Here is a round-up of editorials, columns and letters to the editor that have appeared in Gannett Wisconsin Media newspapers over the last several weeks on Wisconsin's wolf hunt.
Appleton Post-Crescent letter: Wolf population needs controlling
The July 13 P-C had a letter by Don Nassef that tried to make a case for wolf hunts being about the Department of Natural Resources’ quest for money. This is failed logic. The wolf hunting and trapping season is strictly about population control. Wolves have no predators except humans. Their numbers in the state are growing and far exceed the original population goal. They not only kill deer, but livestock, horses and domestic animals. If their population isn’t controlled, creating a fear of humans, they can and do become habituated to humans, posing a threat to people.
This was the cause of eight wolves that were shot recently in Ironwood, Mich. These wolves had no fear of humans and were a menace to the residents of that city.
Hunters and trappers who receive a wolf permit will have paid $110. This appears to be hefty, but the state has control of the wolves and must pay livestock and pet owners for injuries and deaths caused by wolves. So, hunters and trappers will be paying for those damages. Why shouldn’t the supporters of wolves have to contribute? They wanted the wolves and they strongly resist attempts to control the population.
A wolf control officer said that his worst fear is that wolves will attack and kill a child. It’s necessary to only look at the history of wolf behavior to learn that wolves have killed many people, mostly children. Is this the end result that the protectors of wolves want? One can earnestly hope not.
Stevens Point Journal and Wausau Daily Herald letter: Wisconsin wolf hunt is ridiculous
I won’t be renewing my endangered resources car license plate, symbolized by the wolf, this year since he Wisconsin Legislature and governor have made the decision to open up wolf hunting. Based on only a guesstimate that there are 880 wolves in the state, the Department of Natural Resources has passed down a judgment to permit the killing of 550 wolves.
The idea of hunting this species that feeds mostly on pests like voles and mice must go back to abnormal fears of childhood — thumps in the night, creepy spiders and treacherous wolves. Wolves were very nearly killed off in the 1800s because of this childish fear.
Perhaps this hunt represents the worst of hunters’ ambitions: “Hey, I haven’t killed one of those and I want to.” For what purpose? No one eats wolf meat, so it can’t be for survival. Wolf hunting/trapping is only senseless slaughter of an intelligent, sentient animal necessary to the ecosystem.
My license renewal fee of $25 will now go to applying for a wolf permit ($10). Should I get chosen in the lottery, I’ll pay the $100 for a license and keep one kill-happy hunter out of the woods. Won’t you consider doing this too? Have your natural resources money make a direct difference. Apply for the wolf lottery online at dnr.wi.gov. The deadline is Aug. 31.
If enough folks who don’t want the wolves killed get licenses, there will be a sigh of relief in the woods this fall.
Stevens Point Journal letter: Wolves can't reproduce unchecked
Karen Halverson’s characterization of the wolf paints a picture that is not completely accurate. While they will prey on birds and small animals, such as mice and voles, these are supplementary to their requirements for large amounts of meat (can survive on 2 ˝ pounds of meat a day, but to reproduce need an average of seven pounds of meat a day per wolf). They will eat beaver, badger, rabbits, etc., but in Wisconsin it tends to be “Bambi.”
As to the near eradication of the wolf in the 1800s, a lot had to do with the killing of livestock and the competition for venison, not because of childish fear. While they might play a part in your “ecosystem,” they cannot be allowed to reproduce unchecked, as they have no natural enemies in Wisconsin other than man.
Appleton Post-Crescent letter: What is the wolf hunt really about?
With the upcoming wolf hunt, I look forward to the mouth-watering recipes that I’m sure the P-C will run. Yum — wolf stew, wolf and wild rice soup ... What? There won’t be any recipes? No wolf tenderloin, chops or even jerky? Nothing?
So this hunt isn’t about providing for a family’s sustenance, providing food for a food pantry or even assisting a zoo with its food needs. What’s it all about? Chest-pounding machismo? Bragging rights? Or is it just the chance to legally kill something different — an animal that has been demonized for living as it was intended. The big, bad wolf.
I certainly understand that the farmers and ranchers need to guard their livestock. Their right to protect their animals should not be changed. I don’t like it, but I get it. This isn’t about that. It’s about urbanized Wisconsinites getting the chance to, admit it, legally thrill-kill.
Is it because the wolf is in competition with the hunters for deer? Wolves take down the weak and sick. They don’t pass up an unacceptable buck because they’re looking for their 30-pointer. Generally, they’re taking what hunters don’t want.
And they’re hunting for their sustenance. They aren’t hunting for the great photo op — trophy splayed on the ground, big proud hunter with his (or her) foot atop, looking so impressed with themselves.
Or, is it due to the “primitive” in all of us that fears the wolf — an animal that’s the closest relative of our helpers, protectors and unconditional best friends.
Is that what it’s all about? And is that justification?
Oshkosh Northwestern letter: Hunters using dogs in wolf hunt upsetting
The recent articles regarding the use of dogs in the upcoming wolf hunt have been extremely upsetting. As a dog owner, I cannot imagine why hunters would put their dogs in danger. In the most recent article a hunter says his “beloved” (I write that with sarcasm) dogs were killed by wolves and they were totally ripped apart by the time he found them. Yet he still advocates using dogs for hunting.
It makes me question the ethics and humanity of some hunters. It also says he thinks that wolves will grow to fear dogs. Ha! If that happens please let me know because pigs will be flying. Wolves have always been and always will be predators. Between a wolf and a dog, the wolf will always win and dogs will die horrible deaths because some hunters are too selfish to look out for their welfare.
And why is the DNR reimbursing hunters for their dead dogs used in hunting? The hunters are aware of the risk. Why are my tax dollars going toward their greed that kills innocent animals? Besides, if there are so many wolves that come on people's property, why are dogs needed at all? I think the DNR needs a lesson in common sense and it should start by taking dogs out of the wolf hunt completely.
Rep. Scott Suder column: Wolf lawsuit is frivolous
After the federal delisting of wolves, I introduced legislation giving the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, the authority to begin managing wolves in Wisconsin using a public harvest as a method to control the growing population.
The bill passed through the legislature with bipartisan support, and Gov. Walker signed this bill into law in April. Under the law, the harvesting season begins Oct. 15 and runs through Feb. 28. Both state and non-state residents are eligible for licenses, and the license authorizes both hunting and trapping of wolves.
Constituents have been vocal during the years about wolves and their concerns with crop damage, the harm caused to livestock and the adverse interaction with the deer population.
As a result, I worked with DNR staff along with hunters and farmers on drafting this legislation. I gave the DNR great flexibility in creating rules to achieve a framework for the hunting and trapping season including setting quotas, zones and permit levels.
The Natural Resources Board took public testimony and comments and approved the emergency rule to create the harvest plan for the upcoming season. The harvest will be split into six management zones, and each zone will have a wolf quota. The number of licenses will equal 10 times the total quota after the tribal declarations are subtracted.
Late this week, a frivolous lawsuit was filed against the DNR and NRB by radical animal rights groups who are trying to stop the wolf hunt from taking place. This is a direct assault on Wisconsin’s ability to manage its increasing wolf population.
It’s time for groups like this to stop wasting taxpayer dollars to try and thwart the bipartisan law, which is supported by the public. The DNR needs to be entrusted to manage the wolf population. I would urge the attorney general to defend the DNR and work quickly to allow this hunt to take place.
Despite the lawsuit, those interested in applying for a permit still can, and the application deadline is three weeks away.
For the upcoming harvest season, all wolf permits will be awarded by a random choice drawing, and those successful will be notified by mail. For those not chosen in the lottery, they will be issued a preference point toward future drawings.
Starting with the 2013-14 season, one-half of available permits will be issued randomly among all permit applications, and the other half will be issued through a cumulative preference point drawing.
It’s important for those interested in participating in the hunt or any future hunts to get their application in to accumulate the preference points. As a result of the limited number of permits, those with preference points will have a better chance of being selected in future drawings.
Hunters not able to participate in the upcoming season can opt to apply for the preference point only to begin their point accumulation. A hunter’s accumulated points will be eliminated once the applicant is selected to receive a permit. In addition, the accumulated preference points will be eliminated if the hunter does not submit a permit application in three consecutive years.
For those interested in obtaining a permit to hunt and trap wolves, the permit application has begun, and forms must be submitted by Aug. 31. The permit application fee is $10, and those interested can purchase the permit through the DNR Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR service centers (check DNR website for hours of operation) or by calling DNR’s toll free line at 877-945-4236. The wolf link on the DNR website can be accessed at: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/wolf.
Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, serves as the Assembly Majority Leader. He represents the 69th Assembly District in north-central Wisconsin.
Marshfield News-Herald letter: Suder ignores public with wolf hunt
It is Mr. Suder who is the threat to our wildlife and natural areas — not wolves.
His letter illustrates that he is no more a wildlife expert than farmers, hunters, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, legislators, the governor and anyone else pushing to haphazardly kill ultimately 60 percent of wolves.
This is his “public” that he says supports the season. In published surveys, the true public oppose it. The majority of comments to the Natural Resources Board were against Act 169 as it was written.
When drafting the bill, he neglected the true public.
“Bipartisan” doesn’t make a thing right. He implies this legislation simply gave authority to manage wolves. It went beyond and enacted cruel and cheap rules the Department of Natural Resources were powerless to change. This is “great flexibility?”
He worked with “DNR staff” when drafting the bill (implying experts were involved). No longtime wolf experts were consulted — they were shut out! Amateurs (at best) making wildlife laws — no negotiations.
It’s an emergency hunt — for werewolves? Wolves cause “crop damage” (what?) and “adverse interaction with the deer population?”
In reality, since wolf migration, deer have more than doubled and their behavior is more natural with wolves present. Wolves keep deer moving, avoiding over-browsing. Hunters must look harder to find deer and admit that deer hide from shooting, too. Wolves keep deer healthy, picking out and eliminating the diseased. Why was there no Chronic Wasting Disease in primary wolf ranges until the doe in northwest Wisconsin?
Mr. Suder, do you truly care about the deer, forest health and suppressing CWD in the forests? Obviously not.
This lawsuit is silly? Using dog packs provides the catalyst for animal cruelty and fighting, illegal in Wisconsin. Cruelty doesn’t apply to wildlife or hunting dogs? The true public thinks so (in surveys) — we are radicals?
Only 14 percent of wolf packs depredate livestock. Dishonesty, misrepresentations, misinformation and exaggerations with underlying intolerance results in destructive killing for revenge and diversion.
Fond du Lac
Stevens Point Journal letter: Wolf story fuels myths, unravels credible work
Let’s throw more fuel on the fire! After reading the headline news and subsequent article on the front page of the Sunday, Aug. 19 edition I was left wondering what kind of journalism is being practice in the local newspaper.
I won’t name the reporter, but let’s take an emotionally explosive topic like the upcoming wolf hunt, prey on an already polarized public by using dramatic adjectives to support the myths around these animals and undo all of the hard work done during the past three decades by biologists, scientists and knowledgeable citizenry.
Please, if you must print an article like this as headline news, please just state the facts and leave the adjectives out!
The letter writer is referring to this story.
Editorial from the Oshkosh Northwestern: Wolf hunt rules are inhumane
Some organizations have earned the community’s respect and the right to be heard as authoritative voices on issues where their expertise and judgment have never been called into question.
One such organization is the Oshkosh Area Humane Society, which joined a chorus of voices across Wisconsin in speaking out against the rushed and ill-advised regulations for a wolf hunt this fall.
“We received our first inquiry for four large dogs to be used for hunting wolves in the upcoming October wolf hunting season,” executive director Joni Geiger explained in an e-mail message to area media. “I find this appalling and I am ashamed Wisconsin would take such a giant step backwards when it comes to animal welfare.”
The rules adopted by the Department of Natural Resources are so spartan that they virtually allow for legalized dog fighting by allowing domestic animals to be used in the hunting of wolves that leaves them vulnerable to attacks by wolves.
A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit to stop the wolf hunt. One of the experts cited in that suit is Richard Thiel, a retired DNR wolf manager.
“Dog packs that will be used to chase a wolf or a pack of wolves will be regarded by the wolves as a threat,” Thiel said in a sworn affidavit filed with the suit. “Attacks will be swift and furious. Dogs will be seriously injured and die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out with their canines and carnassial teeth.”
According to the Wisconsin Federation of Humane Societies, Thiel served 33 years with the Bureaus of Endangered Resources and Wildlife Management and one of five people in the state who served on both the DNR’s 1989 Wolf Recovery Plan, which he chaired, and the 1999 Wolf Management Plan. His expertise seems certain, and Geiger’s judgment is sound. There is good reason to put the brakes on these regulations.
“I honestly feel that most people in the state of Wisconsin would be outraged knowing that our DNR has legalized the inhumane treatment of dogs,” Geiger said. “Unfortunately very little media has been shared with the public regarding this. Please let people know the truth.”
The DNR and Natural Resources Board need to go back to the drawing board and adopt sensible rules that protect dogs and not literally allow them to be thrown to the wolves.
The Final Thought: Wolf hunting rules need revising.