Joe Bodewes: Stop using hounds to hunt bear in Wisconsin

2013-09-24T00:00:00Z Joe Bodewes: Stop using hounds to hunt bear in Wisconsin

Broken and crushed legs, sliced-open abdomens and punctured lungs. Dogs lying mangled and dying on the surgery table -- all in the pursuit of sport.

If these dogs were pit bulls used for dog fighting or Labradors used for bird hunting they would be protected under our state humane and animal cruelty laws. Unfortunately, these dogs are bear hounds used for bear hunting and are exempt from protection.

I have been a veterinarian for over 20 years in Wisconsin. I have been involved with many animal abuse cases, but nothing compares to the mauled dogs and painful deaths that come through my clinic in the late summer and fall during the bear hound training and hunting season. These dogs pursue and tree bears. If the bear doesn’t or can’t be treed, they often turn and fight. The damage done when a 350-pound bear bites, shakes and throws a hound is extreme.

The very small group of people who participate in this sport are well organized and politically active. They link to other sportsman’s groups and protest any reform. Sportsman groups and the public would be appalled if they knew the real plight of these dogs.

Many states have banned using hounds for bear hunting. They aren’t necessary to maintain suitable wildlife numbers. It’s time for this cruelty to stop. 

-- Joe Bodewes, Hazlehurst

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. Adamlynn101
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    Adamlynn101 - July 12, 2014 1:11 pm
    I am glad to see I am not the only one against hounding. Though we all may have our concerns from different sides of it, there is still a great concern. We have a place in Iron county and from the time the bears roll out of hibernation those hunters have there hounds out "training" on bears. The poor bears don't have any peace, no time to care for their new young before they are being chased from one end of the county to another. Who knows if they ever find their way back to their young once separated by these relentless hounds. They are out with these dogs from the crack of dawn until the setting of the sun 7 days a week. It sickens me to hear the sound of those dogs as I feel for the poor bears who have never bothered me in all the years we have had this place. What can me done...I am willing to do what I can to put a stop to this sport.
  2. gooseberry
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    gooseberry - June 08, 2014 12:30 am
    I have a cabin in Bayfield County. The months of July and August are appalling because of the hounders running their dogs beginning at 4:30 am. These people seem to have no regard for anybody. They allow their dogs to howl throughout the night and ride up and down the roads following their hounds via gps. They drive big trucks with unkenneled dogs in the bed of the vehicle. It is not unusual to see young children in the back of the truck with the dogs. How can this be a sport and what are we teaching our children? Who is going to stop these bullies? Wisconsin should put end to this. And why are we paying these people when they lose a dog? Most locals don't want these bullies around since very few are from the area, and as a result, do not show respect for the local people and their way of life.

  3. Madravenspeak
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    Madravenspeak - October 22, 2013 9:18 pm
    It is not just the dogs that suffer. I was told by a former hounder that at least 30 % of the bears are too young and inexperienced to make it to a tree to escape the multiple packs of hounds run by multiple mobs of cruel men and women who "train their dogs" to harass all wildlife from July 1 through the entire bear slaughter of mostly baby bears less than two years old.

    He told me that the bear killers shake the baby bears out of trees to fall back into packs of dogs to give the dogs blood lust and kill the babies during the "Training" - which is illegal - but there are no prosecutions. The DNR is a killing business and turns a blind eye to dogs killing coyotes, bears, bobcats or any animal caught in a trap or caught in the chase.

    As one hunter proclaimed, "Anything goes in Wisconsin" far as torture, gut-shooting, cruelty and using humane society dogs or free dogs as "bait" for the wolves. In fact, the trappers will skin the wolves' families to use them as bait because they know wolves are totally devoted to their families and will not abandon them even unto death.

    This state is attracting and encouraging the worst element of society. Others should flee this state, boycott its products, and get active in its politics. Or stay apathetic and watch the world around you dying and kids enrolled to enjoy killing more and more and more.
  4. Wolves Of Douglas County Wisc
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    Wolves Of Douglas County Wisc - October 01, 2013 7:49 am
    Thank you for speaking out about Wisconsin's dirty little secret "wolf hounding" and the real cost of this sport.This will get even more gruesome when they run dogs on wolves! Teddy Roosevelt once remarked that he saw a wolf kill a large dog with one snap of it's jaw. I do not think many Wisconsinites even are aware wolf hounders. They will be going into the north woods in December. Call, email and write your legislators and oppose this, Senator Fred Risser has a bill SB#93, waiting in senate committee(Natural Resources) and has requested a formal public hearing with Chairman Neil Kedzie, please write or call his office keep the pressure up to stop wolf hounding in Wisconsin.
  5. alikat747
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    alikat747 - September 28, 2013 7:18 pm
    Thank you, Joe, for your comments. There are only 13 or so states left that allow this inhumane form of "sport". Here in California, we were able to ban this practice last year! Not only is it inhumane for the dogs, who are largely mistreated by this group of 'hunters', but also for the animals they pursue and for any other hapless animals who get in the way. Many of these spiked collars now have "tip switches" which sends a signal to show exactly where a bear (or wolf, etc) is when they are cornered. Could someone please tell me just how that is sport? It is an utter lack of respect for ALL life!
  6. Foreigner13
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    Foreigner13 - September 28, 2013 8:28 am
    Dog hounding is neither "sport" nor "hunting". Using hounding dogs to fight bears and wolves is animal abuse, nothing more, nothing less. Plus, given that wolves are canines too, this "wolf hounding" is tantamount to DOG FIGHTING, illegal throughout the civilized Western World! But there always are SOME people to whom ethics or laws just don't apply. People without heart or conscience, but with enough money and political leverage to have loopholes created just for them. They think of themselves as "sportsmen"? It's BLOODSPORT they are hooked up on. And to hell with the victims of their entertainment, wildlife and dogs alike. How many hounding dogs REALLY end up at the vet's if they happen to get injured? How many of them are still cared for when they grow sick or too old? PLUS: Dogs now are being trained to hound wolves - looking just like big dogs, too. What will happen if those nice doggies happen to meet somebody else'd dog out in the forest - or anywhere else? Wanna guess?
  7. mlaustrup
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    mlaustrup - September 26, 2013 7:48 pm
    Thank you Joe. Glad to see there is an adult in the room.
  8. Shear Essence Alpacas
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    Shear Essence Alpacas - September 26, 2013 5:07 pm
    On December 3rd, hound dogs will be turned on wolves; 6 at a time. This will indeed be a bloodbath and will open a Pandora's Box in our woods which we have no way of predicting the outcome. Contact Senator Kedzie's office and request that he present SB93 to committee for a public hearing. and cc or 608-266-2635. - Melanie
  9. James Richard Bailey
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    James Richard Bailey - September 24, 2013 9:13 am
    I agree 100%. Hunting bears with dogs should be illegal. I live in the Chequamegon National Forest, and every year people roam up an down my unpaved road looking for dogs that have not returned. No telling the fate of their canines, but I'm sure some have been killed.
  10. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
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    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - September 24, 2013 8:21 am
    Thank you for speaking up. If you want to help even more, perhaps video of what goes on in our clinic turned over to a politically active group might help stop the abuse you write about. People don't understand things until they can see it and hear it. We aren't as smart as some of your patients, it seems.

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