Great Lakes Wolf Patrol
Five 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!
Its been a long winter of monitoring and patrolling Wisconsin's predator killing contests, but thanks to our supporters, Wolf Patrol was able to attend more coyote, bobcat and crow killing contests than any organization has ever attended before.
As state Senator Fred Risser's bill to end wildlife killing contests moves closer to becoming a reality, Wolf Patrol will continue to campaign for its passage. If you are a Wisconsin resident, please contact your elected representative to express your support for ending wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin!
Now Wisconsin's wolves and bears again need your help, even if you are not a Wisconsin resident! The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is revising its bear management plan and calling for public comments until midnight April 14th, 2019.
The revised draft plan makes mention of the concern and conflicts created by bear baiting and hound training 14 times, but offers no recommended changes to existing baiting and hound training practices.
Wolf Patrol is asking WDNR for what we believe are very reasonable compromises that would drastically reduce bear hunting related conflicts in Wisconsin:
Require registration & limit to bear bait sites.
Prohibit the use of chocolate and xylitol in bear baits.
Require license for non-resident bear hound training & baiting.
Prohibit bear baiting & hound training in WDNR Wolf Caution Areas.
Shorten bear baiting & hound training season to one month before kill season.
You can read the draft bear plan here:
When you're ready to send your comments, please email them to:
Wolf Patrol has spent the last five years fighting for changes to bear hunting practices that cause deadly conflicts with wolves in Wisconsin. Let's hope the WDNR finally listens to reason rather than only the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and other anti-wolf special interest groups!
While WDNR's public comment period ends on April 14th, what is not ending is Wolf Patrol's campaign to reform bear baiting & hound training practices in Wisconsin. Instead we will be returning to national forest lands where unlimited bear baiting and hound training is leading to deadly fights between wolves and bear hounds.
Please consider contributing to our field campaigns in 2019, Wolf Patrol remains the only organization challenging Wisconsin's controversial hunting practices in the forests and fields where they happen. And because we do, WDNR listens when we report the many out of compliance bear baits we encounter on our patrols.
Also, Wolf Patrol welcomes anyone who would like to join us on our 2019 campaign against bear baiting & hound training which begins when the season does on July 1st. If you are interested in spending one day or a week in the field with us, please contact us for a crew application.
Thank you everyone for continuing to support the local and grassroots effort to reform hunting practices in Wisconsin. While the national groups focus on legal battles, Wolf Patrol is the only organization sending real people into the woods where bear, wolves and other wildlife are literally fighting for survival.
For the Wild,
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 its 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.
This Summer Wolf Patrol has once again found numerous bear baits in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest out of compliance with the minimal regulations set by Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). These baits have been reported to WDNR, but as long as the US Forest Service continues allowing sport hunters to feed bears on national forest lands, the violations, and conflicts bear hounds cause with wolves, will continue.
Since Wisconsin's bear hound training season began on July 1st, nine deadly encounters between territorial wolves and invading bear hounds have been reported, leaving at least 5 dogs dead and many more injured. The majority of bear baiters during the training season are hound hunters using baits to attract bears their hounds can then pursue, tree or bay, but not kill until actual bear hunting begins in September.
Its time for Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials to bring an end to bear baiting and hound training in Wisconsin, where its wrecking 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.
WDNR conservation officers have assured Wolf Patrol that the bear baits we identify as being out of compliance, will be investigated. Still, the unregulated practice of dumping crap you wouldn't want to feed to your dog or any other animal continues. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest belongs to everyone, not just sport hunters and if you'd like to see an end to these practices in Wisconsin, you need to send an email to US Forest officials right now.
SEND YOUR EMAIL COMMENTS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS! We'll be combining this and Wolf Patrol's other GoFundMe into one page, so look for us also on GoFundMe: Fighting Wisconsin's War on Wolves
Thanks for Supporting Wolf Patrol since 2014!
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.
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.
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/