Saturday, November 1, 2014

Is WI’s Wolf Hunt Responsible for the Death of More Wolves Than is Being Reported?

By Rachel Tilseth
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(Wolf pup photograph property of Jim and Jamie Dutcher)

WI’s third controversial wolf hunt is in its 18th day and 124 wolves have been killed as of November 1, 2014. In the first few days wolf hunters exceeded quotas (zone 1 over by 4 and zone 2 over by 14). According to David MacFarland, WDNR carnivore specialist, they did not expect this high rate of harvest so quickly and in the first week( to paraphrase). Further, he said decisions on how to compensate for the overages are up to WDNR administration.

Will Stepp honor the 150 wolf kill quota or allow wolf management zones 3 and 6 to fill their kill quotas?

Regarding the concern of wolf kill quotas being exceeded, Melissa Tedreowe of the Huame Society of the United States, WI state representative, told this blogger in an email this week, that: “You asked for an update on our efforts. In brief, last week we sent a letter to Sec. Stepp asking her and the DNR, expressing our concerns about the speed and quota overruns of this year’s hunt. We asked for three emergency measures that would safeguard the 150 statewide quota. ”
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(Image is property of the Humane Society of the United States)

This effort by HSUS on behalf of WI’s wild wolves is appreciated. Tedrowe further stated that: “In addition, the HSUS is still working on the litigation challenging the entire Great Lakes delisting rule; we hope to get a decision soon.”

So what is going on with this litigation challenging the the entire Great Lakes delisting rule?
From HSUS website: “February 2013 – Wildlife protection groups, including The HSUS, file suit against the USFWS over its decision to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act from gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region.” http://m.humanesociety.org/animals/wolves/facts/faq_gray_wolf.html

With WI in it’s third wolf hunt, this challenge takes on new urgency as scientists have sent not one but two letters to USFWS because WDNR has ignored scientific evidence, read second letter: here http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/wi-some-scientists-want-wisconsins-wolves-relisted-as-endangered/

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for relisting WI’s wild wolves and here are more details from HSUS website regarding the litigation that challenges the Great Lakes Delisting Rule:
“In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed hundreds of Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. “This decision rolls back the only line of defense for wolf populations, and paves the way for the same state-sponsored eradication policies that pushed this species to the brink of extinction in the first place.” http://m.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2013/02/wildlife-protection-groups-great-lakes-wolves-suit-021213.html?credit=web_id86098878

This blogger agrees wholeheartedly with the statement that, “This decision rolls back the only line of defense for wolf populations, and paves the way for the same state-sponsored eradication policies that pushed this species to the brink of extinction in the first place.”

It is a stark reality that WDNR, a state agency in charge of caring for our precious natural resources, has given in to the the whims of fringe hunters. Stepp admitted that she booted wolf advocacy organizations from her Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee, read more here: http://www.wpr.org/dnr-secretary-confirms-wolf-hunt-opponents-were-removed-advisory-committee
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(Photograph is property of Jim Brandenburg photography)

There is more disparaging news for WI’s wild wolves. Speculation has it that poaching of wolves is on the rise as wolf hater, Ted Nugent (an extremist hunter) calls for WI hunters to kill more wolves than the established quota. Read more here: http://wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com/2014/10/23/wi-third-wolf-hunt-a-debauchery-excessive-indulgence-of-over-killing/
I decided to check into poaching of wolves and contacted WDNR as well as sending out an email asking for wolf poaching data.

The first thing I learned is that WDNR enforcement doesn’t use the term “poaching” because it is considered a slang term. They are comfortable with using the term “illegal kill.”
With that formality dealt with, this blogger was able to get the illegal wolf kill numbers from the WDNR large carnivore specialist David Macfarland.

Here is what was sent to me through an email from MacFarland: “Here is the data you requested: We report our data to the USFWS by the monitoring year which is April 15th – April 14th. For the 2012-13 monitoring year we detected 21 illegally killed wolves, in the 2013-14 monitoring year we detected 15.”

This data confirms that there are 15 more wolf kills caused by poachers this year making it an urgent matter to halt this wolf killing season, yet Stepp continues the tactic of stonewalling.
Meanwhile, infamous wolf hunting social media sites call for hunters to use the method of poaching wolves called, “shoot, shovel and shut up.”

I contacted a fellow blogger James Rowen, The Political Environment, on this wolf poaching concern and he sent me this blog from last year: http://thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/2013/02/details-on-20-illegal-wolf-kills.html confirming all of this “illegal Killing” of wolves that was occurring last year.
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(Photograph is from Ted Nugent’s FB page where he openly states, “Wolf jackets ROCK!!!”)

It is difficult to pin down the exact cause of death according to MacFarland, because of several factors such as: decomposed wolf carcasses, wolves killed when struck by motor vehicles, and other factors. (To Paraphrase)

Will We ever know the true percentage of illegally killed wolves?

It is a shame that state agencies like our WDNR are politically driven to use wild wolves as a bargaining chip between hunting interests and lobbyists that are intent on managing wolves through recreational trophy hunts.

Essentially all this politically driven wolf management is contrary to the vital roles wolves play in our environment, considering the scientific data that we’ve acquired since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?autoplay=1&v=ysa5OBhXz-Q How Wolves Changed Rivers video.
We impatiently await the decision on litigation challenging the entire the Great Lakes delisting rule.

source

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