2014 Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Ends, Sort Of….

Wolves at Crex Meadows, 2009. Photo on WDNR website.

Wolves at Crex Meadows, 2009. Photo on WDNR website.

It was a little like coming home. The two story farm houses, the flat horizon, and the fields of corn stubble covered by snow looked much like Iowa, where I grew up. But I was keenly aware of one major difference between the two states. Wisconsin has wolves. Iowa doesn’t, at least not yet.

I spent last weekend in Western Wisconsin researching a story for Earth Island Journal. I met with Rachel Tilseth, wolf advocate and author of the informative blog Wolves of Douglas County, as well as members of the Great Lakes Wolf Patrol, a grassroots organization spearheaded by Rod Coronado (formerly with Sea Shepard). The mission of Wolf Patrol, whether in the Great Lakes or Montana, is to document the wolf hunt, educate the public, observe for poachers, and make sure hunts end when they are supposed to.

Their efforts, along with Rachel’s Twitter storm, no doubt influenced Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop this year’s wolf hunt when they did. There was talk that the hunt would continue longer, as some zones had not killed their quota, even though the overall quota of 150 wolves had been met. The extended season would have allowed hound hunters more time to go after wolves. This atrocious sport, allowed only in Wisconsin, did not legally begin until the regular wolf season ended on December 1.

On the morning of December 4 the DNR still hadn’t made a decision on when to close the hunt. Rachel and Wolf Patrol encouraged their supporters to call the DNR and demand that enough wolves had been killed. A few hours later, it was announced that the hunt would close the next day at noon, allowing for the required 24 hour notice to hunters.

Empire Pack, Douglas County, Wisconsin. Photo from WDNR.

Empire Pack, Douglas County, Wisconsin. Photo from WDNR.

I spent that final day of the hunt traveling the rough gravel roads of Wisconsin with Wolf Patrol. The only place we saw hound hunters was at the local cafe, where they sat for hours, dressed in camouflage, talking and drinking coffee. It was a relief when noon came and the hunt was officially over. But as Rod Coronado said, it was a hollow victory, because the training will continue. Hound hunters can train their dogs on wolves, bears, coyotes and other animals year round, with no restriction on pack size. As you can imagine, dogs entering wolf territory are prime targets as the wolves instinctively protect their homeland. So far this year, thirty hounds have been killed by wolves. One can’t help but wonder if the maximum $2,500 payment given to hunters by the state when dogs are lost to wolves has something to do with these losses. And one also wonders how many wolves are killed and never reported during these horrific encounters.

So although the season is officially over, when fresh snow falls in rural Wisconsin, wolves and other wildlife will continue to face bloody confrontations with hounds as hunters train their dogs year round. Once again, a minority of the population, one that finds entertainment in violent acts, continue their sport in an era when this activity should be known only as a cruel mistake of the past.

hound photo



15 thoughts on “2014 Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Ends, Sort Of….

  1. Thank you for the article!
    I have been following “wolf Patrol” and a great admirer of Rod’s work … It all did help indeed to stop DNR .. I alerted the signers of my petition ” please stop killing us”through email in hopes of soliciting donations, don’t know if it worked but educating folks is a big part of this equation
    The people who sign my petition love wolves as evidenced by their comments and remind me very much of the protesters now trying to stop the killing of Black men in the USA …this violence against vulnerable populations by the status quo seems to correlate also with the folks who have had it with the violence against women on college campuses as well as in the military …we are taking to the streets once again There is a thread of incredible injustice running though all this violence against the wild/ women and men of color in our country
    I have a feeling we are finally waking up and have decided we don’t want none ! I support anyone doing work to stop injustices of tithe aforementioned
    So more power to the people in the streets and in the woods of America to stop the killing of our wolves .. It seems a rigged system everywhere to support those who have the guns and power to perpetuate their desires
    I can’t believe we are still so barbaric in our thinking, including giving $2500 for a dog killed in training to kill our beautiful apex predators so necessary for ecosystem engineering .. A senseless and mind numbing practice and a very unsound rule allowing monies paid for sheer stupidity is beyond comprehension
    If America knew this one it wouldn’t pass the smell test!

    So time once again to stand up for the voiceless and innocents
    Keep telling the story we are listening

    BUT I have a question who is the Rachel you refer to twittering to call DNR ?
    Thank you
    I am an avid reader of yours
    Rebecca Vitale Mandich


    • Hi Rebecca.

      Thanks for reading my blog. Wolf fans are always appreciated!

      The Rachel who did the Twitter storm is none other than Rachel Tilseth, author of the Wolves of Douglas County blog. Rachel has been working for a better life for wolves in Wisconsin for a long time now. She is trained as a tracker and has a ton of savvy in the field of advocacy. Wolves are lucky to have her on their side!


  2. “Once again, a minority of the population, one that finds entertainment in violent acts, continue their sport in an era when this activity should be known only as a cruel mistake of the past.”

    Spot on, Beckie!


  3. So, Rod Coronado is involved in these wolf patrols. My god, you can’t keep this good man down! If ever there was anybody in the environmental or animal rights movement worthy of the Noble Peace Prize, this is the guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for being there so you can teach the message first hand, I pray for the time when all people learn of the sacredness of our animal cousins..


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