For Immediate Release: March 9, 2019
Madison, WI – Last night, the Dane County Board of Supervisors, in a unanimous vote, passed Resolution 502, urging the Wisconsin Legislature to develop and support changes to statutes to ban any and all future wildlife killing contests. They also finally resolved that a copy of this resolution will be forwarded to the Dane County legislative delegation, Governor Tony Evers, and Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston D. Cole, as well as to the Wisconsin Counties Association for inclusion in their legislative agenda. This is the first county in the midwest, to take such action.
Wisconsin-based organizations hold contests that are recreational hunts of targeted predators. The contests promote calling, hounding, and shining of predators such as coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other species in order to kill them indiscriminately. Predators are an integral part of the ecosystem and play a critical role in maintaining a healthy balance of plants and animals in the ecosystem by preying on species such as rabbits, mice and other rodents. The indiscriminate killing of these predators, even when done legally, does not serve any legitimate wildlife management purpose and instead upsets the natural balance of the state’s parks and public lands, and violates the North American Model of Conservation and the Public Trust Doctrine.
Residents and visitors use the extensive public lands throughout Wisconsin for hiking, dog walking, bird watching, seasonal game hunting, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities compatible with maintenance of a healthy ecosystem. The activities of killing contest attendees pose a threat to their safety and well-being,
Executive Director of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife, and Dane County resident, brought this resolution to Supervisor Ritt, Environment, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee Chair, and her own supervisor, right after a killing contest near her home was held.
Smith, who owns livestock on her small rural farm, said in her testimony that, “killing contests don’t do anything to protect livestock and often have the opposite effects, because the killing is so volatile and indiscriminate. Its like going into a school, removing all the teachers and expecting teenagers to behave. Most depredation is by juvenile animals testing out their options, most learn its not worth it. We have a guardian dog and E-fences that keep our sheep safe.”
She also added also that “the only problem I have had is a coyote hound, trained to pursue and fight coyotes, run across my private property and nearly kill one of my lambs. He survived but lost his leg due to the incident.”
Randy Jurewicz, of Madison, wrote in a letter, urging to pass this resolution to the Dane County Board. “I have been an active and proud hunter in Wisconsin since I was 12 years old in 1963. I have harvested whitetail deer, turkey, cottontail rabbits (the subject of my Master’s Thesis), snowshoe hares, ducks, geese, squirrels, pheasants and ruffed grouse and, as my dearly departed Dad taught me, I killed, cleaned, cooked and ate every one of them. My last credential is that I was a professional Wildlife Ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for 32 years and continue to be active. The needless and senseless killing that is promoted by these “contests” is not at all necessary for modern wildlife management.
Other animal protection and environmental organizations, part of a large coalition to end wildlife killing contests, such as The Humane Society of the United States, Stop the Madness and Project Coyote also testified or provided the best available science and ethics about this bloodsport. The Humane Society of the United States did an undercover background investigation of these contests. Project Coyote also will be showing their award winning documentary, The Killing Games at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this spring.
Vivian Morrison, board member of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife said it best, “A much needed win in a time where everything seems to be going badly for Wisconsin’s wildlife. I’m thrilled that our community is ethical and believes in best available science. I truly thank the Dane County Board for urging the rest of the state to get back to what it means to truly conserve and protect our wildlife.
Melissa Smith | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife | 117 Ardmore Dr, Madison, WI 53713
Phone: 608.234.8860 |www.wiwolvesandwildlife.org