Published in the Oct. 16, 2012, Tomahawk Leader:
This hasty wolf season (Act 169) is based on fraud – not science – and should be scrapped.
The federal government named “Tribes” and “wildlife professionals” (scientists) to manage wolves. Legislators Suder and Rivard are neither – yet authored the "Wolf Management Act." An expert said, "We were not consulted by the authors of Act 169 or during secret drafting of the rules" that "risk an unsustainable harvest."
In surveys (in and out of wolf range), the majority accepts a “season designed to reduce depredation,” targeting problem wolves in farm/wood areas – satisfying farmers, the public, experts and tribal leaders. Careful and selective population reduction is right and honest.
But no. Wisconsin chooses to satisfy a small fraction of hunters.
Politicians (ignorant of species' preservation) prefer bear hound hunters (hostile to wolves) as consultants, writing inferior legislation. Threatening hunters who will “not harass wolves” in exchange for “dog payments” for hound depredation claims. Taxpayers are forced into this “agreement,” paying almost 1/2 million dollars so far. Favored legislated payments the public opposes.
Indiscriminate statewide killing does nothing to help farmers and everything to help “frustrated” hunters, eager to kill a wolf for no valid reason except for fun, a wolf hat or wall hanging – or revenge for being protected.
Wolves are separate, a unique valuable species. Expert involvement was imperative.
Suder and Rivard claim Act 169 addresses depredation. False.
To support this hasty season, depredation is deceptively exaggerated. Verified livestock depredation involves a small amount of farms and wolves, costing only $15,500 last year. The only compensation payments the public supports. But we also paid $191,000 for “missing calves” (alleged, requiring no evidence of wolves). Lax compensation rules enable fraud –rules that “concern” the Department of Natural Resources. Last year, an unbelievable 257 calves “disappeared” (higher than all missing calves since 1985). Normally the number ranges from 0 to 25. The DNR told me “two farms had skewed the numbers.” This suspiciously bloated wolf damage year comes right before Suder and Rivard introduce a wolf season bill.
Human threat is deceptively exaggerated. It actually is almost nonexistent. …
Wolves' impact on deer is misperceived or actually lied about. Wolves have a scientifically proven positive effect on deer. Fact: deer have more than doubled since wolf migration. Wolves suppress disease and eliminate weaklings – strengthening the deer herd. Wolves eat a meager amount of deer (800 wolves eat about 14,000 deer annually). They keep deer moving, avoiding over-browsing, maintaining biodiversity. Some hunters need to stop blaming wolves for unsuccessful hunts when they are not willing to look harder to find deer that are there – 1.14 million of them.
In the recent Kroll Report (ordered by Gov. Walker), Wisconsin hunters were criticized for wanting more deer, so many the herd would destroy the landscape. (The governor and legislators don't mention this admonishment.)
Key legislators acted secretly, dishonestly and undemocratically to achieve this harsh, aggressive season and do not deserve public office. Public trust has been broken.
Fond du Lac
(Vacations in the Tomahawk area)