Embrace, respect and appreciate wildlife. That seems like such an easy concept, doesn’t it? Where we live, wildlife is a part of everyday life. So much so that the occasional bear has been known to wander through many of our yards. We enjoy seeing them and even every cabin up north is adorned with images, sculptures and art of the iconic black bear.
With September being “Bear Necessities” month, I’m reminded that September isn’t a very kind time for our bears, not that the summer training season was all that much better. Now is the time our bears are being shot out of a tree after being chased for miles by packs of dogs.
More than 129,000 hunters applied for 11,530 permits in 2021, making the wait to receive a harvest permit approximately 1 to 12 years, depending on the bear management zone. However, when one finally receives a permit, the opportunity to kill a bear is better than 40% for most zones and some of the biggest bears in the country are taken in Wisconsin. Nearly all (96% to be exact) of bears killed are taken with the aid of bait and dogs. Meaning there is no fair chase hunting of bears in Wisconsin. Period.
Here is an example of the propaganda being put out by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about the time honored tradition of hunting bears with hounds. I am sure you will be as outraged as I am that this is the information being provided by our own government agency about hounding. We know the reality of it and the cronyism of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and Wisconsin DNR. View full brochure here.
Type in “hound hunting for bear WI” on YouTube and you’ll get more than 1,000 results. One of the top three videos follows a pack of hounds as they chase and subsequently tree a black bear. The hunter shoots the animal, and it tumbles from its high perch, not dead but to be attacked by dogs below.
This is not hunting.
This is animal fighting.
This is abuse.
This is cruelty.
This is unethical hunting.
This is trophy hunting.
Our efforts at GLWA and FOTWW are focused on what we consider to be the worst abuses that wildlife is forced LEGALLY to suffer under. We know the public and even a lot of ethical hunters have these standards like fair-chase, where animals have a fair chance to get away from the hunter. That is completely absent in hound hunting and when the public learns about this, they are disgusted. It is important to remember that we are the majority, even though policy seems to dictate a different truth. It violates every ethic of dog ownership and wildlife stewardship. It is our responsibility to reform these wildlife agencies to start working for ALL users, not just hunters.
For me, ensuring a good harvest of a species or putting how best to torture and kill wildlife is not an indicator of a successful DNR, but not everyone has that kind of relationship with their environment. It is up to us to change that paradigm. You can help change that. This month, there is a plethora of wildlife meetings at the DNR and holidays like National Wildlife Day. Remember, when we show up we win. Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied.
For the wild ones and wild places,
Please join us for an annual celebration filled with great food, inspiring speakers, awesome raffle prizes, and a host of vegan-minded exhibitors. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or omnivore, Vegan Fest has delicious food samples and helpful information on how you can protect animals, the environment, and your health through vegan choices. The festival will feature special guest speakers including our very own Melissa Smith, Paul Collins and Kelly Osborn. The event is free and open to the public so we hope to see you there!
Poachers will take wildlife anytime, anywhere, and usually in the most unsportsmanlike methods imaginable. We know wolf populations and recovery are drastically affected by poaching. It is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to get a wild animal, a poacher and a law enforcement officer at the same location at the same time. We plan to change that.
With your generous contributions, we were able to purchase decoy wolves from Custom Robotic Wildlife, Inc. We are currently working with a team of scientists, businesses, lawyers, biologists law enforcement agents, tribal wardens and government officials to come together to help combat wolf poaching in Wisconsin. It is a difficult task, but we are determined to force the agency’s hand to take poaching of wolves seriously and enforce the law. We are working on grants and donations to make this program free for law enforcement and create a positive relationship with those who help protect wolves…stay tuned!
In the meantime, with the hard work of our staff, Judy Aughey, and under the guidance of board member Nancy Warren with 30 years of experience in educational and advocacy wolf programs through WolfWatcher, we are using “Robo Lobo” to engage new advocates, both young and old, in our campaign Big, Not Bad. We are basing this program off our positivity campaign to counter the negative stories and myths about wolves.
You can see our kick off video here:
We believe that having the wolf there to touch and to see will be extremely moving for people. We all had a very visceral reaction to her. It is as close as we can get to having an ambassador animal.
Rather than offering basic education about biology, we will be educating youth about the positive benefits of wolves, the current dangers and threats to them, and how anyone can be an advocate. For back-to-school season, we are hoping to start out in the Madison Area and expand from there.
We hope to do a practice presentation with you all via Zoom in the very near future. When we had the wolf out in public, everyone was drawn in with questions, comments, wanting to know and do more. We know getting more people involved, especially high school and college-age students will help the future of all wildlife. This is just one part of our bigger campaign to stop the vilification of the wolf.
There are many wildlife groups, all fighting for our wildlife and your dollars, so how do you choose which ones to support with your time and money? I can explain why I am proud to work with Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife. First, they are a regional organization. While they are involved in national wildlife issues, their primary focus is wildlife, in particular, wolves, in the Great Lakes Region. They kept our spirits high during the bleak days of the 2021 Wisconsin wolf slaughter, secured legal council and fought successfully to insure another hunt did not occur in November. Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife is an “open book” anything you want to know about the organization is available. Finally, they strive to keep you informed with regular Fireside Chats. Plans for the future include more educational outreach, using the most current scientific data, because an informed citizenry is the key to survival for all species.
~ Nancy Warren UP, Michigan