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John Andersen: Nothing good about state's wolf hunt

John Andersen: Nothing good about state's wolf hunt

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I was unhappy when the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opened up a wolf season under pressure by a lawsuit filed by a Kansas-based group known as “Hunter Nation.”

The out-of-state group was represented by the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty. A Jefferson County Circuit judge found for “Hunter Nation” and the DNR did not appeal.

I don’t know what I dislike more; a State of Kansas Group sticking its nose into Wisconsin’s business or the self-proclaimed Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty.

I am thinking of finding a far-left group to contribute money to and put the donation in their names. For Hunter Nation perhaps the Humane Association of the United States, and for WILL perhaps the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU). Anyway back to wolves.

I was going to write a well-reasoned history of wolf hunting in Wisconsin, put in some historical data on wolf populations. Add to that perhaps a couple of legends of the Native American Tribes of Wisconsin views on wolves. I wanted to give the article a broader base and not play to emotionalism.

I always thought this comment from Wisconsin’s Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac” was fitting. Aldo Leopold while working for the US Forest Service in 1909 shot a wolf with six pups.

Leopold relates this story: “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes something known only to her and to the mountain.”

“ I was young then, and full of trigger itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view” (1949 Edition, Revised 2001, page 129).

My plans blew up for the article when I read this in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Hunters and trappers killed 216 gray wolves in the 2021 Wisconsin wolf harvest season, 82% above the state-licensed goal, according to Department of Natural Resources data released Thursday.”

“State-licensed hunters and trappers had a harvest quota of 119 spread across the state, excluding Native American reservations. The swift pace of the wolf kills, mostly by hunters using trailing hounds (90%) took the DNR by surprise. And the overage was made worse by a state statute that requires 24-hour, rather than immediate, notice of the season closure, as well as a decision by the Natural Resources Board to issue twice as many as the normal number of permits.”

As a former state employee I hate to see it when a state agency screws up. This was not a wolf hunt, it was a farce. Sportsman don’t chase down animals with dogs. An agency does not issue twice as many permits as needed and should not be caught by surprise.

To give equal time to the DNR “We have a robust, resilient wolf population,” said Keith Warnke, DNR administrator of parks, land and wildlife. “I think we are very confident we will be able to manage (wolves) properly going forward.” No, Mr. Warnke, you blew it and you should transfer to another arm of the agency. You get no second chances.

There should be no hunting season on wolves for the next two years. If it returns, no hunting wolves with dogs, no hunting wolves at night, no hunting wolves over bait or calling wolves in with electronic devices.

If a quota is established at let’s say 25, then only 25 permits are given out. No out-of-state hunters. Let’s see what true sportsmen do.

Before this hunt there were about 1,000 wolves in the state now 20% of the species has been eliminated in 72 hours. Wisconsin is now the poster child for returning the wolf population to federal management and the endangered species list. My letter to the Feds was in the mail this week.

In 2019 the last year figures were fully available Wisconsin Taxpayers footed the bill for a wolf damage fund to the tune of $189,748.74. I support that. I do not support the wholesale slaughter of any species. Enough said.


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