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The Lakeland Times | Minocqua, Wisc.

Jim Tait October

home : letters : letters December 4, 2016

10/16/2012 3:59:00 AM
Don't blame the wolves, blame the legislators and hunters

To the Editor:

This wolf season (Act 169) is not a matter of anti-hunting. It’s anti-Act 169 and the way it happened: undemocratically with dishonesty, foolishness, and arrogance.

Decency and wisdom say it was wrong to secretly draft the bill (Wisconsin’s Wolf Management Act) and not consult Wisconsin’s wolf manager. Leaving the wolf manager out of wolf managing, legislators Suder and Rivard “consulted” with bear hunters, mismanaging wolves. Carelessness and hostile rules make it clear that politicians and hunters were in control.

Other longtime experts, the public and Indian tribes were secretly shut out.The federal government and Department of the Interior has named “Tribes” and “state wildlife professionals” as wolf managers (scientists – not amateurs). 

Tribes are considered co-managers but were shamefully disrespected. Wanting to protect wolves, they were disgustingly offered wolves to kill. Wolves that were probably factored in when figuring out the state’s wolf kill quota. The state never intended to sit down with tribes, working out something they could live with – maintaining good relations.

“Allowing” public comments after the fact is meaningless. No “we the people” in dictatorial-style government.

Value of wolves is ignored, such as strengthening deer health, suppressing chronic wasting disease, maintaining biodiversity by causing deer to move more – avoiding overbrowsing of the landscape. Deer have more than doubled since wolf migration. (800 wolves eat about 13,600 yearly – a meager amount).

Wolves perform cascading natural functions man cannot do. 

No expert involvement is detrimental to wildlife. Do we want bear hound hunters managing wolves (wildlife they resent) or politicians (ignorant about species’ preservation)?

In published surveys, the public would accept a “sustainable” wolf season “designed to reduce depredation.” Selective population reduction targeting problem wolves. Rules of Act 169 “risk an unsustainable harvest,” jeopardizing the population.

A statewide indiscriminate hunt “does not address depredation” and instead attends to haphazard recreation and revenge. 

This wolf season relies on deception.

How can wolves be a great human threat when a human has never been attacked in the lower 48? So, fairytale stories are spread – nothing reported or verified – though anyone can call authorities for help with liberal non-lethal and lethal wolf control methods. Wolves are rarely seen and many people mistake coyotes for wolves. 

One pet was depredated last year. Livestock depredation is very localized, involving a small amount of farms (.57) and 14 percent of wolf packs. Last year, verified wolf livestock depredation cost $15,500 – payment the public supports. But we paid more – for “alleged” and hound depredation – payments the public rejects due to loose rules enabling dishonesty (note: coyotes depredated livestock in some investigations blamed on wolves – no compensation is available for coyote kills).

Total amount for livestock depredation payments is deceiving. Payments are made for “missing calves,” blamed on wolves – alleged, with no evidence necessary. “Two farms skewed the numbers” for missing calves last year, a number that is normally zero to 25 jumped to 257 (more than all past missing calves for 28 years) costing nearly $200,000. Calf numbers do not glaringly fluctuate and inventories are self-made, by livestock owners (this suspiciously inflated wolf damage year comes right before introduction of a wolf season bill).

Those with poor animal husbandry practices receive payments for depredation that could have been prevented.  

Payments are made for hounds killed, usually when invading quiet forest wolf sites (with wolf pups) while bear hunting or training. So far nearly $500,000. Bear hunting has obvious risks – the danger to hounds is greater from bears attacks- with no compensation paid.

“The majority of the wolf population is not causing problems.”

Blame not wolves, but legislators and bear hound hunters for favored legislation, easily fraudulent compensation payments, dishonesty, controversy, and finally litigation.

It could have gone smoothly, with real wolf managers creating a sustainable wolf season acceptable to the majority.

Shirley Clements
Fond du Lac




Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Article comment by: Shirley Clements

The Montana wolf season is as fraudulent as Wisconsin's. Politicians and anti-wolf backers are downright lying and exaggerating livestock and game depredation by wolves.
Carter Niemeyer, who worked for Wildlife Services in Montana from 1973 to 2000 and investigated more than 100 cases of reported wolf depredation, says he believes that only about 5 percent were verified kills. Pressure on investigators from ranchers and state officials corrupted the system, he writes.
The article comments below about Montana and wolves are false- the mentioned "News Releases" are not factual references and nothing more than his personal anti-wolf essays containing make-believe.
The facts: Elk and deer are "abundant" in Montana.
"Mule deer and white-tailed deer are the most widely distributed and abundant big game mammals in Montana."
Montana's elk population is at "an all time high." “Hunters are going to see liberal hunting opportunities." The Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says that Montana’s elk herds have never been more abundant. There are 140,000 elk statewide in 2011 about 10% above the Department’s objective. (Intimidated wildlife officials reluctantly speak about scientific facts.)
Montana's moose population declined after a decade of drought years (2000s) and high temperances (moose require cold, wet climates). Its population is affected by climate, habitat, disease, parasites, and predators (wolves, grizzly and black bears, mountain lions).
Curtailing of logging and wildfires (which disrupt the forest, boosting growth of willow shrubs that moose eat in winter) has further caused a decline in moose population.
The Montana commenter prefers to blame everything on wolves, even making up imaginary decimations of game herds.
Even Montana's government officials intimidate wolf truth tellers and media suppresses the truth about what's really going on.


Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Article comment by: Norm Mackey

Mr Bridges, you may have a legitimate complaint in all ways about Montana, and other places where a variety of cervids lets predators prey-switch and eat excessively of one prey animal while surviving on another.

But the Upper Midwest seems to have something close to the original wolves now, and prolific whitetails with too few moose and elk for wolves to control the first or learn to hunt the latter.

At least in Michigan the DNR is planning to raise antlerless permits where the wolves are to reduce deer reproduction. Maybe the wolves there are such lazy bastids they don't waste energy. Loafers, not loboes. or the additional rain just grows too much cover that stays too wet to burn often.

My point is, again, you have a legitimate complaint and severe problem out west, which I think you may make look puny if you use the Upper Midwest as an example. Do you really want people to look at one cow an one sheep predation in Michigan in the first third of 2012, and so many whitetails that the "waste" disappears in the noise, somewhere most livestock rarely is or has to be left alone even a day - and think that compares with rural Montana? You make your problem seem more petty than it is, with all respect.


Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: Darren Thomassie

I say it's time to secretly open a hunting season on the crooked legislators and bear hound hunters. Karma will get them.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Toby Bridges

It is easy to see that Shirley knows absolutely nothing about wolves. I live in Montana, where we are now suffering dramatic losses of elk, moose and deer to an out of control wolf population. Since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dumped non-native Candian wolves in the Northern Rockies, many great elk herds have been decimated by 80-percent, moose have been literally wiped out in many area, and deer herds are now crashing quickly.

Our "wolf managers" here now acknowledge that each and every wolf kills approximately 25 big game animals for sustenance...and just about as many for the pure sake of killing, and leaving the animal to rot. It is that kind of waste that has put the wolf in the crosshairs here in the Northern Rockies - and the same thing is happening there in the Upper Midwest.

Wolves must be controlled...not managed.

Anyone really wanting to read up on the losses of game and hunting opportunities for sportsmen just need to go to www.lobowatch.com - and on the opening page click on "News Releases".

Toby Bridges
LOBO WATCH




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