Wisconsin Wolves Need Protection With Endangered Species Act

This letter appeared in the Wall Street Journal today and is most worthy of a read–if you care for facts about wolves in Wisconsin.

Regarding Cori Petersen’s “Wolves Attack Wisconsin With Washington’s Help” (Cross Country, July 28): The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) own statistics show that even with the continuing recovery of the state’s wolf population, the confirmed instances of wolves preying on livestock decreased 29% in 2016-17 from 2015-16, and decreased again in 2017-18. Nonlethal prevention is more effective, and scientific studies overwhelmingly demonstrate that randomly killing wolves increases conflicts with livestock. The USDA adds that wolves and all other native carnivores combined account for less than 1% of the livestock inventory losses in the Great Lakes region. Health problems, birthing complications and weather are the real culprits.

When wolves in the Great Lakes region lost Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections between 2012 and 2014, trophy hunters, trappers and houndsmen killed almost 1,500 wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

A 2014 Wisconsin DNR survey of nearly 9,000 residents, heavily weighted to rural areas, found that the vast majority value their wolves and don’t want to see them trophy-hunted or trapped. The rest of us value wolves too, according to studies and demonstrated by the exponential growth of wildlife-watching tourism in America.

Wisconsin’s wolves are a prime example of how a strong ESA is critical to ensuring that rare species aren’t subjected to irresponsible killing, threatening them with extinction.

Kitty Block

Acting President and CEO

Humane Society of the United States

Washington

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.

Period.

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.

Tell Sarah Palin To Stop Aerial Killing Of Wolves In Alaska

I think the way we treat animals is indicative of what type of person we are.  When it comes to Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin there is no more that needs to be said.

sarahpalincrop2

Wildlife activists thought they had seen the worst in 2003 when Frank Murkowski, then the Republican governor of Alaska, signed a bill ramping up state programs to gun down wild wolves from airplanes, inviting average citizens to participate. Wolves, Murkowski believed, were clearly better than humans at killing elk and moose, and humans needed to even the playing field.

But that was before Sarah Palin took Murkowski’s job at the end of 2006. She went one step, or paw, further. Palin didn’t think Alaskans should be allowed to chase wolves from aircraft and shoot them — they should be encouraged to do so. Palin’s administration put a bounty on wolves’ heads, or to be more precise, on their mitts.

In early 2007, Palin’s administration approved an initiative to pay a $150 bounty to hunters who killed a wolf from an airplane in certain areas, hacked off the left foreleg, and brought in the appendage. Ruling that the Palin administration didn’t have the authority to offer payments, a state judge quickly put a halt to them but not to the shooting of wolves from aircraft.

The steps we can take to fight the callous and low-brow style of living and governing that is the hallmark of Sarah Palin, her family, and her administraion is often just the act of one person taking a stand, and then another, and another….

This is one way to get the whole family involved, and also allow parents to instill values and respect for animals that we live with on this planet.

I encourage a robust and energetic rebuke to those, like Sarah Palin, who feel nothing when killing a wolf.  And then on top of that, doing so from an aircraft!

I truly feel there are parts of hell for those who harm the least among us, and I think those who abuse animals are near the top of that list.