“Bears are really 200-pound ground squirrels.” ~ Jeff Traska, Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! What lovely species they were — if only we had known them.
Here is the story and video of two little black bear orphan cubs rescued along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina this spring.
Jeff Traska of the Wisconsin Black Bear Education Center created the first open-top enclosure for captive rescued black bears in Wisconsin. By his own description, he is a “reformed sport hunter” — a reformed bear hunter. He says, “I was curious about bears and found I did not learn anything when they were dead in the back of my truck.” He now takes care of four rescued bears on seven wooded acres with a pond. His website says, “He soon learned that bears are not the highly dangerous animals portrayed in so many sensational news stories, but instead are intelligent, gentle animals who play a critical role in the functioning ecosystems they inhabit.” One of the stated goals of the center is “Dispelling the myths and misconceptions that have led to the widespread, unnecessary persecution of bears.”
Like Cecil, the lion killed for his trophy head, our bears, deer and wolves are too often valued mainly as decapitation prospects for sociopathic “glory.” Though fast-moving mass extinction threatens animal and ultimately human life, we are still allowing the cruel few to kill our wild brethren for heads on walls. To modify Elizabeth Warren’s outrage over GOP proposals to defund Planned Parenthood: “Did you fall down, hit your head and think you woke up in the 1850s?” It is 2015. We are in a crisis of wildlife extinction. We are regressing rapidly.
The general public could stop this trauma to fragile ecosystems and natural, innocent beings.
The bear hounders have lobbied successfully for statewide year-round running dogs on coyotes, so they are terrorizing all the wildlife on 7 million acres of our public lands.
Bear hounding officially started July 1 in the heat of summer, after baiting the bears since they emerged from hibernation. Bears do not have sweat glands. Their dark fur holds heat. When they are run for miles by dogs that are traded out when they tire, the bears have seizures and die when they stop running.
A friend experienced this. She ran her sheepdog on a half-mile bike ride in 90-degree heat in New Orleans. When she returned, the dog — a young dog — crawled under the house and died. The heat build-up of running cannot be dispelled fast enough to survive.
I have written about Rick Hanestad, a former coyote trapper who was enlightened by adopting a coyote pup. Rick was raised in a trapping/hounding environment. He told me that in the spring the trappers catch as many raccoon babies as they can, and the hounders loose them in farmers’ fields with no trees and let the dogs “train” to bloodlust by killing them.
When I tell people that 4,750 bears are the killing goal the Department of Natural Resources set for this fall, the usual response is: “In the entire country?” Over 26,500 bears have been killed the past six years in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin DNR website states, “The state remains a leader with more bears harvested each year than any other state in the country.”
A leader in destruction of bears — a degrading distinction attracting worldwide condemnation.
10,690 hunters are licensed to kill bears this year and run dogs on them all but the last week of the 35-day “hunt,” Sept. 9 through Oct. 13. The license to kill a bear costs $49, but a child 10-11 years old only pays $7 for the fun. Most of the bears killed are less than 2 years old.
Children killing cubs — the DNR’s “connect with nature” program.
New this year, limitless bear hounders can, at no charge, run packs of dogs on bears, while the 10,690 are killing them using dogs and bait. Hounders do not have to wear back-tags. Since the dogs run miles ahead with radio collars, trespass is common. If private landowners do not want to confront packs of dogs or armed men and women, they have no recourse for the identification of trespassers.
Only 1 percent of New Jersey citizens are hunters. David Stewart of their strong bear protection group wrote an opinion piece about the proposed New Jersey bear hunt, forwarded to the Madravenspeak mailbox, titled “Injustice”:
“With 10,142 residents responding to the required 60-day comment period regarding the proposed amendments of the state game code by the Fish and Game Council, 94% were opposed to the (bear kill) proposals in their entirety. As officially recorded, 390 were in support while 6,635 were opposed. Of those responding 87% opposed extending the hunt and/or adding an additional hunt, and 79% were in opposition to permitting archery weaponry.”
“As was entirely anticipated, at its August 11th meeting, the 8 member hunter-dominated council unanimously approved its proposals and amendments to the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy. … Why have a public comment period? … The Public Trust Document clearly states, a state’s wildlife has no ownership, we are all stakeholders, yet we, the public, have no voice in wildlife management policies. When a council, aligned to the hunting community, can usurp public opinion and implement its own policies and having full control, does that not imply ownership?
“It’s time the state’s constitution be amended to address this injustice and composition of this highly biased council.”
The same hunter corruption and tyranny dominates Wisconsin. Save our bears!
Wisconsin citizens can remedy this injustice by acting to democratize the funding structure of the DNR. Call your state legislators. Contact DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp at DNRSecretary@Wisconsin.gov or 608-266-2121. Contact information for the DNR regional director for your county here.
Citizens can sign and network the Wildlife Ethic petition to stop killing our bears.
Sign against promotion of bear-killing equipment on facebook here.
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