In the Sacred Circle…

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

“The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet.” ~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~

The Remarkable Canis Lupus (Gray Wolf)…

…Designed by Mother Nature herself. From Wolves of Douglas county Wisconsin-Rachel Tilseth

A wolf walks over to a vacated white-tailed deer bed and gently blows on it. This causes all the particles to flow up into his/hers highly tuned olfactory system (the nose). “Ah ha, says the wolf,” the deer tick’s blood is full of pus from a tooth infection. The deer tick had feasted on the white-tailed deer’s blood the night before. The deer tick’s blood now reveals a sick (unhealthy) animal. This shows how the gray wolf keeps the white-tailed deer herds healthy. This is nature’s design, original, and most certainly not man made. There’s-no-big-bad-wolf-here…only politicians with agendas…

Politicians are working to delist wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan listen to WXRP by Ken Krall and Rachel Tilseth on the House Bill.

Photo of wolf belongs to owner. Graphic design by WODCW

Let’s save the Gray wolf because he/she saves us (human-kind) in the end. In the past, less than a hundred years ago, vast herds roamed throughout the planet. The vast herds were wiped out by trophy hunting & human encroachment, and now live in small pockets of wilderness surrounded by human settlements. In these small pockets animals are forced to share habitats, and just think about the consequences of different kinds of ticks eating & spreading disease all on the same animals; Animals that are isolated in pockets of wilderness surrounded by human settlements.

Federal epidemiologists also have identified 11 other tick-borne diseases that you and your family can catch:

Anaplasmosis, caused by bacteria, can be fatal in about 1% of cases, even in previously healthy people.

Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and is treatable. The tick that transmits it is about the size of a poppy seed.

Colorado tick fever is a viral infection transmitted from the bite of an infected Rocky Mountain wood tick, which lives in the western United States and Canada in areas 4,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. This disease has no treatment.

Ehrlichiosis, caused by bacteria, appears with flu-like symptoms. It is treatable has been fatal in about 2% of cases.

Powassan disease, which comes from a virus, has no specific treatment for the virus. Although only 75 cases have been reported in the past decade, it can develop into encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

Q fever comes from a bacteria that naturally infects some animals such as goats, sheep and cattle, so ticks that feed on an infected animal can transmit the disease. Only about half the people who get Q fever will have symptoms, but those people can develop pneumonia or hepatitis.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, caused by bacteria, can be transmitted via at least two types of dog ticks and Rocky Mountain wood ticks. The disease can be severe or even fatal if not treated within the first few days of symptoms that include headache, fever and often but not always a pink, non-itchy rash that starts on wrists, arms and ankles.

Southern tick-associated rash illness has an unknown cause, but researchers know that lone star ticks transmit this disease that can act like Lyme disease but isn’t caused by Lyme’s bacteria. An antibiotic can treat the symptoms.

Tick-borne relapsing fever, a bacterial infection, also can be transmitted via lice. The rare infection is usually linked to sleeping in rustic rodent-infested cabins in mountainous areas, but if not treated victims can face several cycles of three days of 103-degree fevers, headaches and muscle aches and a week without.

Tick paralysis, thought to be caused by a toxin in tick saliva, is rare but can paralyze a victim and is often confused with Guillain-Barre syndrome or botulism. Luckily, within 24 hours of removing the tick, the paralysis typically subsides.

Tularemia first infects rabbits and rodents, and the ticks that bite them infect humans. One telltale sign of infection is often, but not always, an ulcer on the skin where the bacteria entered the body; lymph nodes also become infected. USA Today 2017

The planet needs Canis lupus (Gray wolf) and other large carnivores. Large carnivores can detect diseased and weak animals.

U.S. House Passes Bill To De-List Wolves From Endangered Species

Click here to listen to full story from WXRP by Ken Krall and Rachel Tilseth

The U.S. House earlier this month passed an appropriations bill that has language in it changing the status of the gray wolf from federally protected to delisted in the lower 48 states.

This movement has been asked for by people who want to control the wolf population in the Great Lakes states, but has alarmed an advocate who wants to keep federal protection of wolves.

Rachel Tilseth has the blog Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. She has an update on the bill that passed the U.S. House… http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

“…so this bill contains language to delist the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. So what they are going to do is delist them and make sure they stay delisted in Wyoming and Montana and a couple other states out there. They also want no review of those decisions through a federal judge. They want to make sure that doesn’t happen. That would also take care of delisting the great lakes as well….”

Congressman Sean Duffy and both Wisconsin U.S. Senators, Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, have called for delisting. Last summer, a federal appeals court retained federal protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region, ruling the government made crucial errors when it dropped them from the endangered species list five years ago.

Tilseth says if the de-listing happens, then a wolf hunt will likely happen again in Wisconsin which concerns her…

“…In the last three hunts, from 2012-2014. So they will start that whole process over again and start hunting, that is, unless we can go in and get greater transparency with the public, then perhaps we can change things….”

Some hunters and farmers have called for the delisting to control the wolf population and to remove wolves taking livestock. Wolf de-listing advocates say the population has grown too large and should be controlled.

Recent reports find the number of wolves in Wisconsin leveling off. This year’s wolf count shows there are between 905 and 944 wolves in the state. That’s about a 2 percent drop from last year.

Featured photograph By John E Marriott

Urgent Action Needed to Protect the Gray Wolf from Latest Delisting Threat…

Anti-wolf Politicians in Congress are working to delist wolves in the 48 contiguous States of the United States even going as far as preventing any judicial review of this process. These politicians are undermining the Endangered Species Act itself!

Read Rachel’s blog at http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

On June 6, 2018 The U. S. House of Representatives passed a Bill: Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.

The bill contains language for delisting of Gray wolves in the lower 48 states:

…the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife…

The Bill calls for delisting Gray Wolves throughput the 48 contiguous States…

Reissuence of final Rules

SEC. 116. (a) The final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530) that was reinstated on March 3, 2017, by the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (No. 14-5300) and fur-

(b) Such issuance (including this section)—

(1) shall not be subject to judicial review; and 63 ther republished on May 1, 2017 (82 Fed. Reg. 20284) that reinstates the removal of Federal protections for the gray wolf in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and this subsection, shall not be subject to judicial review. (b) Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 9 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance (including this sub-section) shall not be subject to judicial review.

Gray Wolves Range–Wide

SEC. 117. (a) Not later than the end of fiscal year 2019, and except as provided in subsection (b), the Secretary of the Interior shall issue a rule to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in each of the 48 contiguous States of the United States and the District of Columbia from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in section 17.11 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. 2) shall not affect the inclusion of the subspecies classified as the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) of the species gray wolf (Canis lupus) in such list.

Here’s what you can do to keep Gray wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act

Contact your members of Congress and make it known that you want Gray wolves in the United States to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Members of the U.S. Congress

U.S. Senators—Get contact information for your Senators in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Representatives—Find the website and contact information for your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Take action today to save Gray wolves!

Featured image: Offspring of Mollie’s pack in Yellowstone Park show respect to their mother and father. DAN STAHLER/Yellowstone National Park

Featured image of wolf by Ian Mcallister

Wisconsin’s Elusive Gray Wolf Deserves Our Protection…

In the late 1970s wolf Recovery in Wisconsin began. The Gray wolf made a comeback after being eradicated through hunting and trapping in Wisconsin. It wasn’t long before hunting special interests groups began their bid to get Wisconsin’s Gray wolf delisted. Sadly after 40 years of recovery these special interests (Fringe hunters) hunting groups got their way. In the state of Wisconsin the Gray wolf is hunted (2012-2014) for a fireplace rug & mounted as trophy when he’s not listed on the Endangered Species List. He was delisted in 2012 and his domestic relative, the dog, was used to track and trail him until a federal judged ordered the Gray wolf back on the ESL in December 2014. Today Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is facing multiple delisting threats in congress backed by special interests; wanting the Gray Wolf’s habitat for oil & gas, lumbering, and the Gray wolf himself for trophy hunting.

Visit Rachel’s blog at http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

U.S. House Passes Bill To De-List Wolves From Endangered Species.

We must make it right…get it right…before we lose everything…the wolf is a social animal just like we are…they depend on family for survival…so do we as human-beings…

The idea that only man is equipped for conserving our planet’s natural resources is a dying concept; dying right along with the untold numbers of wild sentient beings killed in the name of conservation. Such problems drive home a critical flaw in the paradigm of conserving wildlife.

It’s going to take a major shift in thinking that will require opening up lines of communication between the general public; specifically with interests in conserving our natural resources for future generations to come. It’s not about numbers. It’s about sentient beings sharing our planet, and how we can coexist for the benefit of all living upon Mother Earth.

Changing the paradigm from killing to compassionate conservation is a major shift in thinking…

Through my mind’s eye memories flow through the years spent within the Gray Wolf’s range in Wisconsin’s northern forests in Douglas county starting in the year 2000. There you’ll find vast wilderness of forests and barrens where the Gray wolf resides.

Do you think there’s room for the Gray wolf? The following video was shot 2 summers ago in 2015. This landscape is found on a 15 mile long remote gravel road in northern Wisconsin. Do you think there’s room for the wolf?

Last summer, 2018, I visited this same area (in the video) with friend Elke Duerr and who’s filming in the photograph.

When I began helping to monitor Wisconsin’s Gray wolf in the year 2000 there were only 66 Gray wolf packs in the state. Today’s wolf over winter wolf population counts is around 945 individuals.

In northern Wisconsin beauty can be found where the Gray wolf resides. I’ve walked these trails for over two decades in search of Wisconsin’s wild & elusive gray wolf.

The Gray wolf in Wisconsin trots freely down the wild and remote gravel roads in Douglas county.

Rains of summer create a lush paradise in wolf range.

The Gray wolf in northern Wisconsin. Photograph screen shot from Red Cliff reservation trail cam.

In summer of July 2018 I met a Raven on a remote gravel road in Douglas county. Douglas county is home for Wisconsin’s wild Gray wolf.

The Gray wolf in Wisconsin deserves our protection…

Contact your members of Congress today.

Film Project: Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information. To support the film through a tax free contribution go to www.planb.foundation

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story is the story of the people that advocate to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone. In the film; Nathan Varley owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker http://www.wolftracker.com/ and president of Bear Creek Council https://www.northernplains.org/our-local-groups/bear-creek-council/. Ilona Popper writer, wolf watcher and member of Bear Creek Council. Rick Lamplugh author and member of Bear Creek Council. Marc Cooke founder of the nonprofit Wolves of the Rockies https://www.wolvesoftherockies.org/. The four wolf advocates have a story to tell. Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park contrasted against an uncertain future because of Trophy wolf hunts taking place beyond the parks borders.

Song credit: Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story Documentary Film has a 501 3c fiscal sponsor Plan B Foundation for tax exempt contributions. You can make a donation to support the work of this vital documentary film. Make your donation with Plan B today

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy – The Yellowstone Story”

A Documentary film project that tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Co Produced by Rachel Tilseth And Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. Donate Here to support this film project There’s no better place to start the story of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy than with the Yellowstone story of wolf advocate Ilona Popper.

In mid-life, Ilona Popper relocated to the edge of Yellowstone National Park to observe wildlife, especially wolves. She wanted to understand the animals through her own observations and experiences, first. Equally important to her is to live in wolf country among wolves, cougars, bears and all the animals Lewis and Clark encountered before European-American settlement. Ilona has followed wolf and cougar tracks near her home; once in awhile, she and her husband listen to wolf howls and cougar calls from their cabin.

Ilona was living in the Greater Yellowstone Area when wolf hunts were first allowed there in 2009. She saw firsthand how human hunting disrupted the social relationships between wolves, disbanded packs, and interfered with 20 years of prime wolf research. She entered wolf advocacy naively, believing that if people knew the nature of wolves and what science discovered about balances between predator and prey, they would not wish to hunt the animals.

Since then, Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”

In the following video clip wolf advocate Ilona Popper relates a story of a wolf she witnessed fall through ice. “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy – The Yellowstone Story Film Project.” Filmed with iPhone 8. Producers Maaike Middleton and Rachel Tilseth. A Wolves of Douglas County Film Project

https://vimeo.com/257697060

Ilona didn’t start out in wildlife advocacy or even biology, though she spent much of her childhood in the woods. Her passions are writing and nature. She is the author of the poetry book, Break, of poems in numerous journals, and articles about the wildlife she observes. Education B.A. English, Georgetown University 1979. M.A. English Language and Literature, University of Virginia 1981.She has an M.A. in English and has worked for 40 years as an editor, writing coach, and teacher. She continues this work but has added volunteering and working as a biology field tech for studies of wolves, bears, plants, birds, and, most recently, a study of wolf howling and communication through Montana State University. She gives talks and lectures about wildlife and she works as a wildlife guide in YNP.
Ilona is writing a nonfiction book about wolves and people and a poetry manuscript about wildlife. Her website is ilonapopper.wordpress.org.

The following is an excerpt from Ilona’s blog…

A Bone to Pick: One Pack’s Drama Over Feeding an Old Wolf (excerpt)

We saw the wolves about a mile below us. They had killed an elk at the base of a long drainage and were eating at the carcass: the black breeding female; the gray breeding male, 685M; and several of their pups, only a month away from their first birthday. Soon, their mother would whelp a new litter.

It was a snowy March morning in 2009, and I had joined two crew members of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, Hilary and Josh, who were following the Everts wolf pack for the Wolf Project’s winter study. We had hiked into the Gallatin National Forest and set up our scopes high along a steep ravine that cut sharply down to the Yellowstone River. Across the river was Yellowstone National Park, where flats and hills rose up to Mount Everts.

The wolves tugged and chewed, side by side at the carcass.

“Wow,” Hilary exclaimed. “Can you believe that!?”

“Is he taking that to her?” asked Josh.

“Yes!”

Lifting my head, I shifted my scope in the direction the two were looking, higher up on Everts. I saw two wolves; one was the graying-black Old Everts Female (OEF), lying sphinxlike on an overlook above the carcass. I caught sight of her just after 685M, the breeding male, dropped an elk leg onto her forepaws. 685M had pulled the leg from the carcass, climbed the hill to where the old female lay, and brought her the meat.

“What a mensch!” Josh said.

“I knew he was a prince,” said Hilary.

685M stood looking down at the old wolf. The OEF was about 9 years old. When she was about 4 years old, her shoulder joint had been so badly injured that, for most of her life, she held that leg straight in front of her when she traveled.

Now the old wolf remained still, perhaps to make sure 685M had truly released the food. Then she grabbed the leg in her jaws, stood and began hopping up the mountain.

But the breeding male raced ahead of her and angled his body to block her way. She paused, faced his flank and stepped past him. Again, 685M ran ahead of her and turned to stand obliquely. What was he up to? He didn’t take back the leg, but he kept halting her.

The OEF held the leg tightly and wouldn’t lay it down to take a bite. I wondered why she was so bent on traveling up the mountain. After a couple rounds of this mute conversation, the male finally gave up and trotted back to the carcass below.

Wild wolves carry food and regurgitate to pups, but they don’t usually carry food to other adult wolves, with these exceptions: all pack members bring food to the nursing mother, who mostly stays in the den for the first week or so of the pups’ lives, warming and suckling them. (Usually this is the breeding female, but if there is good hunting, packs may support additional litters.) Rising hormones like oxytocin prime all the members of the pack to focus on raising pups, and this accounts for the other exception: before “denning up,” pregnant female wolves may solicit and receive food from their mates, as if to jump-start those nurturing hormones.

So, why was 685M bringing food to the OEF? The pups were grown, they weren’t even hers, and she wasn’t pregnant. And why didn’t she eat alongside the rest of the pack? The carcass was in plain view. What exactly was the OEF’s role in this pack? Read more at Ilona Popper’s Word Press Blog

To learn more go to “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story”

To support the film project go to Plan B Foundation ” Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy” and donate

Featured image is of Ilona Popper

Snare Traps are Indiscriminate Killers, Land Mines Concealed in the Wilderness

www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com by Rachel Tilseth

…Snare Trap is a device concealed underground and baited with tantalizing attractive scents capable of causing great suffering for its victims. A male Timber wolf in northern Minnesota became the latest victim of a snare trap. He became caught in a snare trap meant to catch and ensnare small game. The snare meant for small game, became wrapped tightly around the muzzle of the male wolf. Can we even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that occurred as a result of this man-made killing device. How could the male wolf have known the tantalizing scents concealed a land mine known as a snare trap and set in his home range. The more an unsuspecting woodland creature tries to pull out of the device, the more the noose tightens around the body part caught in the trap. Certain death from starvation became the fate of the male wolf as the noose became tightly wrapped around his mouth. Several people saw the male wolf north of Duluth Minnesota, and tried to help.

I spoke with a volunteer at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation out of Duluth, Minnesota. They said, “several people saw the wolf and tried to help him.” The Wildwood’s volunteer told me Kelly Looby was able to get within a few feet of the wolf, a photographer, even making eye contact with him. She kept following the wolf, but he seemed very wary of humans, and disappeared and reappeared several times.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

Wildwoods reported the wire snare was wrapped tight around the wolf’s nose, and embedded into the nose. He clearly could not open his mouth at all. The male wolf was very thin, as was told to them by volunteer and eyewitness Kelly Looby.

“He might have been able to lick up some snow and sniff roadkill, but he had not been able to eat,” a volunteer from Wildwoods said. “He had been starving, and was a skeleton of fur and bones.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Looby

No one knows how long the male wolf suffered. He was first sighted near Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior’s North Shore earlier in the week, then north of the city in Duluth Saturday February 10th. Wildwoods reported they just didn’t have the equipment needed to catch him. Many people tried to catch him but he was too fast.

In the end the Duluth police made the heart wrenching decision to put him down at 2 pm Saturday afternoon. Wildwoods was able to examine the wolf. They reported that underneath his thick winter coat he was skin and bones.

“Humans caused the initial pain and suffering of this beautiful wolf by creating the snare, and in the end taking his life to end his suffering.” said Kelly Looby.

Photo courtesy of Wildwoods

Wildwoods told me they were able to gain the equipment, a net gun, through donations after this tragedy. With this net gun they will be able to capture and treat victims of snare traps in the future.

“Snares are cruel trapping devices, causing pain, injury and death. Animals caught in snares can suffer from grotesque swelling and hemorrhaging of the head, can be hanged to death by jumping over a nearby fence or branch in a desperate attempt to escape, and can suffer from exposure, dehydration, and starvation. Snares are grossly indiscriminate, capturing any animal of the right height or size unlucky enough to pass through the snare – including pets, imperiled wildlife species, deer and raptors.” ~Melissa Tedrowe HSUS Wisconsin State Representative

Minnesota DNR Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook states the following: Snares may be used by licensed trappers for taking all species of protected wild mammals that may be taken by the use of traps. In the forest zone, snares are allowed on public land and on private land with permission of the landowner.

Take action to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again…

Howling For Wolves supports current state legislation that would eliminate recreational snaring of all wildlife: House File 2160, authored by Representatives Fischer, Loon, Kunesh-Podein, Rosenthal, Ward, Slocum, Allen, Dehn, R., and Hornstein and its companion bill, Senate File 1447, authored by Senators Hoffman, Wiger, and Dibble.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul – hope you like what you see.” ~Aldo Leopold

 

Photos used in this story courtesy of Kelly Looby and photo of dead wolf credited to Wildwoods.

Round Two in Public Hearings as SB 602 Fails the Fact-Check-Test…

A public hearing took place Tuesday January 16, 2018 on bill SB 602 . The companion bill in the assembly, Ill conceived Assembly Bill 712 Takes a Nose-Dive in Public Hearing was held last Wednesday January 10, 2018. This bill would make it illegal for WI DNR wardens or any WI state law enforcement to enforce state or federal law relating to management of wolves in Wisconsin. In other words, if a WI DNR warden came across any suspected illegal killings of wolves they would not be allowed to investigate it. Or even report suspected illegal killings of wolves to the federal authorities.

The goal of this ill conceived bill is to dump all responsibility of wolf management onto the feds. The architects’ of this proposed legislation want to wash their hands of the state’s wolf management. One program on chopping block, if the legislation passes, would be the volunteer wolf tracking program started in 1995. I’ve been a part of this program as a citizen volunteer wolf tracker since the year 2000. This means that WI DNR staff can no longer monitor wolves or the citizen volunteers.

This legislation is being put forth by a minority of politicians claiming this bill is necessary as wolves are taking over northern Wisconsin. Rep. Adam Jarchow claims wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herd and reeking havoc on farmer’s livestock in northern Wisconsin. Senator Tiffany and Representative Jarchow’s way of wolf management is holding a trophy hunt. Wisconsin is also the only state that sanctions wolf-Hounding. Either way it’s obvious that this legislation is not guided by or based on good sense.

“This is a far-reaching bill, this is a ploy to get their way, this is a way to drum up more publicity for their cause and they’re not telling the truth,” Tilseth said. “They’re not giving real facts.” Wisconsin Public Radio Interview November 12, 2017

Let’s fact check the claims being made by Senator Tom Tiffany and representative Adam Jarchow (the main architects behind this legislation). According to Senator Tiffany and Representative Jarchow wolves are out of control killing livestock. But the facts from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources regarding wolf depredations on livestock just don’t match up with their claims. The following is from WI DNR Wolf Monitoring Reports 2016-2017 Winter:

The number of incidents decreased 29% from 2015-16 when 52 incidents of depredation to livestock were confirmed.” WI DNR Wolf Monitoring Reports 2016-2017 Winter

Let’s now fact check the two politicians claims that wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer in northern Wisconsin. The following graphic explains how wolves are impacting northern Wisconsin’s White-tailed deer herd.

Nine-day 2016 Wisconsin deer hunt totals for Northern Forest Zone 23,445 (30% increase) antlered (buck). The Northern Forest Zone is in wolf range.

It would appear Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is building a healthier White-tailed deer herd and wolf depredations on livestock are down. Thus, when fact checking the scientific data-contrasted to the political rhetoric; it’s obvious that this legislation is not guided by or based on good sense. Or even based on any factual or scientific data for that matter.

The number of wolf depredations decreased 29% from 2015-16 when 52 incidents of depredation to livestock were confirmed.

Another side of this misguided legislation is that Wisconsin could lose millions in dollars in federal funding as Attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin pointed out in last weeks public hearing on the companion AB 712. Read on:

“It’s not a clear issue and it’s difficult to resolve as it makes sense,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin, environmental attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates. “There are millions of dollars of federal funds at stake as well if Wisconsin were to pursue this task.” Ill conceived Assembly Bill 712 Takes a Nose-Dive in Public Hearing WODCW’s Blog

I invite you to watch the following video from HSUS Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Tedrowe’s testimony regarding SB 602. I used my iPhone to tape the public hearing while viewing it on my iPad. It was alarming that a Senator would draw a line in the center of the state in an effort to rationalize his proposed legislation. Tiffany’s line of questioning of HSUS state representative Tedrowe was a pun. Tiffany implied wolves should be moved to Monona Wisconsin because it was once part of their historic range. Tedrowe’s response was composed and dignified.

“Senator Tiffany you shared anecdotes of people living in the north. I also could trot out those anecdotes of our members and supporters who are not in fear, who walk their pets, and whose children feel safe, and love wolves, and are so proud. And another thing, this is statistically proven the DNR did a study that people in rural areas don’t want wolves hunted and trapped.”

Another committee member, Senator Terry Moulton asked the following question of Tedrowe. “Do you believe the life of a wolf is just as valuable as the life of a human-being? Senator Terry Moulton.”

The following is Tedrowe’s response:

“We don’t value animals more than people. We are trying to eliminate the most egregious cruel forms of inhumane treatments for animals where ever it’s found. I think that is a mainstream value. Most everyone in this room would not want to see animals treated cruelly. Including you (senator Tiffany).”

https://vimeo.com/251477705

The following is part of Tedrowe’s testimony:

” On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and our supporters in Wisconsin, I thank you for this opportunity to testify in opposition to SB 602. This measure sanctions wolf poaching and prevents state officials from monitoring wolves until federal delisting occurs—actions that will have dire and long-lasting consequences for the species. Equally concerning, SB 602 violates Wisconsinites’ deeply held conservation values and sets a dangerous precedent for lawmakers to cherry-pick which laws get enforced.

Wolves in the Great Lakes region had just begun to recover from being wiped out completely when they lost their federal protections in 2011. In the period between 2012 and 2014, trophy hunters, trappers and houndsmen killed more than 1,500 wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan under hostile state management programs. At least 520 wolves were killed in Wisconsin alone. In just one season, Wisconsin’s wolf population plummeted 20%, with 17 packs disappearing entirely. Wolves were killed with exceptionally cruel and unsporting methods—nearly 70% were caught in barbaric steel-jawed leghold traps or neck snares, while other methods included baiting, electronic calls, and packs of hounds.

The vast majority of Wisconsinites know that wolves matter enormously, recognizing their vital role in keeping our ecosystem healthy and balanced, and taking pride in the fact that our state is one of the few places these wolves call home. The Wisconsin DNR’s own 2014 survey of nearly 9,000 residents, which was heavily weighted to rural areas, found that most people do not want wolves hunted or trapped. They want wolves conserved for future generations.

In closing, SB 602 is a bad bill – one that endangers scientific research and obstructs law enforcement, puts our ecosystems in jeopardy, and ignores the will of the majority of state citizens. I urge the committee to vote no on this proposal and ensure that protections for gray wolves are not irrationally and prematurely taken away on behalf of a tiny, vocal minority. “

End of Wisconsin State Representative of the Humane Society of the US Melissa Tedrowe’s Testimony.

There’s more to come on this misguided legislation as AB 712 was scheduled for a committee vote today.

Updated as of 1:07 PM January 17, 2018

The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage passed AB 712 9-5 along party lines.

“Before the vote, Chairman Joel Kleefisch noted that many people consider wolves sacred but hard-working farmers are sacred too.  He noted that AB 712 isn’t changing the law; it’s simply placing the burden of enforcement where it belongs, with the federal government.  He further noted that there have been many other instances where states have refused to enforce federal legislation, AB 712 isn’t at all unusual (my paraphrase).

This bill deserves a larger hearing and we’re now going to send it to the Assembly, Rep. Kleefisch said (again, my paraphrase).” Stated In an email by Melissa Tedrowe Wisconsin Humane Society of the US State Representative

This is how Wisconsin hunts wolves just off the ESL.

http://www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Sneak Peek: “American Wolf” A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

“American Wolf” takes you into the lives of Yellowstone’s wolves from the view point of one of the most “tenacious” wolf watchers, Rick McIntyre. McIntyre learns through observing O-Six and her family just how similar these iconic predators are to our domesticated dogs. Blakeslee introduces the reader to the conflicts between ranchers, trophy hunters and conservationists presenting the history of Yellowstone National Park’s wolves. “A never-ending battle between man and wolf.” ~Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin.  Crown Publishing sent Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin an advance copy to read and review. For a sneak peek, go to Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s blog

Days after Crown acquired the book, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions picked up the rights, with Scott Cooper (Black Mass) set to direct.