Shawn Clark's recent column on Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com is all wrong.
Read Clark's column here.
The problem is not hunting, but Act 169 (this particular wolf season). And bear hound hunters who used willing politicians (ignorant of species' preservation) to secretly usurp wolf management from experts and Indian tribes- named managers by the federal government.
Wisconsin\'s wolf experts, such as the Department of Natural Resources' current head wolf manager Adrian Wydeven (mammalian ecologist) and the retired Richard Thiel (wolf biologist) were never contacted. Other wolf experts slighted were Tim Van Deelen, UW-Madison wildlife ecologist, and Professor Adrian Treves of UW-Madison (expert on predator-prey ecology) who said, "We were never consulted by the authors (legislators Suder and Rivard) of Act 169 or during secret drafting of the rules."
Longtime experts have studied wolves, gathering information for decades, since wolf migration. Wolf management is their rightful job- not one for amateurs.
Rules of Act 169 are not supported by science, such as bait, night hunting- and using dogs to hunt wolves. Experts say, "Modern scientific evidence is abundantly clear that hounds will be injured or killed."
The public cried out.
And Clark tells this public voice to "shut up," dismissing the public as "extreme, anti-hunting, a group of animal rights' zealots." Sounds like legislator Suder who calls it "radical."
Clark wants these hunters (who deny science and threaten wolves with harassment) to "take care" of "all wildlife."
Clark spreads irrational hatred calling wolves torturing, "killing machines" to promote this season. Humans torture, not wolves. Clark condemns wolves for being wild carnivores and thinks animals have ideal endings when humans kill them for food.
Death for prey is naturally quicker with animal predators, not hunters. Clark says most hunters kill deer with one shot, within seconds. Perfection to strive for, not reality. (Talk to a butcher about the conditions of harvested deer bodies.) Clark contradicts himself in a later column (November 1), called "A lost deer," about his "bad hit" and a big buck that got away with a bleeding wound inflicted by his arrow.
And hunters who think they are in competition with wolves for deer are mistaken- for competition implies shortage of this natural resource. Wisconsin has 1.14 million deer. To complain about sharing our abundant deer population with wild animals is illogical, childish, and greedy. Some hunters need to stop blaming wolves for unsuccessful hunts when it is lack of effort or just plain bad luck.
Annually, 800 wolves eat a meager 15,000 deer for sustenance. And bears and bobcats (not wolves) prefer fawns. Hunting prey for wolves is hard, wolves need packs, are not always successful (some die trying) and have periods of hunger.
Depredation is exaggerated to promote overkilling wolves and lax compensation rules enable fraud, no proof or personal responsibility necessary, with special legislated payments.
True verified livestock depredation is small. Only one pet was killed by wolves last year.
Human threat from wolves is exaggerated and actually almost nonexistent.
Clark thinks wolves do not help deer. Wolves positively help deer, one of their many cascading functions as keystone predators. Deer have more than doubled since wolf migration. Wolves discern and eliminate weaklings (a burden to the deer herd), suppress disease (Chronic Wasting), thus strengthening the herd. Deer act naturally with wolves, moving more, avoiding over-browsing. Wolves (not hunters killing wolves, as Clark mistakenly states) maintain biodiversity, keeping forests healthy. Our wolf manager (Wydeven) provides data and evidence on how our growing wolf population contributes to greater diversity of understory plants, improved deer herd and trout stream conditions. Wolves manage themselves and the forest community year-round. (And CWD areas in Wisconsin have no wolves.)
Those opposed to Act 169, including honorable hunters, are "true stewards" of the forests and deserve the thanks (recognizing that wolves are ecological valuables). Not hunters like bear hound hunters who cannot see the forests, for the 33,000 bears.
And the many dead wolves these hunters want for interfering in their risky, voluntary "sport," with hounds chasing bears and getting attacked by wolves when invariably invading quiet wolf sites with young pups (where most attacks occur).
Not anti-hunting, the large public majority (in published surveys, in and out of wolf areas) supports a sustainable season "designed to reduce depredation." Not this statewide, indiscriminate season that aggressively attends to random recreation and revenge.
Blame Walker's undemocratic, inefficient and dishonest administration for wolf season controversy and litigation, with key legislators misleading other legislators for a "bipartisan" vote. Bipartisan doesn't make a thing right, especially unimpressive when based on fraud.
This could have gone smoothly, with experts and Indian tribal leaders co-managing wolves, with careful population reduction targeting the small amount of problem wolves (called a "handful" by experts) around the small amount of farms involved. A season most could stomach, unlike Act 169 and Clark's offensive strategies.