Would Wisconsin Compensate “Old Dan” From “Where The Red Fern Grows”?

I was taken aback to learn how many hunting dogs were compensated for in Wisconsin due to being killed by wolves–while hunting bears.

Yes, I am serious.

But Sinderbrand said Wisconsin’s payments to hunters who have lost dogs to  wolves during the bear hunting season show otherwise. He said that between 1985,  when wolf depredation claims were first paid, and 2011, the state has paid  claims on 195 dogs killed by wolves either while hunting bears or training for the bear hunt.

This is plain ridiculous.

What is next?

Getting state compensation for my canoe that hits rocks while in the Crystal River?

It would seem to me that hunters are making a choice as to 1) owning hunting dogs, and 2) using them in a fashion that may place them in danger.  While using dogs to tree a bear, in my estimation is unethical, it is at the end of the day a decision made by the hunter.  Any injury to the dog should not, in any way, be the responsibility of the state to remedy.


I understand that there has been much controversy over the years concerning the DNR decision to expand the wolf population in the state.  One way to temper the outrage was to allow for those who suffered ‘losses’ to be reimbursed from a fund that comes from purchasing endangered resources license plates for their cars.  I supported the DNR in both instances.

But I find it laughable that hunters who go out with the mission to kill a bear would bitch and complain if one of their hunting dogs was maimed or killed by a wolf during the hunt.  Might hunting bear without dogs be a more sportsmanlike and competitive undertaking?  Or is the slaughter of an animal the only thing that matters?

I do not support the bear hunt season in Wisconsin. I oppose the wolf hunt season, and am glad there is a loud discussion about the use of dogs concerning the latter.  I trust the judge will make an ethical ruling this week.

But at the end of the day I am not interested in having hunters compensated for the results of what they do with their dogs.  That is something they need to reckon with their moral compass, not the state treasury.

3 thoughts on “Would Wisconsin Compensate “Old Dan” From “Where The Red Fern Grows”?

  1. CommonCents

    Amen! And, I bet that most of the people who think the government should provide such subsidies, also think that government is too big and taxes are too high!! So, much for individual responsibility.

  2. dave

    The biggest difference between when wolves were recovering and today is that we’ve lost virtually all of our national forest roadless areas in Wisconsin. The U.S. forest (dis)service has punched roads and clearcuts into more than 20 roadless areas that existed back in the early 1980s. The loss of these roadless areas means that the security habitat that existed for wolves is now open to the losers who need to kill a wolf to make them feel like men (or women). The result, wolves will not recover while there is a hunt without security habitat.

    There was no science behind the decision to start a wolf hunt. But the lack of facts never stopped a repug, has it?

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