Recently the notes from the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Committee Meeting that was held on April 21, 2012 in Wausau, WI were released by the Wisconsin DNR. As usual representatives from the anti-wolf groups like the deceptively named hunting group the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association were in attendance. Here are some choice comments from their representatives:
Laurie Groskopf- Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association:
“Some of my comments may not reflect the WBHA Board of Directors positions. Most people are okay with some wolves. The number 350 came about by identifying remote areas, came out of University of Wisconsin. Nothing has changed since then. Position of the WCC voted for 350 less, WI Farm Bureau voted 350, WWF, 18 county board resolutions, all voted for 350. Something that impressed me at how angry people were. Amazing to see what people say about wolves. In terms of Treves work, 66% want 350 or less. Consider what farmers, hound hunters, people with kids, etc. go through due to wolves. (Remind me. When was the last time a wolf attacked someone in Wisconsin? Oh, that’s right. NEVER!) What happens when people have to take things into their own hands? This is because of the management we have had in place. Just want to tell it like it is. In her own area, wolves are threats to farms and human safety in 18% of the farms. Wolves can cause farmers to suffer from something akin something akin to PTSD. One lost 2 calves, carries a gun at all times and he is not even a hunter. One of these depredations was not even part of what APHIS states. What Aphis lists is only tip of the iceberg. Equally concerned for wolves safety and other wildlife.”
Yes you heard it right, farmers who raises cows to be slaughtered by having a bolt shot into their head have symptoms like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of wolves. This Bear Hounder mouthpiece forgets to mention that they get reimbursed for each of the animals allegedly killed by wolves. PTSD? I wonder how the residents of northern Wisconsin feel when groups of armed men with vicious dogs trample through their land tormenting wildlife? I would guess that those people are the real ones who suffer from PTSD. Then comes this gem:
“The WBHS (Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association) association was not involved with drafting legislation. What organization helped draft law? Lobbyist for hound groups? Unknown.”
Thats funny because I seem to recall this quote from the hearing before the Senate Natural Resources Committee. From The Progressive:
“Bob Welch, lobbyist for the Bear Hunters and other extreme blood sport organizations said, “We believe the stars are aligned at this time and the process was done right this time to get the bill passed. We hired the best lawyer in D.C., the former head of US Fish & Wildlife, to defend delisting. We support the hunting techniques in the bill because hunting wolves is difficult. Without those tools you aren’t going to be able to harvest wolves.”
“Scott Meyer, a member of the Bear Hunters Association and lobbyist for United Sportsman, went even further. He said, “”Seven attorneys were involved with drafting this bill to make sure it didn’t put delisting in jeopardy. The bill is not liberal enough, but unfortunately, these are the cards we’ve been dealt. The idea that we’re going to extirpate the wolves is ludicrous.”
Next comes Corky Meyer of the Wisconsin Association of Sporting Dog Clubs, another hounder group. He thinks that hounders should be reimbursed up to $10,000 for hounder dogs killed by wolves:
“I would again be remiss in my duties if I did not complain about the classification of all hunting dogs as hounds. No bird dogs, other dogs, but they are killed. Bird dogs that have been killed are high value. By putting out this summary every year you shine an inaccurate light claiming all hunting dogs are hounds. I’ve been asking this for years, please stop this. I am also asking that fair market value for hounds and hunting dogs. All dogs can be paid up to $2500 regardless, not fair market value. Please stop misinforming, or change the name, call them hunting dogs.”
“Bill created by Legislature and people of Wisconsin and now time is short. If we had not had all the lawsuits interrupting delisting we would have been done with this, but now we are on the fast track. Related to comments that the 350 number should be higher, there is no consensus, a lot of us think that 350 is too many. Somebody, Randy, mentioned wolf harvest of 100 animals. Public won’t like that. Need a lot more tags than 100 to get 100 wolves. Lots of reasons to participate. Price of dogs need to change has to be increased to fair market value. Taking money from dog hunters and putting it someplace else is not right. Why should a hunting-dog owner be punished for a wolf depredation. Paying $500 for a $10,000 champion bird dog is wrong. Legislation does not allow for payment for dogs hunting wolves. Legislation has various provisions for hunting with dogs. It has provisions for hunting at night. What difference does it make if it is day or night. Wolves have been hunted with dogs for centuries. This is not a new thing. Legislators decided to put it on the books in Wisconsin. I’ve been saying for years it would happen. I was told it would never happen in Wisconsin. Harvest should be in core of wolf areas. This will create sink instead of maintaining a source.”
Apparently this guy only considers hunting groups and anti-wolf legislators to be “the people of Wisconsin.” This guy also has the nerve to say that people who let their dogs run loose in the woods to terrorize wildlife should be reimbursed when a wolf defends their territory. Wisconsin is the only state in the country with a program like this. Wisconsin is also the only state in the country that will allow wolves to be hunted by dogs.
Then comes these comments from Ralph Fritsch of the deceptively named hunting group, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation:
“Supports delisting, resolution vote in 2011 that if faced with a lawsuit that we would support Federal legislation to remove wolves from Endangered Species List. We support 350 cap, support bill ACT 169. Only two people at hearings were opposed to bill. Lots in favor. Few against. We will continue to support dog payments because that was the original plan discussed by DNR in exchange for people leaving wolves alone.”
Apparently the only “people” who count in testifying at hearings are people representing hunting groups not the many citizens who spoke out against the wolf kill bills at the hearings. Only two people at hearings opposed the bill? That’s funny because Patricia Randolph attended the Senate hearing and there were many people who spoke out against the bill. Then there is the line about supporting the continuation of hounder reimbursements “in exchange for people leaving wolves alone.” That’s right all of these “ethical sportsmen” had to be bribed so that they wouldn’t poach wolves. Whatever happened to following the law and “ethics” that these people claim are so important?
Then there is this doublespeak from Fritsch:
“Wished long time ago it could have been delisted. It would have been a better process. FWS gave state authority back, not the whole issue. Need to be Federally (congressionally) delisted to give states time and so that everyone does not fee l they are running into a revolving door. Not all in agreement, sportsmen in state that care, and I mean sportsmen not people who just go out and shoot animals, we were biggest influence that wolf population grew because we made an agreement with the DNR that we would not harass wolves despite the fact that the population is three times over what was agreed upon. Illegal shootings not done by sportsmen, done by slob hunters. Hunters support wolves.”
Hunters support wolves? But they needed an agreement so that they wouldn’t violate the law and harass them?I guess the rest of us have to follow the rule of law but “sportsmen” have to come to “agreements” so that they will follow it. Remember that this group, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, is an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. Do you see anything on the NWF site that supports using dogs as a weapon against wildlife. I sure don’t. They even have a heading on their page that says “Wolves in Danger.” Yet this group supports the killing of 60 percent of the wolf population and the use of dogs to do it?
Here are the notes from the entire meeting. There are several voices that speak on behalf of the wolves, but the dialog appears to be dominated by the bear hounders and other anti-wolf interests. I fear for the future of wolves in Wisconsin.