When wolves in
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were removed from the endangered species
list in January 2012, the Wisconsin legislature immediately introduced bills to
allow hunting and trapping of wolves in the state.
2011 WISCONSIN ACT 169 was signed into law on 2 April 2012
and published on 16 April 2012. The first season will last from 15 October 2012
- 28 February 2013, and, according to an
article in the Wisconsin State Journal, the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resource (DNR) has set the goal of harvesting 200 of the
state's more than 800 wolves.
2011 WI Act 169 allows the use of dogs for tracking and hunting wolves, making
it the only state to do so. However, the law did NOT set any
restrictions on dog use or training to minimize the chances of violent,
potentially deadly dog / wolf confrontations, nor require the DNR to set up
Wisconsin hunters argue that dogs are essential in tracking and hunting wolves,
and that hunters will not be able to kill wolves if their dogs are not allowed
to track them. Theoretically, according to the
Wisconsin State Journal: Advocates Say Dogs Essential to Wolf
Hunt's Success, when there is snow that permits tracking, up to six dogs
can be released to follow a wolf track. Hunters on ATV's or in trucks keep
track of the dogs' locations via GPS collars on each. The hunters split up into
groups, one moving out ahead of the dogs and shooting the wolf when the dogs
drive it to them. Dogs would only be released to track a single wolf, and not a
Other hunters heartily
disagree that dogs are essential to a successful hunt. They cite opinions
ranging from the lack of fairness in this type of "hunt," and the
fact that other states have had successful wolf hunting seasons without the use
of dogs to the potential for serious injury or death for the dogs.
"the high risk of hunting dogs suffering severe injuries or being killed
during engagement with wolves in the absence of restrictions that prevent the
risk of direct physical encounters between the two canine species," a
number of humane organizations and individuals decided to file a lawsuit
against the Wisconsin DNR and Natural Resources Board. This lawsuit, filed on 7
August 2012, asked the Court to stay the DNR's recently approved Wolf Hunting
Season authorizing the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
Plaintiffs encompass a spectrum of Wisconsin citizens from across the state --
hunters, landowners, ecologists, volunteer trackers, and community humane
societies -- who object to the state-sanctioned use of dogs to hunt wolves
without the restrictions needed to prevent deadly animal fighting in violation
of Wisconsin animal cruelty law," states Jodi Habush Sinykin, the attorney
representing the plaintiffs in the case, together with Robert L. Habush of
Habush, Habush & Rottier, S.C., and Carl Sinderbrand of Axley &
filings in Dane County Circuit Court asked for an injuction to stop the DNR
from issuing licenses that authorize the use of dogs for wolf hunting until
reasonable restrictions could be formulated to provide adequate protections for
dogs and to prevent the risk of potentially deadly physical encounters between
dogs and wolves.
testimony was provided by retired DNR wolf manager
Richard Thiel, a who served 33 years with the Bureaus of
Endangered Resources and Wildlife Management; and nationally acclaimed expert
in canine training and behavior,
Patricia McConnell, Ph.D, among others.
Thiel in a sworn affidavit filed with the court, "Dog packs that will be
used to chase a wolf or a pack of wolves will be regarded by the wolves as a
threat. Attacks will be swift and furious. Dogs will be seriously injured and
die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out with
their canines and carnassial teeth."
Dr. McConnell, on-leash requirements for dogs training and hunting wolves,
certified training, and breed restrictions are all necessary to prevent dogs
from confronting wolves. In Dr. McConnell's professional opinion, without
thoughtful and clear regulations, "Wisconsin's wolf hunt will be little
more than state-sponsored dog fighting."
UW-Madison Professor Adrian Treves, Ph.D, another expert in
wolf habitat and behavior, is in agreement. As set forth in his affidavit filed
with the Court, "Because the rules promulgated by DNR are all but silent
in terms of regulating how dogs may be used to hunt wolves and how dogs may be
trained to hunt wolves, DNR has clearly failed to impose reasonable
restrictions essential to the health and safety of humans, dogs, and
On 31 August
2012, after thoroughly studying the information presented to him by both sides,
Dane County Judge the Honorable Peter C. Anderson decided to issue an
injunction blocking wolf hunts, saying the DNR failed to set up restrictions on
the use of dogs, creating the potential for bloody wolf-dog fights in the woods
judge explained the humane societies had sufficiently shown that the lack of
restrictions could lead to more animal fights. "A chance of a vicious
attack," Anderson said, "is quite high and absent regulation it will
be hard for hunters to know what to do (to prevent them)."
The DNR has
stated that the hunt will begin as scheduled, just without dogs. The DNR also
asked Anderson to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing dog use doesn't harm the
plaintiffs and the hunt legislation authorizes their use.
September, Judge Anderson ruled that the humane societies have shown they may
have to expend extra resources to take care of injured dogs and wolves.
Therefore, the lawsuit will proceed.
September 2012: At their September 26, 2012 meeting, the Wisconsin
Natural Resources Board rejected emergency training rules to allow training
dogs for the upcoming wolf hunt. The Board did allow officials to begin writing
up dog training rules for the 2013 wolf hunt season.
The 2012 wolf hunt
began on 15 October as planned, but, according to the
WI DNR Wolf
Hunting and Trapping page, "the use of dogs for tracking and trailing
of wolves is not authorized when hunting wolves under a wolf
harvesting license. Also, the use of dogs for training to track or trail free
ranging wolves is not authorized at this time."
Rules for Wolf
Hunting in Wisconsin were posted on the DNR's website at the end of November.
can read them here. A good commentary on these rules can be found in
AP Article: Wisconsin DNR proposes wolf/dog hunting rules.
AP Article: Wisconsin DNR proposes wolf/dog hunting
On the day of the
first public wolf hunting and trapping season in the Great Lakes region in more
than 40 years, The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals
served notice that they will file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to restore federal protections for Great Lakes wolves under the
Endangered Species Act.
See the HSUS website or click here for more details.
On 13 November 2012, a group of mainstream Wisconsin hunters
received permission to file a legal brief with the Court voicing their
opposition, as life-long hunters and land-owners, to the unrestricted use of
dogs for hunting wolves and training for such hunting.
mainstream hunters to email Info@NoWisconsinPuppyMills.org
and "cc" the DNR (Kurt.Thiede@Wisconsin.gov) and
Natural Resources Board (liaison Laurie.Ross@Wisconsin.gov) with
their letters of opposition to the use of dogs for wolf hunting. Their comments
may still make a crucial difference for dogs, landowners, AND hunters in
12 December 12:
Plaintiffs Reply Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Motion
for Judgement on the Merits and in Opposition to the Defendants' and
Intervenors' Motions (Plaintiff's Reply Brief) was filed with the Judge.
Now, the Judge has all the parties briefs before him. We believe that the
the arguments advanced in the Reply brief again lay out a strong case in
support of our requested relief. Most likely, this will be a final ruling on
18 DECEMBER 2012
UPDATE: Dane County Judge the Honorable Peter C. Anderson has decided to
postpone the hearing on the DNR's request to lift the injunction on the
training and use of dogs to pursue wolves, originally scheduled for 20 December
2012, to 4 January 2013 at 1:30pm. Judge Anderson has concerns for the bad
weather forecasted to hit our area during this time. Judge Anderson has no
problem with parties appearing by phone should this date not work for
appearances in person. Also, there has been a media request from Channel 3
(WISC TV) to have cameras in the courtroom.
On 4 January 2013, Dane County Judge
the Honorable Peter C. Anderson held a hearing on the DNR's request to lift the
injunction on the training and use of dogs to pursue wolves.
The Judge issued a
two part Ruling. Basically, he ruled that, under the existing law, dogs CAN be
used to track and hunt wolves. However, since the DNR's existing rules for
training dont take wolves or the danger they pose to hounds into account,
the TRAINING of dogs to hunt wolves IS PROHIBITED.
Circuit Court Judge
Anderson stated in his ruling, the majority of folks in Wisconsin OPPOSE
using dogs to hunt wolves, but lawmakers and the DNR (apparently) sought to
satisfy special interests, a small number of dog owners interested in engaging
in this extreme conduct.
On 16 January, in
order to clarify the ruling, Judge Anderson repeated his declaration that the
Natural Resources Board has the authority to promulgate emergency and final
rules for the safe and humane use of dogs in the tracking of wolves. And he
ordered the board to decide within 45 days whether it will exercise its
At a public hearing
before the Natural Resources Board's regular monthly meeting on 19 February,
the opposition to wolf hunting with dogs was vehement and heated. However, even
after this testimony, the board voted unanimously that no new emergency rules
are needed, but the permanent rule-making process will continue, with a target
date of June 2014. For the 2013 season, the current emergency rules will
continue in effect.
Please click here for the Agenda Item justifying no additional
rules that was presented at the DNR"s February Board Meeting..
WI State Journal article on NRB Public
8 April 2013 UPDATE: We
asked everyone to attend the DNR's spring Public hearings, April 8th at 7 pm,
in all 72 counties in Wisconsin to register your opinion on the use of dogs to
here for hearing information and locations.
A questionaire was
provided for all attendees to give their opinions on a variety of topics, but
we were most interested in Question 68 on page 41, which asked:
"Would you favor legislation to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt
and training dogs to hunt wolves?"
For those of you who
would like to become more involved for wildlife in Wisconsin -- did you realize
that ANYONE can run for election as a Wisconsin Conservation Congress Delegate?
The election will be the first item on the hearing agenda, and would be a great
opportunity to get some non-hunter or trapper voices heard.
Complete Information on Conservation Congress Delegate
On 20 March 2013, Senators Risser,
Hansen, and Carpenter, introduced Senate Bill 93in the WI State
Senate. This bill prohibits the use of dogs for wolf hunting.(Read text here.)
Said Sen. Risser in a
press release: If hunting wolves is going to be
permitted in Wisconsin, we must strive to make the hunt as responsible and
humane as possible.The Natural Resources Board has failed to issue meaningful
regulations regarding this issue and the best option is to prohibit dogs in
this hunt. Using dogs in the hunt will provoke ferocious encounters with wolves
and is wholly inhumane. It is nothing more than state-sanctioned dog
fighting. (Read entire press release here.
The bill is being
cosponsored by Representatives Clark, Pope, Sargent, Pasch, Berceau,
Hesselbein, Hulsey, Hebl, C. Taylor, Johnson, Bernard Schaber, Wachs, Barnes,
Ohnstad, Hintz and Sinicki who, on 26 March 2013, introduced a companion bill,
Assenbly Bill 94, on the floor of the Assembly. Senators Risser,
Hansen, and Carpenter cosponsored the assembly bill. (Read text here.)
On 10 April, Sen.
Miller was added as a coauthor, and on 29 May, Rep. Bewley was added as a
cosponsor to SB 93.
AB 94 added two
cosponsors: Rep; Ohnstad on 29 April and Representative Bewley on 29 May.
BOTH bills have been
stuck in Committee since: SB 93 has been referred to the
Senate Natural Resources Committee and AB 94 to the
Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS UP TO YOU!!! If
the citizens of WIsconsin who are opposed to the use of dogs in hunting wolves
do NOT speak up NOW and urge support of SB 93 and AB 94, they may never make it
out of committee!
and email your legislators ASAP -- if they are authors or cosponsors of SB 93
or AB 94, THANK THEM! If they are not, ask them please to SUPPORT the bill --
this is NOT a Republican or a Democratic issue -- it is about DOING WHAT IS
RIGHT! If your legislator is on the Senate Natural Resources Committee or the
Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage, it is especially
imperative that you contact him/her IMMEDIATELY to support SB 93 and AB 94!
contact EVERY member of the Senate Natural Resources
Committee and the Assembly Committee on
Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage and ask THEM to support SB 93/AB
94! Even if you are not in their districts, these committee
members need to hear first-hand that the majority of folks in Wisconsin
OPPOSE using dogs to hunt wolves! Without a legislative remedy, Wisconsin,
in effect, will be sponsoring and condoning state-sanctioned animal
fightingthe setting of packs of dogs on packs of wolves with deadly and
Click here for more information, Talking Points, and how to find
your state representatives
NOTE: a bill has
also been introduced into the State Senate that would remove hunting and
trapping in state parks.
More on SB 17.
On 12 April
2013, Plaintiffs filed an Appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals from
the final judgment entered by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Peter C. Anderson
on January 16, 2013, regarding Wisconsin DNR regulations governing the use of
dogs to hunt wolves.
here for details.
2013: An "Appeal of a Final Judgment of the Dane County Circuit
Court" was filed with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District IV, on 18
July 2013. Please read the brief itself for an outstanding summary of the wolf
hunting legislation, the administrative rules (or lack thereof) pertaining to
hunting wolves with dogs, the previous legal background and rulings, and the
current arguments against using dogs to hunt wolves.
Click here for more details.
Appeal of a Final Judgment of the Dane County Circuit
In an effort to increase awareness about the
Wisconsin wolf hunt, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, a non-profit wolf advocacy
group with members all over the state, placed a billboard between mile marker
191 & 192, on Hwy A that goes over I 90/94. The controversial billboard
shows wolf families in the sights of a rifle stating "SHAME ON
WISCONSIN", with a hope to increase involvement of the public with the
non-profit and to engage tourists in voicing their concerns over the recently
de-listed grey wolf hunt.
Click here for more details.
ALERT: UPDATE TO APPEAL BRIEF IN WOLF HUNT LAWSUIT
A "Combined Reply and
Response Brief" was filed with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District
IV, on 23 September 2013. On 07/10/2014, 4th District
Court of Appeals ruled that Wisconsin hunters can train dogs to trackand trail
Reply and Response Brief
THE 2013 HUNT ENDED AT 5 PM ON 23 DECEMBER 2013. FINAL
TALLY: 257 WOLVES KILLED.
Over 40 wolves were
killed after hounds were allowed into the hunt on 2 December. Because no
depredation reparations are paid on dogs killed by wolves while hunting wolves,
we will probably never know how many dogs were killed or injured in this year's
hunt. (Please click here for an interesting article on compensations
paid for dogs killed by wolves.)
DNR: Wolf hunting and trapping for break- out by Zone)
Also according to
the DNR Report, "Given the heightened public interest in wolf hunting with
the aid of dogs, the Department conducted an additional evaluation of a sample
of carcasses to assess potential dog related injuries to wolves....Due to the
condition of the carcasses, subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema, as well as
presence or absence of injuries that didnt extend further into the muscle
layers could not be assessed. Evaluation of these carcasses was
here to read the entire report.
WI Wolf Season Report 2013 - 2014
Wisconsin 2013 Wolf
Hunting and Trapping Regulations
ALERT UPDATE: FOR SB 93/AB 94, TO PROHIBIT USE OF DOGS IN
HUNTING WOLVES, "Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution
93 and AB 94, companion bills to prohibit the use of dogs for trailing and
tracking wolves, stalled in Committee and are now
"dead."(Scroll down for complete information on SB 93
and AB 94.)
the background information
herefor a list of the
bills' authors and co-sponsors, and drop them a quick note for taking this
stand for wolves and dogs in Wisconsin. Let them know you hope to see the
legislation re-introduced when the next legislative session begins in January
NOTE: We are leaving the
Committee information for your information. You might want to keep these
representatives' names in mind during the upcoming elections.
convention on 7 June 2014, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin resolved
"that the DPW stands for agency transparency, science-based wolf
management, and lethal removal based on livestock and pet depredations."
(See page 8,
Democratic Party of Wisconsin 2014 Resolutions: 14-AGE-09:
TRANSPARENT AND SCIENCE -BASED WOLF MANAGEMENT )
On 07/10/2014, The
4th District Court of Appeals ruled that Wisconsin hunters could train dogs to
track and trail wolves. Until there are specific administrative rules in place
for tracking and trailing wolves with dogs, hunters were allowed to train
hounds to track and trail wolves under established hound training regulations.
WI Chapter NR 17: DOG TRIALS AND TRAINING,
scroll down to NR 17.04 Dog training on free roaming wild animals and
additional restrictions on dogs. (NOTE: there are apparently very few
restrictions currently on when hunters may "train" on wolves in the
WIsconsin Wolf Hunt: 10/15/2014 - 2/28/2015 (Dogs may partipate beginning on 1
As of 9 July 2014,
the WI DNR:
Wolf hunting and trapping website listed the "harvest" quota for
the 2014/2015 hunt at 156: Zone 1 - 33; Zone 2 - 26; Zone 3 - 41; Zone 4 - 9;
Zone 5 - 21; Zone 6 - 36. (Please click here for more info on location of zones.) This
is interesting, because hunting groups think this quota is too low, and the
Wisconsin Conservation Congress Wolf Advisory committee Meeting
Minutes for 12 June 2014 shows that a vote was taken and passed to request
the DNR to raise that quota to 200.
2014 Wolf Advisory Committee information and links to meeting
According to the
WI DNR: Wolf
hunting and trapping web page, the final quota for the 2014/2016 hunt was
150 wolves (154 actually killed as of 10
Dec.). Zone 1 - 32/36
actual; Zone 2 - 15/29
actual; Zone 3 - 40/30
actual; Zone 4 - 8/5
actual; Zone 5 - 20/18
actual, Zone 6 - 35/36
actual. (Please click here
for more info on location of zones.)
10 December 2014, Noon: 154
wolves reported killed in 2014 hunt. THE HUNT ENDED ON 5
Zones 1, 2, 4, 5 had been closed since 20 October. Zones 3 and 6 closed 5
Wolf Hunt Regulations 2014
According to the
Wildlife Public Trust and Coexistence, as of 12/10/2014 NRB
meeting, DNR Large Carnivore biologist reported that 8 hunters voluntarily
submitted wolf carcasses for evaluation. NONE OF THE CARCASSES VOLUNTARILY
SUBMITTED WERE FROM HOUND HUNTERS The original purpose of the voluntary carcass
inspection was to determine injuries to wolves by hound dogs during pursuit, a
grave concern by the Wisconsin public.
If you are curious as to how the
wolf hunt quotas are determined, please see the
Wolf Advisory Committee information on the Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resourdes website.
Dog Depredations by Wolves in
On Friday, 19
December 2014, Federal District Court for the District of Columbia handed down
a decision returning wolves in the Great Lakes Region, including Wisconsin,
Michigan, and Minnesota, to the Federal Endangered Species List.
You can read Judge Beryl A. Howell's decision in its entirety
Department of Natural Resources and Department of Justice legal staff are
reviewing the decision to determine how it will impact Wisconsin's wolf
Meanwhile, in brief:
Wisconsin is not authorized to implement a wolf harvest
Under Federal Law, you cannot use dogs to track and train on
The new draft of the Wolf Management Plan, which
was to be up for public comment in January 2015, will be re-evaluated to see
what changes need to be made in light of the federal court decision and the
re-listing as endangered species. There is currently no timeline for completion
of this project.
Please see the WI DNR press
Federal court decision relists gray wolves in western Great
Lakes region as endangered species for more on the situation in
For an excellent article
about all details of this breaking news, please see:
Judge orders gray wolves returned to endangered list, by
Paul A. Smith and Lee Bergquist , Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Online, 19 Dec
NEW WOLF MANAGEMENT PLAN PUT ON "HOLD" DUE TO THE 19
DECEMBER 2014 RULING TO RETURN WOLVES TO THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES
LIST. The DNR was working on a draft of permanent administrative
rules for training dogs for hunting wolves, taking into consideration such
factors as breeding and pup- rearing seasons. The new rules were to be be
posted for public comment along with the newly drafted wolf management plan
starting in January. Five public meetings in various parts of the state would
have been held, and the public would also have been invited to share input
online. The new draft of the Wolf Management Plan will be re-evaluated to see
what changes need to be made in light of the federal court decision and the
re-listing as endangered species. There is currently no timeline for completion
of this project.
You can sign up for email notifications here.
Wisconsin Wolf Season Report 2014-15. David MacFarland and
Jane Wiedenhoeft, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Of the 154
wolves harvested, trapping with foothold traps accounted for 124 (80.5%), and
30 (19.5%) wolves were harvested by hunters. Of the 30 wolves harvested by
hunters, 6 (3.8%) were hunted with the aid of dogs. Three wolves
were harvested with archery equipment; firearm was the method of harvest for
all other animals (table 3). No wolves were harvested with the use of cable
FEDERAL RIBBLE, KLINE, NEWHOUSE BILLS SEEK TO DELIST WOLVES FROM
THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT ONCE AGAIN,!
THE GOOD NEWS: On Friday, 19 December 2014, Federal
District Court for the District of Columbia handed down a decision returning
wolves in the Great Lakes Region, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota,
to the Federal Endangered Species List. (You can read
Judge Beryl A. Howell's decision in its entirety here.) This
meant NO "wolf harvest" (hunting) season, and of course, NO use of
dogs to track and train in wolves (by federal law)
THE BAD NEWS: Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble (H.R.884), Representative John Kline of Minnesota (H.R843), and Rep. Dan Newhouse (H. R. 1985) have all introduced legislation
to remove wolves from the protection of the Endangered
Species Act (ESA) once and for all. If passed, these laws would allow
the resumption of aggressive state-based population reduction programs
(trapping, hunting, and, in WI, hounding) -- and proposed bills include the
phrase "shall not be subject to judicial review," which means there
would be NO legal recourse!
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT: PHONE AND WRITE TO your
U. S Congressmen in Washington DC (the Representative of your district and BOTH
of your Senators), inform them of the imminent danger of a bill once again
delisting wolves from the protection of the ESA and ask them to:
OPPOSE any legislation to remove wolves once again from
the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
SUPPORT the January 27, 2015 petition to US Fish &
Wildlife Service which down-lists wolves from "endangered" to
"threatened" status under the ESA (thus allowing for "lethal
control" of specific problem wolves to control depredation of livestock,
if deemed necessary).
Click here for more information on the petition and/or
entire petition here.
SUPPORT a National Wolf Recovery Plan based on science,
not emotion or lobbying by special interest groups.
CLICK HERE for complete information, sample letter format, and
NEWS: On 9 June 2015, the Interior and Environment Appropriations
Subcommittee released their draft bill for FY2016. Included in the legislation
is a rider which would (among other things) require the Secretary of the
Interior to delist gray wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan
from the list of endangered species. This rider, Section 121 of the
Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, provides for the delisting of
gray wolves and would prohibit that rule from being subjected to future
(7/24/15) -- INTERIOR AND ENVIRONMENT APPROPRIATIONS BILL DID NOT PASS THE
HOUSE, DUE TO OTHER MORE PRESSING ISSUES. THE SENATE HAS NO PLANS TO BRING THE
BILL TO THE FLOOR!
Please call your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to
OPPOSE this rider, Section 121 of the Interior and
Environment Appropriations bill, as well as any other bill or rider seeking to
remove wolves once again from the protection of the Endangered Species
16 July 2015:
Court upholds conservation act in
Michigan -- wolf group lawsuit dismissed
NEWS, 30 June 2015:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Denies Threatened Status for
Gray Wolf, Rejecting Reasonable Compromise on Contentious Issue.
Read more here.
NEWS (12/29/15): The Congressional 2016 Fiscal Spending Bill passed
with NO policy riders targeting wildlife including proposals to remove
Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in Wyoming or the
Great Lakes! However, there is new legislation being proposed to delist wolves
once again. See
Wolf provision left out of massive congressional budget bill
WI Wolf Hunt in Brief WI Wolf Hunt Overview In the Media Hunting With Hounds
Wolf Hunting in Wisconsin: Mainstream Hunters Speak