The Great Lakes Wolf Patrol will be on the hunt this week, howling in protest against Wisconsin hunters and prowling for illegal wolf-killing practices. The official wolf hunting season started October 15th in Wisconsin, and the Great Lakes Wolf Patrol will be closely monitoring all the action and documenting written and video evidence to share with the general public on current wolf hunting practices. Great Lakes Wolf Patrol member Matt Almonte stated their animal rights and environmental advocacy group will not interfere with the wolf hunt or any legal wolf hunting practices, only observing from safe distances.
In the 1800s, around 5,000 gray wolves made their dens in Wisconsin. The population now consists of 815 to 880 gray wolves existing in a total of 213 packs. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources believes that these existing gray wolf numbers need to be thinned down even further to a level they consider more acceptable biologically and socially. In 2011, the gray wolf was removed from protection under the United States Endangered Species Act, after spending 37 years sheltered under the legislation. The following year, wolf hunting and trapping along with the use of dogs for hunting purposes was legalized by the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
The Great Lakes Wolf Patrol is a community coalition of animal activists and environmentalists whose aim is to expose cruel hunting and trapping practices and believes the wolf population should remain under the federal government protection. They also believe that the state’s Department of Natural Resources is ignoring and disrespecting the concerns of the state’s indigenous people in regards to wolf hunting. The Great Lakes Wolf Patrol will be filming and documenting evidence while tagging along on the Wisconsin wolf hunt to educate the general public in hopes to protect the species from extinction.
Any Wisconsin resident ages 10 and up can purchase a wolf hunting license for $49. Wolf hunting season ends February 28 or sooner if hunters register 150 kills. Trappers typically use steel jaw traps to hunt their prey. These devices are outlawed in other countries because they often kill other animals that are not the primary prey of the hunter. The only state to allow the use of dogs for hunting wolves is Wisconsin. The state’s Department of Natural Resources will pay hunters a compensation for any dogs lost during a wolf hunt. From 2004-2013 Wisconsin paid hunters $390,000 overall for the loss of their hunting dogs.
The Great Lakes Wolf Patrol would like to see the current practice of dogs being used to hunt wolves eliminated and steel jaw trapping on public lands permanently discontinued. They would also like to propose that no wolf hunting be allowed within a four mile radius of any tribal land in Wisconsin. The Great Lakes Wolf Patrol will be spotlighting hunters while observing on these wolf hunts not only in Wisconsin, but in several other Midwestern states in the coming weeks and months. By doing so, the Great Lakes Wolf Patrol hopes to enact lasting change in public policy that will result in the long-term preservation and growth of the wolf species.
By Valerie Bordeau
Photo by: Flickr