“I ain’t got no home in this world anymore.” — Woody Guthrie
Woody Guthrie, born July 14, 1912, was a youth of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, poverty and injustice. He speaks for many of us today, with “no home in this world anymore,” including wildlife and, specifically, wolves.
Written comments on the draft rule for the 2012 wolf hunt must be received by 4 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at NRBcomments@wisconsin.gov. To register to testify July 17 in the final DNR wolf death panel in Stevens Point, contact Laurie Ross at 608-267-7420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bear hounders had a hand in the legislation that will allow the running of packs of dogs on Wisconsin’s 800 wolves and trapping, shooting and killing them day and night for four and a half months a year.
Laurie Groskopf, mouthpiece of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, complained in a July 3 email that the “goal” of 350 wolves, set in 1999, should not be a minimum goal. “You ignore the 18 county boards that have passed resolutions to get this number down to 350 (or less), the WWF (Wisconsin Wildlife Federation), the WCC (Wisconsin Conservation Congress), the Farm Bureau, and locals in wolf territory, who overwhelmingly want their lives back.”
Gaylord Yost, a retired forester, responded, “I understand what you mean by wanting their lives back. The number of kills made by wolves all over the nation continues to skyrocket and may someday reach those by automobiles and shootings. The wolf will never be able to survive an out of control human expansion into every corner of the globe. It will be gone like the wildlife and diversity that was once found and is swiftly disappearing in Africa and Asia. We just can’t let them stand in the way of ‘progress.’ ”
Wolves are as essential to healthy ecosystems as balanced weather, fresh water and good soil. All that is being destroyed by humans, not wolves.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s cozy relationship with the Department of Natural Resources deserves scrutiny. Farmers can attribute all missing calf losses above the normal 2.3 percent of their herd to wolves if one cow has been confirmed killed by a wolf that year. Payment per beef calf in 2011 averaged $825, per adult Holstein $1,500. Payments were $102 to $203 for dairy newborns, and $1,262 to $1,731 for medium-grade replacement cows. For deer farmers, payments for doe fawns were $125 and buck fawns $150, with up to thousands per buck.
From 2000-2011, there was a yearly average of 14 missing calves statewide, and payouts averaged $12,000 per year. With wolf delisting in hand, 2012 suddenly had 257 calves reported as missing, with a payout of $190,742. It looks like a system being gamed.
When I asked Davin Lopez, who works on endangered species at the DNR, why the surge in missing calves, he had no good answer. The state paid out $55,000 for six deer in 2010, and $20,000 for two deer in 2011. Davin explained that until 2012, applicants for deer compensation were paid what they asked. Hounders also claim $5,000 to $10,000 per dog they put at risk harassing bears and all wildlife. They are routinely paid $2,500 per dog killed.
Wolf hating and hounding, due to DNR largesse, are profitable enterprises.
The BBC recently released a documentary on the return of one very special wolf pack to Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the first to return to the American Northwest in 70 years. I urge you to watch them in the “Land of the Lost Wolves” video.
To understand the challenges that face wolves, please read the entire article in Backpacker Magazine entitled “Dogs of War.” In the article, Gordon Haber’s study of the Toklat family group of wolves convinced him: “Sophisticated family groups are what set wolves apart. Their social organization represents the ultimate of any vertebrate. They have high levels of altruism, successful inbreeding, cross-generation learning, and genetic transfer. It’s a more sophisticated form of social organization than human societies. Which is why it burns me up when people say it’s the population, not individual wolves, that matters.”
Contrast Haber with Coke Wallace, a trapper described in the story who uses the distress call of a hybrid wolf pup to attract dozens of wolves to trap, shoot, dismember and skin. “A necropsy revealed that the alpha female sat in Coke’s trap for 10 days to two weeks, eating dirt and rocks.”
Haber’s informed outrage is palpable: “I’m watching one of the most valuable biological goldmines on Earth being treated like it’s not worth 10 cents by a bunch of ignorant, ill-trained state biologists who, quite frankly, are guilty of scientific misconduct.”
The DNR is an agency of death to our life support systems. Urgent citizen reform is needed.