Biden administration mum on gray wolves endangered species listing

Biden administration mum on gray wolves endangered species listing (ktvq.com)

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Photo by: National Park Service via AP, FileFILE – In this March 21, 2019, aerial file photo provided by the National Park Service, is the Junction Butte wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park.By: Jacob Fischler – Daily MontananPosted at 8:51 AM, Apr 05, 2021 and last updated 7:51 AM, Apr 05, 2021

A controversial decision in the last months of the Trump administration to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list led to a massive overhunt in Wisconsin this year that Ojibwe tribal representatives said disrespected their wishes.

But there’s no indication yet that the Biden administration will attempt to roll back that move, despite an order the day President Joe Biden took office that departments across the government review decisions from the previous four years that were “damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest.” The order specifically cited the gray wolf delisting as one to reconsider.

It’s also unclear what effect the three-day hunting season in Wisconsin, where hunters killed nearly double the state’s non-tribal quota, will have on other states.

The season was held in late February after a Nov. 3 Fish and Wildlife Service order removed gray wolves from the endangered species list in all of the lower 48 states, mostly affecting the Great Lakes region. Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains had already been delisted federally.

A Wisconsin judge ruled in February that state law required a wolf hunting season. The state set a limit of 119 wolves that could be harvested by the general public, with an additional 81 reserved for the Ojibwe tribes.

The tribes intended not to harvest wolves, but to use their quota as a means for conservation, said Dylan Jennings, a spokesman for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a group that represents 11 Ojibwe tribes in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.https://85a9b590766c8489fb86c7a4c79aed8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Hunters killed 216 in just three days.

“The second it gets beyond a certain threshold, there’s a quick and irrational desire to hunt them again,” Jennings said.

Jennings’ group opposed the hunt because of biological factors and because of the reverence for wolves in Ojibwe culture.

The animal’s fate is seen as tied to the Ojibwe people, and they view policies throughout U.S. history where the government has sought to remove both Native Americans and wolves as strengthening that shared existence, Jennings said.

“What happens to one happens to the other,” he said. “There’s a mirror prophecy…. And that mirrored history is pretty fresh in the minds of a lot of our tribal nations.”

Although the state was forced by the court decision to hold a hunting season, Jennings said tribes were not meaningfully consulted.

“When you’re pushing for a hunt to happen in a week’s time, you’re essentially saying ‘We’re going to bypass the tribal consultation process,’” Jennings said. “And that’s exactly what tribal communities viewed as happening.”

The timing of Wisconsin’s hunt, when females may be pregnant and wolf pelts are not as valuable, added a layer of disrespect, the group said in a statement before the season opened.

Representatives for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources did not return messages seeking comment Friday.

Managing large carnivores

Government management of large carnivores like wolves is often controversial. The animals can pose a danger to people, livestock and the livelihoods of ranchers.

“Wolves are strong, smart and vicious predators,” Luke Hilgemann, the CEO of Hunter Nation, the organization that sued the state to force a wolf season, wrote in a March 19 op-ed for the Wisconsin State Journal. “Wolves are to be respected and revered. But too many of any species — particularly predators — can wreck the entire ecosystem.”

In neighboring Minnesota, wolf populations have remained strong since before the animal was listed on the federal endangered species list, said Dan Stark, a large carnivore specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The population has hovered around 2,700 for the past three years, about double the 1,250-1,400 goal that federal authorities set.

Stark said he didn’t have enough information about the Wisconsin season to speculate about how it might affect Minnesota’s management plan, but that examples from across North America, including Wisconsin’s, helped inform best practices for wolf hunting.https://85a9b590766c8489fb86c7a4c79aed8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“Anything we can learn about what methods were allowed or what steps were taken to manage and provide the controls for that season closure could help inform us as we develop or if we adopt a proposal for a season,” he said.

Minnesota DNR policymaking committees include tribal members and formal tribal consultation is also part of the process, as is consultation with people concerned about wolves preying on livestock, Stark said.

The department’s review of its wolf management policy was slowed by the pandemic, Stark said. A review committee would likely have a plan ready for public review in the summer and a final recommendation in the fall.

Jennings said there was no indication of how the federal government might act. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is the first Native American person to hold that office, but tribal communities understand her job goes beyond their concerns, Jennings said.

Other than citing the gray wolf in the executive order, the Biden administration has not given any other sign it intends to undo the delisting, which could be a lengthy process.

“The administration cannot simply yank back the rule,” said Kristin Boyles, a staff attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group suing the federal government over the delisting.https://85a9b590766c8489fb86c7a4c79aed8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

If the agency agreed the rule was invalid, it could begin a new rulemaking process to put the gray wolf back on the list, she said.

The government’s answer to the Earthjustice suit is due April 19.

A spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment. A spokesman for the Interior Department did not return a request for comment.

The Fish and Wildlife Service kept the grizzly bear, another well-known large and potentially dangerous mammal, on the endangered species list, the service announced this week.

Wolf hunting in Montana

In Montana, where wolf hunting has been legal since a 2011 law authored by Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the state Legislature has pursued measures to expand hunting.

The Montana Wildlife Federation, which supported the 2011 law, has asked Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, to veto seven bills. The proposals include measures to allow the use of spotlights in hunts, baits near traps, the killing of more than one wolf with a single license, and other measures conservationists consider unethical.https://85a9b590766c8489fb86c7a4c79aed8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

“What we’re seeing this session is an all-out war against wolves,” Nick Gevock, the conservation director for MWF, said. “We support ethical wolf hunting, but this is something different. This is a purposeful effort to drive their numbers to a bare minimum.”

Gilles Stockton, the president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association, said the state’s official tally of around 870 wolves is likely an undercount. The animals are overpopulated throughout the state and are a threat to livestock producers, he said. Hunting is an important tool in managing that threat, he added.

The group didn’t have a position on the specific bills the Legislature has passed, but said “more aggressive methods are necessary and should be allowed.”

Many in western Montana, where wolf populations are more plentiful, have advocated for similar measures for years, Gevock said. But with the state now led by a Republican governor after 16 years of Democratic control, the chances of enactment are greater.

Gevock said the governor’s office has not said if it will veto the bills.

State authorities fined Gianforte earlier this month for killing a wolf without first taking the proper training course.

Tribal officials hopeful new Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland can end wolf hunting in Wisconsin

https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/native-american-issues/2021/03/22/interior-secretary-deb-haaland-could-impact-wisconsin-wolf-hunting/4731055001/?fbclid=IwAR30yH5sjqAaeG5013apZDUyOQyBLLX_WuXUvrUi3tMY_KyJ6-Zh37274Hc

Frank VaisvilasGreen Bay Press-GazetteView Comments0:580:58https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.447.1_en.html#goog_509034820about:blank

Tribal officials, especially those from Ojibwe nations in northern Wisconsin, are hopeful new U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland can help restore protections for gray wolves and stop another hunting season this fall.

Haaland was confirmed by the Senate last week as the first Native American to head a presidential cabinet department.

The agency manages 480 million federal acres, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

Haaland, 60, a citizen of the Pueblo Laguna tribe in New Mexico, had faced stiff criticism from Republican senators for past statements opposing fossil fuel extraction in favor of clean energy and for tweeting that “Republicans don’t believe in science.”

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Native American Caucus co-chair, speaks to reporters on March 5, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Haaland as interior secretary. The historic pick would make her the first Native American to lead the powerful federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation's tribes for generations.

Environmental groups applauded her confirmation, and tribal officials in Wisconsin are optimistic her office can address environmental concerns in the state.

These include officials from at least three Indigenous nations: the Lac du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles and Sokaogon Ojibwe nations, who all want a stop to the hunting of gray wolves in northern Wisconsin.

RELATED:Tribal leaders in Wisconsin applaud Biden’s Native American pick for Cabinethttps://f79f421de91e875232769e1a464fa0c1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The gray wolf, or Ma’iingan, plays an important role in Ojibwe culture. The Ojibwe believe man arrived in the world after the rest of creation, but soon became depressed and lowly in spirit because he felt alone. Creator then introduced man to the wolf, and the two became brothers. 

“This forms the foundation of the Ojibwe relationship with wolves today,” said Peter David, a biologist for the Odanah-based Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. “We consider the wolves’ best interests.”

The Ridges Sanctuary holds a free, two-part class.on learning to track carnivore mammals, such as the wolf.

David said tribal officials favor non-lethal methods in resolving conflicts wolves might have with the pets and livestock of people in and around forested areas where wolves hunt.

Conservationists say that while some farmers may lose more livestock than others to wolves, the estimated total livestock lost to all predators in Wisconsin is about 1%. They also argue there is some evidence that wolves play a large role in helping to create a much healthier ecosystem, but more research is needed.https://f79f421de91e875232769e1a464fa0c1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated in late winter 2020 that there were about 1,195 wolves in the state, the highest in recent years.

The population comeback of gray wolves prompted the Trump administration last fall to remove the animal from the federal endangered species list, paving the way for Wisconsin to once again have a wolf hunting season.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission represents 11 Ojibwe nations in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan in their treaty rights to hunt, fish and harvest in Ceded Territory outside the reservations.https://www.usatodaynetworkservice.com/tangstatic/html/pgrb/sf-q1a2z3be0d353f.min.html

The treaties with the U.S. guaranteed these rights to the Ojibwe in exchange for the government taking Ojibwe land.

As part of an agreement with the DNR, GLIFWC can claim a portion of the sustainable harvest in the Ceded Territory.

Although GLIFWC officials are not commenting whether Haaland’s office can have an impact on restoring protections for gray wolves, they did claim a portion of the quota the DNR set to be killed this winter.

Wisconsin’s minimum wolf population was recently estimated at nearly 900.

That harvest goal was 200 wolves, and GLIFWC claimed a quota of 81 with the intention of protecting that number from being killed.

The gray wolf is still a protected species under tribal codes of law.

Only 119 wolves were allotted to be killed, but hunters and trappers killed a total of 216 this winter. Tribal officials feel slighted by this, and other issues, and believe Haaland can help better protect their interests.Your stories live here.Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.Create Account

“Our legal right to meaningful consultation by state government about mining, protected species (including gray wolves), chronic wasting disease, air and water pollution and many more decisions impacting life-sustaining resources for future generations is often given short shrift or completely ignored,” said John D. Johnson Sr., president of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “Respect for our culture and traditions is consistently denigrated by many in power, and we believe Secretary Haaland can make a big difference in protecting our people, our culture and our traditions.”

Officials with other Indigenous nations in the state are hopeful Haaland’s office can help address other environmental concerns.

Brandon Yellowbird-Stevens, vice chairman for the Oneida Nation Business Committee, said Haaland’s office can have a major positive environmental impact in the Green Bay area.

“She’ll have an impact on all of northeast Wisconsin,” he said.

That might include increasing funding for the Silver Creek Pilot Program, which aims to reduce phosphorus runoff from farm fertilizer into streams in northeast Wisconsin.

Yellowbird-Stevens said the Oneida Nation has already been able to reduce runoff by 90% working with farmers on the reservation by constructing buffers in swales.

He said her office might also help increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to increase the health of the Great Lakes.

“Invasive species are the main concern,” Yellowbird-Stevens said.

It is unclear whether Haaland’s office would have a direct impact on some of the other high-profile environmental concerns challenged by Indigenous nations, such as the Back Forty Mine

The Menominee Nation, in federal court, has challenged efforts by Canada-based Aquila Resource to start an open-pit mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that would extract gold, silver, zinc and copper.

Tribal officials argued the mine would negatively impact the environment, affecting the water in the region, which is historically significant to the Menominee Nation.

Attorney Janet Brimmer, who has represented Menominee Nation in the case, said that although the mine is near the Menominee River, the tribe hasn’t had much of a say in permit applications because the mine is in Michigan.

She said she doesn’t foresee Haaland having much effect on mining permits, but Haaland could possibly encourage Michigan officials to share more information with Menominee Nation officials and improve communication.

Brimmer said Aquila’s efforts are in limbo after a wetland permit was denied by a Michigan judge and the mine is not moving forward at this point, but the company could try again later this year. 

But with Haaland being a citizen of an Indigenous nation, tribal officials in Wisconsin believe she understands the effects environmental policy has on reservations, and the country as a whole and they believe she will represent them.

“The Unites States plays an enormous role in setting climate, natural resource and environmental policies that impact the entire planet,” said Shannon Holsey, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation. “Perhaps no federal agency has a greater share of that role than the department of the interior. … Rep. Haaland … represents a person who will have a deep understanding of all the responsibilities of the secretary of the Interior

Wisconsin opens early wolf hunt after hunter group sued

https://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/news/article/Wisconsin-opens-early-wolf-hunt-after-hunter-15969509.php

TODD RICHMOND, Associated PressFeb. 22, 2021Updated: Feb. 22, 2021 2:56 p.m.

FILE - This July 16, 2004, file photo, shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. Wisconsin wildlife officials opened an abbreviated wolf season Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, complying with a court order to start the hunt immediately rather than wait until November. The hunt will run through Sunday, Feb. 28 across six management zones.
FILE – This July 16, 2004, file photo, shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. Wisconsin wildlife officials opened an abbreviated wolf season Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, complying with a court order to start the hunt immediately rather than wait until November. The hunt will run through Sunday, Feb. 28 across six management zones.Dawn Villella/AP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wildlife officials opened a wolf season Monday after hunting advocates sued to move the start date up from November amid fears that the Biden administration might restore protections for the animals.

The hunt will run through Sunday across six management zones. The DNR set the kill limit at 200 animals, with 119 allocated to the state and the other 81 allocated to Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes as per treaty agreements. However, the Chippewa regard the wolf as sacred and will not hunt it, leaving the working kill limit at 119.

The DNR estimates that there are at least 1,000 wolves in Wisconsin and its aim is to maintain a population of 350. The agency issued 2,380 permits, or 20 times its kill limit for non-tribal members. Department officials said Monday that they received 27,151 applications.

Wisconsin law requires the DNR to run a wolf hunt from the beginning of November through the end of February. But wolves have been bouncing on and off the federal endangered species list for the past decade. The DNR ran its first hunt in 2012 after the Obama administration removed protections and ran two more before a federal judge re-listed the animals in late 2014.

The Trump administration delisted wolves in most of the U.S. again in January. The DNR was preparing to hold a season in November, but a Kansas-based hunting advocacy group, Hunter Nation, won an order from a Jefferson County judge that forced the agency to hold a season before the end of February. The group argued that President Joe Biden’s administration could restore protections for wolves before November and deny hunters a season.

Wolf management has been one of the most contentious outdoor issues that Wisconsin has grappled with over the past 20 years.https://76d961ea361c0da475844b09a515da55.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.htmlRead More

Northern Wisconsin farmers and residents say wolves kill their livestock and pets. According to DNR data, the state paid a total of $189,748 in 2019 to farmers and dog owners to compensate them for losses to wolves. It paid out $144,509 in 2018 and $102,600 in 2017.

Conservationists counter that the wolf population isn’t stable enough to support hunting them and that the animals are too beautiful to allow it.

Legislators in neighboring Minnesota have introduced dueling bills that would ban hunting wolves in that state and mandate a season. Maureen Hackett, founder and president of Howling for Wolves, a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization, issued a statement Monday condemning the Wisconsin hunt.

“As apex predators, (wolves) have the social and biological structure to control their own pack sizes and numbers,” she said. “The political decision to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf is against public sentiment and sound science.”

An animal rights group calling itself Wolf Patrol planned to monitor hunters across the northern management zones starting Monday. In 2016, then-Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill prohibiting people from bothering hunters in the woods in response to allegations that Wolf Patrol members followed and filmed wolf hunters in Wisconsin and Montana in 2014.

The Wisconsin DNR still plans to go ahead with another season starting in November.

___

This story has been updated to correct that the DNR issued 2,380 permits, not 4,000.

___

Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter: https://twitter.com/trichmond1

Court won’t hear appeal to stop Wisconsin wolf hunt

DNR sets harvest quota of 400 wolves
DNR sets harvest quota of 400 wolves(WBAY)

Court won’t hear appeal to stop Wisconsin wolf hunt (wsaw.com)

By Associated PressPublished: Feb. 19, 2021 at 3:51 PM PST|Updated: 18 hours ago

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has dismissed a Department of Natural Resources request to stop the wolf hunt, which is scheduled to begin next week.

The DNR was appealing a court order that requires a hunt this month. Although the Natural Resources Board authorized the wolf hunt on the judge’s orders, the DNR was nevertheless appealing the Jefferson County judge’s order which said the agency violated hunters’ constitutional rights (see related story).

But the appeals court says that the order was not a final judgment, so the appellate court has no jurisdiction over the appeal.

The weeklong wolf hunt will run from Feb. 22 through Feb. 28, and the permit application period closes at midnight Saturday. The state will issue 4,000 hunting licenses. Up to 200 animals will be allowed to be harvested.

Natural Resources Board approves kill goal of 200 wolves for February hunting and trapping season

Paul A. SmithMilwaukee Journal SentinelView

https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/outdoors/2021/02/15/wisconsin-wolf-hunting-and-trapping-season-planned-feb-22-28/6750136002/

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The Natural Resources Board on Monday unanimously approved a statewide harvest quota of 200 gray wolves in a hunting and trapping season planned for Feb. 22-28 in Wisconsin.

The kill goal would be spread across the state’s six wolf management zones, excluding American Indian reservations.

Permit applications ($10) will be available beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday through midnight Saturday. Winners can purchase a $49 license beginning Feb. 22.

The flurry of activity comes after a Jefferson County judge ruled last Thursday  that the Department of Natural Resources must hold a wolf hunting and trapping season this month.

State law calls on the DNR to hold a hunting and trapping season running from early November to the end of February if the wolf is not on the endangered or threatened species list. 

The Natural Resources Board approved a statewide harvest quota of 200 wolves for a hunting and trapping season planned from Feb. 22 to 28.

The wolf was removed from the federal Endangered Species List on Jan. 4; the DNR planned to wait until November to begin the next wolf season. The board, which sets policy for the DNR, agreed in a 4-3 vote at its Jan. 22 meeting. 

But Thursday’s ruling by Jefferson County judge Bennett Brantmeier forced the DNR and NRB to implement a season this month.https://2ab5fb641878beb095eb3234bac4b38a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The ruling is being appealed in District Court I in Milwaukee County; the appeal was filed last Friday. Attorneys representing the DNR and NRB also submitted a motion seeking an expedited stay. The motion asks the appeals court to rule by 5 p.m. Monday.

Absent any new legal ruling, the DNR and NRB are proceeding with the wolf hunting and trapping season.

Monday’s board meeting was held by Zoom and lasted less than an hour. No public testimony was permitted.

Push For Wisconsin Wolf Hunting Season This Winter Fails

By SUSAN BENCE JAN 25, 2021ShareTweetEmail

https://www.wuwm.com/post/push-wisconsin-wolf-hunting-season-winter-fails?fbclid=IwAR2466f6n-lgKxsXrKS35ORl5p4mtwD3mNYl66tiVN6cyZw3keJpMQpGy-s#stream/0

  • One of the concerns raised about a proposed late winter hunting season is that it could disrupt the wolf breeding season.UW-STEVENS POINT

ListenListening…5:49WUWM’s environment reporter Susan Bence reports on a Natural Resources Board special meeting to consider a call to hold a wolf hunting and trapping season this winter.

The controversy over how the gray wolf, humans, livestock and pets can coexist is not new. The wolf has been on and off of the federal endangered species list within the last decade.

Early this month, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service delisted the wolf, transferring its management to states.

A dozen Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin sent a letter to the state’s Natural Resources Board urging approval of a hunt this winter. The letter resulted in a special board meeting Friday to discuss the issue.

Sen. Rob Stafsholt reminded the board about the 2011 statute requiring — whenever the wolf is delisted — an annual hunting and trapping season from early November through February.

“Hunting and trapping regulations from the 2014 wolf harvest season could easily be used for a current season. Science was already used for that regulation book; no new science is needed,” he said.

The Natural Resources Board sets wildlife management policy for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to follow, which includes hunting seasons.

Wisconsin has held three concurrent annual wolf harvests, the last in 2014. DNR officials are proposing the next kick off November 6, 2021.

Wildlife and Parks Division Administrator Keith Warnke said that gives the DNR time to factor in the latest science — both biological and social. He said one of the first steps is updating the state’s wolf management plan.

“Our goal is to launch a wolf management webpage in early February, launch a public input process in late April or early May, and host the first of four public meetings on the wolf management plan in July,” explained Warnke.

The need of an updated management plan now is a point of contention.

“The management plan that’s in place now, it is solid science. Clearly the science in the current plan would be fully protective of the wolf population of the state of Wisconsin,” said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and a former DNR secretary.

Now-retired DNR wildlife biologist Adrian Wydeven headed Wisconsin’s wolf recovery program and helped craft the existing management plan more than 20 years ago. Wydeven said new research — including population modeling and people’s attitudes about sustaining a wolf population — needs to be considered to properly steward wolves now and into the future.

“We’ve got more information on just the ecological benefits of wolves, the potential impact on things like chronic wasting diseases and using that as a factor. I think there is a lot of work that has been done since the 1999 plan that needs to be included in updating this new wolf harvest system,” he said.

On Friday, lots of people had a lot to say about the gray wolf — over four hours of testimony. At least 800 watched remotely, and more than 1,000 comments flooded the Natural Resources Board inbox.

Ryan Klusendorf wanted anyone listening to know that his fourth generation 120-cow dairy farm “on the edge of the Northwoods” in Medford is being threatened by wolves.

“Our first known harassment started in 2011 and has not stopped since and I move my cattle within 100 feet of my buildings at night to protect them, and all it did was bring wolves closer to my children as well,” he said. “I plead with you, rural Wisconsin needs the hunt now.”Wildlife specialist Abi Fergus commented on behalf of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa during the special Natural Resources Board meeting.CREDIT SCREEN SHOT

Abby Fergus said tribal input must be factored into Wisconsin’s wolf management and harvest plan. Fergus is a wildlife specialist for The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and spoke on behalf of her tribe.

“Bad River and other Anishinaabe bands have stewarded relationships with Ma’iingans (wolves) since time in memorial and hold great knowledge in this area,” she said.

Fergus warned that a decision to hold a wolf harvest in February may create unintended consequences.

“I’d like to point out the high potential for a hunt concentrated during the sensitive mating season would entail even more negative and more unpredictable impacts. Wolves that survive may experience pack breakup and these situations can lead to increased livestock depredation,” she said. “The state has legal obligations to be working with the tribes on this.”

In the end, the board took up a motion to open a wolf hunting season no later than February 10, using the 2014 harvest quotas.

It was voted down 4 to 3, after a lengthy discussion about obligations under a 1983 federal court ruling that clarified treaties signed in the 1800s with Ojibwe tribes.

DNR Chief Legal Counsel Cheryl Heilman explained the state is required to consult with tribes before, not after, a harvest plan is finalized.

“The usual process is that if the department has a committee, and so we have a wolf committee. There needs to be tribal representation. And setting the quota, ordinarily the process would allow us to consult with the wolf committee to get that tribal input. There are other ways that the department could get the tribal input, but I believe based on at least the testimony I heard here today, you haven’t yet taken that step,” she said.

For now, it looks like the DNR will move forward with updating its management plan and approving a hunt starting November 6 after, the agency says, “working collaboratively and transparently with the wide array of diverse interests associated with wolf management in Wisconsin.”

Gray wolf once more under state management, allowing lethal control

Paul A. SmithMilwaukee Journal SentinelView Comments0:530:59https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.433.1_en.html#goog_964157661

https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/outdoors/2021/01/09/wolf-delisted-jan-4-allowing-state-management-species/6594929002/

The gray wolf was removed Jan. 4 from the federal Endangered Species List, allowing state agencies to resume management authority for the species.

The gray wolf has been removed from the federal Endangered Species List, allowing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies to assume management of the species.

The delisting decision, announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in late October and published in early November, became effective Jan. 4.

The change allows lethal measures to be used on the animals, including the killing of wolves that cause depredation of livestock as well as the use of hunting and trapping seasons to manage populations of the native predators.

In a statement, the DNR said it has “successfully managed gray wolves for decades and will continue to do so in accordance with the laws of our state and the best science available.”

The state most recently held management authority over wolves from 2012-14, when it held three hunting and trapping seasons and killed 528 wolves. A federal judge returned wolves to the Endangered Species List in Dec. 2014.

Wisconsin law requires a wolf hunting and trapping season to be held when the species is not under protections of the Endangered Species Act. The DNR plans to begin the next wolf season Nov. 6.

The agency also said it is working to complete a 10-year wolf management plan to help guide future management decisions for the species in Wisconsin.

A map shows gray wolf packs in Wisconsin detected in a 2019-20 winter tracking survey.

Although delisted, it remains unlawful to shoot a wolf unless there is an immediate threat to human safety. Or, if on private land, a wolf can be shot and killed if it is in the act of killing or wounding livestock or a domestic animal such as a pet.

The delisting also triggered a change in the funding source and the timing used to pay for wolf depredations. The monies must now come from proceeds of sales of wolf hunting and trapping licenses and applications. When protected by the ESA, the compensation is drawn from the state’s endangered resources fund.https://3e22d27c5b1ac2c4e967ae96df5b0471.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Under state management, the payouts for wolf depredations will also be delayed until the end of the year, and could be pro-rated based on available funds, said Brad Koele, DNR wildlife damage specialist.

State statute allows payments of $2,500 to hound hunters and others who have lost dogs to wolves. But that could be reduced if insufficient funds are available.

Wolf depredations in Wisconsin were running higher in 2020. A DNR report through the end of October showed 90 confirmed or probable wolf depredations, compared to full-year depredations of 82, 73 and 61 in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

No wolf depredation of a farm animal or pet has occurred in Wisconsin so far in 2021, according to state data.

The DNR estimated the 2019-20 Wisconsin wolf population at a modern-era high of 1,195 animals and 256 packs.

The population of gray wolves in Wisconsin increased to a modern-era high in late winter 2020, according to an estimate from the Department of Natural Resources.

No case of a wolf attack on a human has been verified in Wisconsin history.

If wolf depredation is seen or suspected, the public should contact USDA-Wildlife Services at (800) 228-1368 in northern Wisconsin and (800) 433-0663 in the rest of the state. 

The agency, which is contracted by the DNR, will send a staff member to the site to conduct an investigation. https://3e22d27c5b1ac2c4e967ae96df5b0471.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

To assist with the investigation, USDA-Wildlife Services recommends not moving or unnecessarily handling a carcass as well as preserving any evidence at the kill site by using a tarp to cover a carcass to discourage scavengers and preserve any tracks, scat and other material.

The delisting was opposed by American Indian tribes and many environmental and animal protection organizations. 

Several groups, including Defenders of Wildlife, have vowed to overturn the delisting through legal action.

Wisconsin reports 1,165 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, another single-day record

Natalie BrophyAppleton Post-Crescent0:001:33https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.400.1_en.html#goog_1674849591

https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2020/08/08/wisconsin-coronavirus-1-165-new-covid-19-cases-another-record/3326419001/

Wisconsin health officials reported an additional 1,165 people have tested positive for COVID-19, another single-day record. 

Those positive cases made up 8.9% of the 13,162 test results reported by the Department of Health Services on Saturday. The seven-day average for positive tests stands at 6.1% as of Saturday. 

The state health department also reported Saturday that six more people have died, bringing the state’s total number of deaths to 996. Those who have died as a result of COVID-19 make up 1.7% of all those diagnosed, according to DHS. The majority of deaths are among those 70 and older. https://www.usatodaynetworkservice.com/tangstatic/html/papn/sf-q1a2z32fe45021.min.html

RELATED: Small businesses say masks, distancing are key to protecting and reviving local economies

RELATED: UW-Oshkosh football players, coach deal with canceled season

In total, 59,933 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin. According to the state health department, around 16% of those cases remain active. DHS defines an active case as someone who is still alive, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 30 days, and still has symptoms or has not been released from isolation. https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Recent research from those studying the virus have found that even after someone has recovered from COVID-19 and no longer has symptoms, it’s possible for the virus to flare up again in some patients and symptoms can return. 

As of Saturday morning, 311 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, 96 of them in intensive care. An additional 152 patients were hospitalized awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. 

Urge Ridgeland, Wisconsin Officials to Stop Cruel Chicken Toss

Chicken being tossed from the roof of a building into a crowd of people.

https://upc-online.org/entertainment/200107_urge_ridgeland_wisconsin_officials_to_stop_cruel_chicken_toss.html

From: Letter to Dunn County Officials, Ridgeland, Wisconsin

“The chickens being subjected to this extremely stressful and terrifying situation are not enjoying themselves. Such events teach children and others that it’s acceptable to use animals for any human purpose, regardless of how trivial and cruel. Our society needs to foster respect for the other creatures with whom we share this planet. The ‘chicken toss’ is antithetical to that aspiration. I urge you to use your influence to discontinue this use of animals that is unquestionably inhumane.”
– Nedim C. Buyukmihci, VMD, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Jan. 24, 2019.

United Poultry Concerns is joining Wisconsin-based Alliance for Animals and In Defense of Animals again this year in politely urging the village of Ridgeland in Dunn County, Wisconsin to cancel the “Chicken Toss” in February, most likely Saturday, Feb. 15, since it is always held on Saturday in mid-February.

The chicken toss consists of throwing many chickens, one or two at a time, up in the air from a roof. Crowds scramble to grab the birds as they fall to the ground. The chickens huddle together, freezing and fearful, in crates and bags, waiting to be thrown by participants who consider this cruel activity fun.

There is no similarity between a chicken being pulled from a container and thrown roughly up in the air from a roof in the midst of a screaming mob, and a chicken fluttering voluntarily to the ground from a perch in a quiet place.

Feb. 16, 2019 “Chicken Toss” Report

“Today, for the second year in a row, we drove up to the Ridgeland, WI Pioneer Days event. The big attraction is throwing sick, frostbitten, terrified chickens off of a roof into a sea of drunk, crazed and violent humans. The community bills this event as a family friendly traditional chicken ‘fly.’ As if all of these birds are willing participants for the amusement and delight of the children and their doting parents. Many activists came out this year from all over the Midwest and collectively we were able to rescue 29 of these abused but wonderful birds. Some are already on their way to good homes, or to the vet. We are working on finding homes for some of the others and many will stay here with us at Farm Bird Sanctuary.”
– Todd Wilson, Alliance for Animals

 

Ridgeland residents grabbing a chicken that was tossed into a crowd

Ridgeland residents grabbing a chicken that was tossed into a crowd

Ridgeland residents grabbing a chicken that was tossed into a crowd

Ridgeland residents grabbing a chicken that was tossed into a crowd

 

What Can I Do?

Please call these Dunn County officials, and politely urge them to prohibit the “chicken toss” this year. Whether you reach a live person or a recording, leave a brief, clear, and respectful message expressing your concern for the chickens: their fear and possible injury and the frigid weather.

 

See also: UPC letter to Dunn County, WI officials, Jan. 7, 2020

Thank you for taking action for these birds.
– United Poultry Concerns

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin’s bear hunt is overkill as species face annihilation

  •  4 min to read
https://madison.com/ct/opinion/column/patricia-randolph-s-madravenspeak-wisconsin-s-bear-hunt-is-overkill/article_65827d44-a642-531d-a995-92cf61d1409b.html
“Frankly, I thought we would be a little more evolved as a species by now.” — Jim Robertson, author of “Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport”

In a Sept. 16 “Democracy Now” segment, Amy Goodman highlighted the Trump administration’s continuing assault on our public lands, opening the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR) to drilling leases: “The plan calls for the creation of landing strips, drill pads, pipeline supports, a seawater treatment plant, 175 miles of roads and other infrastructure in Alaska’s north coast.”

Goodman’s guest, Subhankar Banerjee, a professor of art and ecology at thee University of New Mexico, referenced the United Nations’ frightening report on the annihilation of species on earth: “…as I see it, (it) is a bigger crisis than the climate crisis, that is unfolding before us — the media has miserably failed to inform the public — which is the crisis of extinction … the scientists call it ‘biological annihilation.’ Earlier this year, the United Nations IPBES released what is considered, for some of us, the grimmest warning of human history, that 1 million species on Earth, which is about more than 50% of the documented species on the planet, face extinction, many within decades … since 1970, globally, monitored populations of vertebrates, which includes birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, have declined, on average, in population 60%.”

The bear hunt continues into its third week of five, Sept. 4-Oct. 8. Most of the 3,835 bears (plus agricultural tags) have been killed either by the dogs, or the men, women and children who enjoy killing bears. At $49 per bear, it is a cheaper rug than from Walmart. It is likely to be a small rug since most of the bears killed are less than a year-and-a-half old, but there is that thrill, adrenaline rush, selfie with the carcass and trophy to take home. Little bear cubs hide in a tree watching their mother be killed. The mother bear may return from running killers away from her cubs to find her cubs killed or disappeared. Little bear orphans need their mothers to teach them how to den and need mother bear’s warmth in the first winter during the human-caused dip of polar vortexes.

The bear kill is a more than $1 million dollar business for the DNR’s recruitment and retention of more wildlife killers in hunting courses across our school systems and state. But if we had a democratic structure for governing our wildlife, each of the 5.7 million citizens of Wisconsin could throw in 50 cents each and come up with over $2.5 million to save our bears and wildlife killed in traps.

Structural revolution to democratic funding will not happen under Republican cruel rule. It has not been a priority for either party. It will require public awareness and intensive pressure, urgently needed and sadly lacking.

To add to the mayhem in the woods, out of sight, the bow hunting season on deer started Sept. 14. The nine-day “traditional” deer kill was an endurance test for those of us who live with wildlife in rural areas. Now archery and crossbow killing persist through Jan. 5, 2020. Extended bow hunting seasons continue in 22 counties through Jan. 31.

Overkill is an understatement.

Wisconsin legislators and the DNR promote unregistered, unlimited bear baiting and bear hounding in our public lands July 1-Aug. 31 continuing now throughout the five-week kill.

According to Wolf Patrol, which monitors the bear hounding: “In Wisconsin, 95% of legally killed black bears are taken with the aid of bait and/or dogs. An estimated 4 million gallons of bait and 15,000 bear hounds are dumped annually in Wisconsin to attract and chase bears. And it’s not just baiting that is allowed, but as many baits as a hunter wants to use, all with no requirement for any hunting license or registration, preventing conservation officers from assuring that bear baits in our national forests are in compliance with even the minimal requirements.”

Killers from other states, or in-state, do not have to be licensed to run packs of dogs — exhausting bears, running mothers away from cubs for hours or days — just when bears should be eating every day to put on weight for winter hibernation.

An Aug. 2017 Wisconsin Public Radio segment discussed that “new research shows bear bait makes up more than 40 percent of a black bear’s diet in northern Wisconsin, and bait could be playing a role in the high density of bears up north, researchers say.” Attempts to ban chocolate in bait, which has killed bears in neighboring states, were defeated by hunters at the annual DNR election and vote in April.

The Wolf Patrol is clamoring for restraint, having reported many non-compliant bait piles and hunters with not six dogs, but 30 dogs in 10 trucks, running bears day and night in unlimited abuse:

“It’s time for Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials to bring an end to bear baiting and hound training in Wisconsin, where it’s (wreaking) havoc on wildlife and causing conflicts with wolves and other forest users. Nowhere else in the country are bear hunters allowed to dump as much bear bait as they desire, and chase the bears it attracts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Action Alert:

Please send the links to Madravenspeak bear columns to Gov. Evers and tell him that it is time for a first-time democracy in funding and fair, proportionate non-hunter participation in decisions to protect our wildlife.

Silence and inaction are complicity in this cruelty.

Over 650,000 citizens have signed a petition against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. You can sign here: https://www.change.org/p/no-drilling-in-the-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge?signed=true

Attend the world premiere of “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch,” sponsored by the Nelson Institute. from 7-9 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Marquee Theater in Union South on the UW-Madison campus.