by any ethical hunter or citizen. We don’t care who you are, if you have evidence of someone using their hunting dogs in Wisconsin in an illegal fashion, we will pay you $1000 for the evidence when it results in any citation or criminal charge.

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Jason Armbruster’s own Facebook posts in 2017 led authorities to charge him with ten felony counts for animal cruelty and fighting.

To make a claim, please contact Wolf Patrol:

teamwolfpatrol@gmail.com

On Facebook: Wolf Patrol

This reward program is not endorsed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or its affiliated agents or other law enforcement agencies.