Great Lakes Wolf Patrol
Three years ago I started Wolf Patrol, a citizen monitoring effort that's opposed to Wisconsin's recreational wolf hunt, and other hunting practices that create violent conflicts with wolves. We believe that recovery from a war of extinction means gray wolves are allowed to recolonize suitable habitat in their former range, not just where their opponents allow. Towards that end, we have spent the last three years documenting and exposing the practices of hound hunting in Wisconsin for not only wolves, but bears and coyotes. We have also investigated the unregulated practice of bear baiting in Wisconsin, and shown how it is conditioning large predators to being fed by humans, all for a non-essential sport.
Our presence as citizens opposed to unregulated practices on public lands that negatively impact federally protected wolves and other wildlife has not gone unnoticed. Politically powerful hound hunters organized by the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association retaliated by introducing and passing an unconstitutional law in 2016, directly aimed at Wolf Patrol, that prohibits taking pictures or video on public roads and lands. This “Right to Hunt Act” as it is called, came in response to Wolf Patrol's first year in Wisconsin, and as we prepare for the July 2017, opening day of bear hound training season, we will continue to assert our right to gather data and evidence of unregulated hunting practices in wolf territory.
While there is presently no recreational wolf hunt in Wisconsin, bear hunting practices are contributing heavily to violent encounters with wolves in Wisconsin. Over the last three years, Wolf Patrol's monitoring on national forest lands has led to numerous tips to law enforcement agencies of illegal hunting activities. We also established a reward program that offers cash for information on illegal wolf killings.
In 2016, there were over 39 seperate incidents when bear hunting hounds and wolves clashed. Each Summer & Fall, bear hounds are released across northern Wisconsin, to chase and tree bears, and when these free-roaming dogs encounter wolves, often they are killed. In 2017 Wolf Patrol will be in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where over 19 of these fights took place last year. Our goal is to document bear hunting practices like baiting and hounding that cause problems for wolves and others, and ultimately see both practices banned on national forest lands.
Help Wolf Patrol led the charge to making the intentional feeding of bears and training of bear hunting hounds illegal on our national forest lands!
The stated goals of the large carnivore survey are to, “determine the number, distribution, breeding status and territories of wolves in Wisconsin, develop a sense of the abundance and distribution of other medium-sized and large carnivores in the state, and determine the existence of rare carnivores such as Canada lynx, cougar and possibly wolverine.”
For the second year, Wolf Patrol has provided trackers to the WDNR's volunteer tracking program, which has relied on volunteers since 1995. We support the goals of the survey and believe that all interested people should be involved in the development of state wolf management activity and recovery.
Since 2014, Wolf Patrol has monitored human activities in Wisconsin that negatively impact gray wolves, reporting any evidence of illegal hunting activity to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Wolf Patrol believes in working with the WDNR and all public agencies, towards the goal of wolf recovery in suitable habitat. We also believe that the best way to combat misinformation in the Wisconsin wolf debate is to gather as much information as possible, and make it available to policy and decision makers as well as the public.
Since Wolf Patrol's citizen monitoring campaign began, we have met stiff resistance from Wisconsin's bear hunters, whose hound hunting, training and bear baiting, we believe is the cause of much conflict between humans and wolves. Our efforts to document controversial hunting practices that impact wolves on public lands led to the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association lobbying for the passage of unconstitutional legislation that prohibits anyone from filming bear hunting practices like baiting and hounding. We haven't stopped.
In the latest attempt to stop Wolf Patrol from being a voice for the wolves, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association's Laurie Groskopf recently asked WDNR to not allow Wolf Patrol to participate in the large carnivore tracking survey. In a January 2017 email to WDNR, Groskopf wrote: “I don't at all see myself as a person who does unethical or illegal activities that would restrict me from doing this volunteer work. So please, stop saying that if you were forced to release an anti as a tracker, you would also have to consider releasing a tracker from the hunting community. That is not the point. The point is that any tracker should be released if they do something unethical or illegal. I certainly think, given the nature of his (Rod Coronado) felony, that allowing him to join us is dangerous and a potential PR nightmare for the DNR.”
Groskopf, who also represents the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, recently announced in letters to Wisconsin newspapers that she would be leaving the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, because they continue to refuse to adopt her resolutions which would allow unlimited hunting of wolves in the majority of Wisconsin, once the state regains wolf management authority.
In her email to the WDNR, she continued, “I don't think having an opinion or outlook is enough to deny the opportunity to track for the DNR, but I do think committing a felony is enough. It puts the DNR in a dangerous position giving this person a legitimate reason to be out driving around viewing things and filming things. His web site says he is committed to ending hound hunting. Additionally, we heard he is spending his winter in WI to monitor coyote hunting, so he will probably be here more than you might expect given his address.”
To the WDNR's credit, Wolf Patrol has not been asked to leave the tracking force, and in the end of March, we completed our fifth survey of the season in our assigned tracking block in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF). Wolf Patrol carried out the five surveys between December 2016 and March 2017, just as the last winter snow was melting. In February, we also patrolled an area of the CNNF where an illegal killed wolf was recently dumped.
In addition to providing important data on Wisconsin's returning wolf population, Wolf Patrol also is concerned about the individual packs in areas where they were known to kill bear hounds in 2015-16. Last year, Wolf Patrol documented online threats made by bear hunters against wolves responsible for killing bear hounds in northern Wisconsin. There were five separate fights between federally protected gray wolves and bear hunting hounds in Wolf Patrol's tracking block in the CNNF.
The greatest threat to Wisconsin's wolves will begin July 1st, when bear hound training season begins and bear baiting is in full swing, both at a time when wolves are most defensive against hunting dogs loosed in their territories. Last year, there were thirty-one separate fights between wolves and bear hounds, the vast majority during the two-month hound training season.
With no change in bear hound training or baiting regulations, Wolf Patrol is preparing for another summer of wolf and bear hound fights on public lands across northern Wisconsin. Beginning on July 1st, we will be monitoring bear hound training activity throughout the Chequemegon-Nicolet National Forest, where we hope one day hunting with packs of hounds will be prohibited.
Please consider donating to our monitoring efforts, but more importantly, join us! Come see for yourself what the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources & the U.S. Forest Service allows on our national forest lands each Summer as gray wolves are moving pups between dens and rendezvous sites for the first time in their lives.
Each year, thousands of bear hounds are released on national forest lands in Summer months to chase, but not kill bears. Last year, Wisconsin's minimal regulations including the removal of any license requirement for non-resident hound hunters led to a flood of out of state bear hunters looking to train their dogs when they own home states prohibit it. Wolf Patrol will be offering tours of bear hound training areas throughout the two-month training season, to journalists, writers, students or other interested citizens, in an effort to educate the public about the impact of bear hound training and bear baiting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Please help us prevent the legal dumping of millions of gallons of bear bait and the use of dog packs to chase and kill bears and wolves in our national forests.
One of our biggest achievements in 2016, was lobbying for US Forest Service officials to recognize the problem bear and hound hunters pose to wolves on national forest lands in northern Wisconsin. For the first time, USFS law enforcement officers were out in numbers, patrolling and enforcing hunting activity that Wolf Patrol was directing national attention towards. Our crew met with these dedicated protectors of public lands, who personally thanked Wolf Patrol for the work we were doing...A far cry from the arrest and prosecution that our opponents had hoped for! Instead, we provided numerous tips to federal and state authorities that led to the abandonment of bear baits that had been deemed illegal, and for the first time USFS officials announced that commercial bear hunters would now be required to possess a special permit to operate in the national forests Wolf Patrol operates in.
Wolf Patrol also participated in Wisconsin's Large Carnivore Survey, conducted by volunteers on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Our trackers help provide solid data, which dispels the myth that “wolves are taking over Wisconsin” while at the same time building healthy relationships with the biologists and conservation officers empowered to represent Wisconsin wildlife.
We also attended the DNR's annual Wolf & Bear Advisory meetings, (which are dominated by bear and hound hunters) where our members testified in support of a citizen resolution to shorten the state's bear baiting season. The resolution was dismissed, but Wolf Patrol's monitoring of bear hunting activities was not.
And it wasn't just the legal practices of bear baiting and bear hound training that we were able to expose, in 2016, Wolf Patrol also uncovered an illegal baiting operation that targeted wolves and other predators, all while investigating a “legal” coyote killing contest. Recently, I spoke to a DNR conservation officer from the area who said our reward for the killers was helping him continue to search for the culprit.
In addition, Wolf Patrol was present at numerous coyote killing contests across Wisconsin, where in their thirst for blood, hound hunters are rewarded for as many coyotes as they can kill.
Other achievements in 2016, included a week-long skillshare in Florida, to better prepare black bear defenders for a return to bear hunting after 20 years of peace. We continue to work with our Florida allies, and will gladly assist should the state ever return to sport hunting of black bears.
Another project Wolf Patrol began in 2016, was the development of a reality television show, that might one day feature Wolf Patrol's response to wildlife emergencies. A major television production company traveled with us to Montana, where they filmed us as we sought out wolf traps on national forest lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park, where some of the world's most famous wolves have been legally killed. While the pitch to Animal Planet did not make the cut, we are now working with another production company on a similar pitch to another network.
Our goal remains the successful re-colonization of wolves to the habitat they were once eradicated from. Unfortunately, many of the same misuderstandings that led to the extinction of wolves in Wisconsin and other parts of North America in the last century, are still alive and well in Wisconsin.
And while we hope that wolves in the Great Lakes ecosystem remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, it is our job to be prepared for the likely return in 2017, of Wisconsin's dreaded wolf hunting, trapping and hounding seasons.
It is our belief that Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources has failed to demonstrate a willingness to manage wolves better than the federal government. A seven-month bear baiting season, and bear hound training allowed in wolf territory during Summer months when wolves are most vulnerable with new pups, has led to violent confrontations between bear hounds, their handlers and wolf families. The Summer of 2016, was the most violent on record, and despite evidence provided to DNR, US Forest Service and US Fish & Wildlife officials, that wolves are becoming conditioned to recognize bear baits as feeding sites of their own, where other prey such as deer are regularly attracted, the practices will continue in 2017.
Now is the time to get involved. Let's not wait until the federal government returns control of wolves to the hound hunters of Wisconsin, lets act now to ensure that the federal government recognizes that legal hunting practices such as bear baiting and bear hound training are nothing more than the harassment and endangerment of federally protected wildlife.
With the continued support of Wisconsin wolf defenders, Wolf Patrol will be returning to the national forest lands of Wisconsin in 2017, to once again conduct population surveys in Wolf Caution Areas where most conflicts have occurred. We will also be looking for any illegal trapping or baiting activities in these areas over winter, when wolves remain vulnerable to poisons and traps.
The voices of the opponents of wolf recovery have spoken, and they loudly brag that a wolf seen, is a wolf killed. The DNR's own conservation officers know this, and it is one of the reasons why Wolf Patrol works closely with game wardens on the ground, who are dedicated to catching wolf poachers and illegal hunters. And while many believe the DNR care little for preventing illegal wolf kills in Wisconsin, with the media attention we have gained to the issue, they cannot ignore our reports of illegal hunting activity.
Please consider joining us in 2017. Not everyone can trail hunters and trappers across treacherous terrain, but if you can, then please consider joining our crew this winter or in Summer 2017, when the deadly bear hound training season begins. If you are unable to follow us into the field, then please review our wish list to see whether you might be able to help us acquire the equipment we need to do our job better. And please share this appeal with your friends on social media and remember the wolves of Wisconsin in this season of giving! Not a single crew member is paid, and most of us give up our regular jobs to be in the field during peak times. We do not receive a penny from national organizations, and as such, remain under-funded yet independent.
2017 will surely be the year that wildlife across America takes a hit. As corporate interests take control of those federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act, wolves in Wisconsin and the rest of the country will need your support now more than ever.
We have just returned from our fourth field patrol of Wisconsin's bear baiting & bear hound training season.
Here is a link to what we found:
In 17 days the largest black bear hunt in the nation will begin in Wisconsin, and Wolf Patrol needs your help to get there. Over the last year we have investigated and reported on illegal bear baiting activities we have encountered in the field, and last month our patrol led to the discovery of three illegal baits, all of which have since been removed.
With almost two more months of bear hound training and hunting season to go, Wolf Patrol also knows there will be many more fights occurring between wolves and hounds, and our presence in these Wolf Caution Areas is important to prevent any illegal hunting activity.
Please help Wolf Patrol continue its citizen monitoring activities on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and help us end Wisconsin's early bear hound training & baiting season!
Unfortunately, where state and federal authorities in Wisconsin fall short in preventing conflicts, is in relation to the increasing killing of bear hunting hounds by gray wolves as they are legally trained to chase black bears and lured to artificial feeding stations or “bear baits".
WISCONSIN'S WOLF/DOG FIGHTING SEASON:
Off to a record start, still legal, still funded by the Endangered Species Fund...
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that allows bear hunting hounds to be trained in summer months in wolf territory, when wolves are most active with new pups and highly territorial. In recent years, as Wisconsin's wolves continue to recolonize former territory, bear hound training has lead to an average of 10-15 bear hunting hounds being killed annually by wolves.
But thisJuly, in just the first month of bear hound training season, nine dogs have already been killed while being legally trained to chase bears in Wisconsin.
Last Summer, Wolf Patrol began to investigate Wisconsin's bear hound training and baiting season, and quickly discovered how bear hound training and bear baiting contribute to wolf conflict. Our investigations led to DNR investigating our allegations of illegal bear baiting, exposure of this conflict to the public, but it also led bear hunters to organize and pass legislation to protect their extended bear hound training and baiting season.
The new “Right to Hunt Act” hasn't stopped Wolf Patrol. We continue to investigate bear hound training and bear baiting on public lands and will continue to provide tips to DNR law enforcement authorities when we discover (as we often do) illegal hunting practices in the field. We continue our citizen-led investigations and patrols with 100% public financing, and are continuing our investigation into bear hound training and bear baiting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
While the DNR establishes 4-mile “Wolf Caution Areas (WCA)” where any hunting hound is killed by wolves in Wisconsin, what they cannot do is close the areas to hound training, bear baiting or hunting (which requires legislative action.) Instead, hound hunters continue to release their dogs in known wolf pack territories, and the deaths multiply within known WCA's.
With this month's nine reported bear hound deaths, I'm now asking for public support to investigate and patrol new Wolf Caution Areas where wolves are fighting with hunting hounds.
If you believe as I do, that the public has a right to know what preventable practices are endangering wolves and other animals on Wisconsin's public lands, then please help Wolf Patrol return to northern Wisconsin as soon as possible. As always, our patrols will identify and document activities we believe contribute to conflicts between wolves and humans, and we will use our data to work towards legally changing outdated practices such as bear baiting and running dogs through wolf territory in summer months.
The $17,331 already raised in this campaign has kept Wolf Patrol in the field, helping prevent illegal wolf killings and other wildlife crimes for two years. In that short time, your donations have helped us highlight the threat of hound hunting and bear baiting to wolves and other animals. This appeal will help us stay in the field throughout Summer 2016, until mid-September.
In mid-September, Wolf Patrol will continue its patrols on Wisconsin's public lands during the nation's largest bear hunt which has set its quota at 4,750 black bears.
rod, anything...and I mean..a n y t h i n g......I can do to help your group...let me know. food, lodging? happy to provide. I live near the Moquah Barrens and have been witness to the mean, threatening behaviors of these guys with their guns and puckup trucks, many with out of state license plates.
Marcia -the government is baiting them, and would LOVE to collect the funds are you kidding?? seriously anyone caught is going to pay. Anyone that takes a wolf, and does not get ...caught- I hope they have a heart attack and or their family gets killed by a drunk driver.... (no just kidding)
Really is despicable these horrible people who enjoy sadistic pursuits must have been starved of oxygen before they were born making them mentally challenged . Pea brained vile scum ill donate again soon shame on America that there arn't more people concerned about wildlife glad I live in UK at least more care here .
The behavior of the wolf hunters gets more disgusting all the time. Hunting with dogs is especially despicable. It makes it harder for the wolves and puts the dogs at risk also. No one has ever been able to explain why terrorizing and killing animals is considered fun. Looks like plain sadism to me.
You know what else is perfectly legal? A live streaming night vision webcam of a trap that shows what happens to some poor beast that is attracted by the bait, for hours, on a public website. Let's show the world what animals go through for these people to make a few extra dollars from pelts.
You talk about hound hunters thinking they are above the law but you do many things that are illegal and something's you have done make you a domestic terrorist and yet people follow you like you are some sort of a leader. Rod should be in prison not interfering with hounds and people like seen yesterday and as soon as someone stands up to him he begs people for money if Rod had a real job like most people he wouldn't have to beg people for there hard earned money. Hopefully soon people will realize his joyriding is totally funded by hard working people who follow like sheep
This would be a scientifically-appropriate project (I know, not currently politically acceptable) for the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network. Request for Proposals open through 6/6/2016. http://wiatri.net/cbm/Partnership/
How do you know these are bear hunters? Just because they are on federal land during a bear season makes them bear hunters? The only dog box i see is on your truck. Also where in the video did the driver say he was law enforcement? Just supposed to take your word for it Rod?
I'm sorry but law enforcement does NOT get involved in hunting AT ALL. If this were legit he would have said he was a GAME WARDEN and had a UNIFORM on as would any law enforcement on duty. Impersonating law enforcement officers is a very serious crime.
Wish I could help money wise, but know that I will share & support you in the ways I can!!!! Solidarity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!