Time To Strike Out Wisconsin DNR Funding For Hunters’ Dogs Killed By Wolves

My Republican friends often ask me where I would make cuts in government spending.  There seems to be a belief that liberals only want to spend more, and never trim back government programs.  While I think in large part there needs to be a reordering of our priorities when it comes to our state budget I am also aware there are times when it is totally prudent to just cut out a program.

Such is the case with paying hunters in Wisconsin when a wolf kills a hunting dog.

The front page of the Wisconsin State Journal, thanks to the work of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, was must reading Sunday when a large story took the reader inside the controversial notion that we should compensate the owners of dogs killed by wolves while hunting bears, and other animals.  I was even more astounded when it was reported that a “ total of $19,000 in payments (were paid) after they were convicted of crimes or paid forfeitures for hunting or firearms-related offenses”.    When one of those, Josh Schlosser of Oconto who received money, was contacted for the story he became upset that the matter was making headlines.

Schlosser, by the way, had a 2009 misdemeanor conviction for killing a bear without a license and was fined $2,108.  In addition his DNR hunting privileges were revoked for three years. Still he filed a claim seeking $4,500 for the death of a hound in 2011, and the state paid him the maximum $2,500.

If there is to be any upset feelings from the story it should be coming from the residents of the state who are coming to better understand what is really taking place with these DNR funds.

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 and unseemly, it is at the end of the day a decision now allowed to be made by the hunter, though I would like to see it prohibited by law. Therefore any injury to the dog who is taken out into the wilderness to hunt  should not, in any way, be the responsibility of the state to remedy.


I understand there has been much controversy over the years concerning the DNR decision to expand the wolf population in the state.  One way to temper that 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 of those instances.  In the past year the funds to pay for this program has originated with the state’s wolf-hunt application and license fees.

But I find it unacceptable 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?

The newspaper story points out a very disturbing fact that should unite everyone around the need to eliminate the program.  The DNR program approved more than $80,000 in payments to repeat claimants, meaning those who put dogs in successive situations where they were killed by wolves.

I am fully aware the DNR monies for this matter are small, and one can argue even trivial in the larger context of state issues.  But this issue should concern us based on two ethical perspectives.  The first being the use of dogs to hunt animals such as bears, and then the payment of monies to those who have violated state hunting or firearms laws.

This should be one of those times when both ends of the political spectrum meet and agree to act and strike away the ability of the DNR to pay for such total contrived nonsense.  No other state compensates owners for hunting dogs killed by wolves, and Wisconsin should end the practice this year.

Finally, and once again, Caffeinated Politics thanks the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism for a job well done.

Newborn Panda Oh So Cute

Want some good news?


The giant panda cub at Washington’s National Zoo appears to be in excellent health, zookeepers reported after a 10-minute physical exam Sunday morning.

The panda, born Friday afternoon, weighs 4.8 ounces, is pink with white fur and wriggled and squealed loudly when it was taken away from its mother, zoo officials said.

A second cub was stillborn Saturday night, but zookeepers were still overjoyed at the prospect of one healthy cub given that pandas are critically endangered and breeding them in captivity has proved difficult, especially in Washington.

Giant Panda Cub Dies At National Zoo

The this past week there was much joy at the National Zoo over the birth of a giant panda cub.

Today there is sadness as the cub died.

The zoo said keepers heard “distressed vocalizations” from the female giant panda, Mei Xiang, at about 9:17 a.m. Sunday, and realized “this is not right, this is not good,” said zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson.

The staff realized they had stopped hearing the cub’s healthy squealing, and managed to retrieve the cub from the den with a set of cushioned grabbers. Zoo veterinarians tried CPR on the cub, but the the animal could not be revived.

The cub was born almost exactly a week ago, at 10:46 p.m. last Sunday, to jubilation across the city.

It was the first giant panda cub born at the zoo since 2005.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin Takes On Four Black Bears

What a great story.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin rarely backs away from a fight, but he had to beat a hasty retreat Wednesday night when he found himself outnumbered by four black bears that were feasting on bird feeders in the backyard of his Montpelier home.

“I had a tough night,” Shumlin said in jest to Valley News editors and reporters at the start of an editorial board meeting yesterday.

The 56-year-old Vermont native said he had returned to his house in the state capital around 10:30 p.m. and went to bed. The rental home, located in a suburban neighborhood about a 10-minute walk to the Statehouse, backs onto a field and woods. “I hear something banging on the porch, and I’ve just fallen asleep, and I look out at this tree… and there are four bears on my bird feeders,” said Shumlin, who said they included a sow and two cubs.

“I yell at them through the window, they run away, and come right back,” Shumlin said.
Barefoot and straight out of bed, the first-term Democrat said he was intent on rescuing his bird feeders.

“First, I scare them away, and they keep coming back,” Shumlin said of the bears.

“So I go out and grab two of the feeders, run back into the house, then they come back, they knock the suet out, then knock the big feeder down, and they are going at it,” said Shumlin, who also showed a short video he made of the encounter on his smart phone.

Shumlin said he went outside again, and found a bear more aggressive then he expected.

“The (bear) charges me on the porch – I’m tearing through the door. You almost lost the governor,” Shumlin joked. “Security was not there. I was within three feet of getting ‘arrrh.’ “

Thrill-Hunting Of Black Bears Backfires In Montana, Nevada Man Dead

I am sure that the hunting party involved in this incident were planning to use all the meat from the bear they were hunting.  I am sure they are going to use the skin for clothing, and some of the internal organs for medicinal purposes like Native Americans once did.


I am sure that these guys were not out solely for the joy of killing a black bear–a most magnificent animal. 


The hunted, became the hunter.  No tears to be shed over this story–except for the bear.

No one can blame the bear.  He did not come after the man until the most savage human instincts provoked the bear.

It should be noted that these hunters killed a protected  bear. A struggling population of fewer than 30 grizzly bears, which are listed as threatened in the Lower 48 states under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, roam the mountain forests of northeastern Idaho and northwestern Montana.

 A grizzly bear attacked and killed a Nevada man whose friend moments earlier had shot and wounded the animal during a hunting trip in northwest Montana, authorities said on Saturday.

Steve Stevenson, 39, of Winnemucca, Nevada, died of injuries he sustained in the mauling by the grizzly on Friday, said Brent Faulkner, undersheriff with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Montana. After the attack, the bear was shot and killed by Ty Bell, 20, also of Winnemucca.

The two men had paired off as part of a four-man hunting party seeking black bears in the rugged Purcell Mountains where Idaho and Montana border British Columbia.

On Friday morning, Bell mistook a young male grizzly as his quarry and shot the bear, (the guy with the gun was shooting at something he was not sure of!) which sought refuge in a wooded area, Faulkner said.

The two men tracked the wounded bear, which attacked Stevenson before being shot multiple times by Bell.

More Than A Bird At The Feeder

Clare, a friend in Pennsylvania sent this note via email.   I would love to have seen this sight!

I have added a new species to my bird feeder area. Last Thursday night I heard one of my bird feeders fall off the post – at least that is what I thought. My cat jumped out of my lap and looked puzzled to say the least.  Usually the cat runs to the window(s) to see what is outside – cats, raccoons, possums etc., But this time he did not run to a window for a look. 

I got out of the recliner and turned on an outside light but could not see my feeders. So I got a flashlight and looked out my office widow. Sitting there on the ground without a care in the world was a Black Bear eating the sunflower seed from the fallen feeder. I estimate that it weighed 200#. I chased it off with a warning shot over its back as it left my yard from my .410 shotgun. I was glad to be able to see a bear on my farm but do not want it around every night. 

I hope it does not return for the  food at my feeders. Bears have a tendency of not forgetting where the free food is and come back time and again. If that happens I will have to do something I will not like to do and that is take all my feeders in each night and hang them up again each morning.

Pictures Of Why We All Loved Knut

Everyone has been sad these past days about the death of, Knut, the famous polar bear at the Berlin Zoo.  He was only four years old and died from what preliminary results of the autopsy show as a “brain disease”, but the results of tests won’t be known for several days.

I think these pictures of the bear we all loved is a most remarkable collection and a great way to remember him.

What Motivates And Guides Caffeinated Politics?

I was reminded this past week that with over 2,500 posts on this blog, there are some over-riding themes and principles that are repeated over and over.  I thought it might be fun to think of the guiding issues and principles found on this blog, and write them down.

…. The process of governing is more important than the politics of any issue.  In addition a  fair and orderly atmosphere both in electing officals, and creating legislation is required to insure a fair and equal playing field.

….Campaign money, and the ever-consuming need for more and more of it,  pollutes the political process, and undermines the enactment of sound public policy.

…. The Supreme Court (both state and national) requires the highest and most ethical standards applied to applicants.  In the states, it is more appropriate to appoint justices through the merit selection process than to have elections for the judiciary.

…. Drunk driving is a most troubling  problem that will require tough-minded legislators being more interested in doing what is right, than  carrying alcohol for the Tavern League.

…. Tough anti-smoking laws are just common sense.

…. Going with principle (Dubai deal) is more important than following the prevailing political mood.

…. Torture is wrong, and spawns more terrorists while undermining a nation’s moral code.

…. Darfur needs the world.  Sadly, history will severely judge the  majorityfor not caring.

…. Preventive wars are a waste  of a nation’s  treasured resources.

….Israel needs to stop the illegal settlement policy, and Palestinians should have, must have, and will have a homeland to call their own.  When it comes to Israel the tail must stop wagging the dog.

….Polar bears are needing us to care more about them, and to reach an understanding about the need to address climate change.

…. Gun control is needed to insure the safety of the citizenry.  Strict regulations on the manufacture, sale, registration, and usage is the means for a safer nation.

…. Marriage matters, for all.   Period.

…. Cheating on a partner, married or otherwise, is smarmy and wrong.  Getting preachy about this issue is still OK.

…. Books are some of our best friends.

…. Just because a singer is older does not mean that they have less value or creative ability.

…. History is in need of more study and understanding, not only in our schools, but also with the average citizen of this nation.

….Never underestimate the lack of humor from Mormons.

…. Never underestimate the damage one Bishop (Molrino) can cause.

…. When it looks like it is a slow news day check in on the antics of Sarah Palin and the Clampetts of Palinland.

…. Newspapers are the foundation for long-form investigative reporting, and an essential ingredient to democracy.

….Journalists are as vital to the nations democracy and well being as our soldiers, sailors. and air force.

….Radio and TV personalities should be considered guests in our house, and when they offend should be rejected from our premises. 

…. Elvis is still The King.

…. So is Roy Acuff.

…. The Grand Ole Opry is a national treasure, and true slice of Americana.