“These people think Little Red Riding Hood was a documentary.” — Alice Miller
The Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board have a new target on wolves of 275, up from 201 last year. DNR’s objective: To “begin” to reduce the population. Licenses to be sold: 10 times the quota or 2,750. With 117 wolves killed in the trophy hunt, 76 killed for depredation, 24 reported killed on the roads, 22 detected illegal kills, and five other miscellaneous mortalities, the DNR reports 244 wolves were killed last year. With a 70 percent pup mortality rate, miraculously DNR reports that the wolf population is almost the same as it was before the first “successful season.” Of course, these new wolf hunter volunteer trackers serve their own agenda.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Green Bay gives a conservative estimate of the “shoot, shovel and shut up” illegal kill of wolves as 100 annually. There likely were 350 wolves killed last year.
Science does not support this crime but only you can save the imperiled wolf. A Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Humane Society established that 81 percent of Wisconsinites do not want wolves hunted, and 87 percent opposed using traps, bait, and packs of dogs to kill wolves.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, told me that if 10 people contact a legislator on an issue, that is a red flag. The DNR disclosed that 1,439 Wisconsin citizens wrote in to protest against the slaughter of our wolves. Zero wrote in to support the wolf hunt.
William Bruins, a Walker-appointee dairy farmer, announced at the recent Natural Resources Board meeting in Wausau, “God created homo sapiens to be in charge.”
Alice Miller, who drove several hundred miles to attend the meeting, said, “This is supposed to be about science, not some board member’s religion.” A board member told Miller that she had to vote for the quota “or Scott Walker would shut down the board.”
Cory Gierhart, Eau Claire, a self-described avid hunter, contributed: “I hear from lots of individuals who are pro-wolf hunting that hunting and killing wolves is necessary to keep the deer population up. According to the DNR website wolves consume about 16,000 deer annually, while cars alone hit 27,000, and humans shoot 340,000 deer annually. By decreasing the number of wolves, the number of sick and diseased deer increase, weakening the herd.” (CWD is on the rise alarmingly fast.) Working from federal carrying capacity models, he reckoned the realistic carrying capacity for the wolf in Wisconsin as 1,236. “Rather than allow the killing of such an important and beautiful animal, I believe it would be more beneficial to allow the wolf population to grow on its own, and let it level off naturally. … Give farmers better aid for fencing rather than aid for dead livestock.”
Sue McKean, Madison: “I am willing to pay the DNR up to $3,000 a year to stop the hunt and wonder how many others would as well?”
At least four organizations opposed the hunt and high quota, including Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic and the Wisconsin Wolf Front. The latter has conducted a poll canvassing six counties and 6,000 citizens, with 94 percent against using dogs on wolves.
The Sierra Club deplored the complete bias of the Wolf Advisory Committee, stacked with hunters, trappers and bear hounders. The Sierra Club was denied participation in the committee despite its stakeholder status since inception.
James T. Wronka, Shawano, a conservative Republican, wrote: “I have great difficulty in pulling the levers in support of my party, who certainly do not represent conservation.” He added: “Unfortunately we still have a very small percentage of people who still get entertainment out of killing our children’s wildlife. Our whole lake community’s peaceful tranquility gets ruined every autumn by 2-4 hunters (it’s hard to call these people hunters with their modern equipment) …from sunrise to sunset their entertainment ruins a beautiful morning … with their replication of being in the war zones of the Middle East. All for a pound of feathers. … Yet this small minority get the backing of a small minority of people most of us would think would be on the side of wildlife, our DNR. We’ve tried talking with DNR and state government elected officials to see if the majority could overrule the rights of this minority population, but to no avail.”
The first hunt has not been fully evaluated and many unanswered questions remain. We don’t know the ages of the wolves killed or how the hunting/trapping season affected pack dynamics. Did depredations increase because of pack disruption? There were 1,439 citizens against, zero for a hunt, yet the DNR is pushing forward with a more aggressive second hunt.
There is a clamor for Natural Resources Board members to have the integrity to resign.
Luann O’Dell: “These meetings for the public to come and speak are just a cover-up. They don’t mean anything. … I can’t believe that we have to stand up there and try to protect our wildlife from the DNR.”
Kurt Schlapper, Brooklyn: “Please let the wolves raise their pups and families in peace as we should have the right to do also. No life is above another, we are all equal in the eyes of God.”
But we are not all equal in the eyes of the Natural Resources Board, Legislature and DNR playing God.
Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. firstname.lastname@example.org or www.wiwildlifeethic.org