Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Closed Today!

Wisconsin wolf hunt closes December 5 2014

December 5, 2014

Finally the torture is over for Wisconsin wolves. 154 wolves were killed in the hunt since October 15, that’s an average of  3 wolves per day, have all the deaths been counted yet? I don’t know.

The hounders didn’t get much chance to chase wolves with dogs to their deaths, thank god, but any wolf  suffering that fate is one too many or any wolf subjected to trapping, shooting, snaring, etc is one too many.

Sadly wolves are still being hunted in Idaho, Montana and Minnesota.

wolf warriors

Graph: Wisconsin DNR

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wisconsin Wolves, Wolf Warriors

Tags: Wisconsin wolf hunt ends, 154 wolves dead, gray wolf persecution

“Dead Wolves Walking” by James William Gibson

I broke down and cried like a baby reading this article. The situation is just so sad, especially when it’s laid out in black and white.

I want to thank Bill Gibson and Earth Island Journal for giving this story legs and keeping it real.

My wish is Howl Across America will move people out from behind their computers to protest the brutal treatment that is awaiting wolves in the Northern Rockies.  BUT if  Judge Molloy finds the wolf delisting rider unconstitutional,  it will put a stop to this horror.  His decision should come quickly, since he is retiring to Senior status in August.

This is playing out like a Greek tragedy. And to think this all happened because a Democrat president appointed a rancher to head the Interior.  What a disgrace!!

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Dead Wolves Walking

by James William Gibson – July 21, 2011

Wolf Hunts Scheduled in Idaho & Montana Unless Federal Judge Intervenes

Since April, when Congress removed gray wolves in Idaho and Montana from the protection of the Endangered Species Act by inserting a rider in a federal budget bill, state governments have been racing to prepare for wolf hunts this fall. (Read Gibson’s compelling report,  “Cry Wolf ” on the issue in the Journal’s Summer 2011 edition.)

So far, Idaho’s winning the race. In early July, the state’s fish and game director Virgil Moore announced a full seven-month hunting season — from the end of August to the end of March. Hunters can use any weapon they choose, utilize electronic calls to lure wolves within range, and kill two each.

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/dead_wolves_walking/

Photo: Courtesy First People

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt, Montana wolf hunt, Wyoming, gray wolf persecution, wolf wars, James William Gibson, Earth Island Journal

Vicious Wolf Wars….

wolf dog grizzled

This is a look at the origins of wolf hatred from Nature Online and the systematic campaign to remove wolves from the lower forty-eight. This is an important story because the same entrenched, wolf-hating attitudes, are fueling the current wolf persecution, moving us down that long, dark path once more.

It merits repeating that for thousands of years Native Americans were able to live in harmony with wolves and bears, while settlers saw them as a threat.

Even the famed naturalist James Audubon partook in torturing wolves, which is particularly hard to understand.

From “Hating Wolves”

“In 1814, John James Audubon watched a farmer torture three wolves. The farmer had trapped them in a pit after they had killed his sheep and a colt. The man jumped into the pit armed only with a knife, hamstrung each wolf as they cowered in fear, and tied it up with a rope. Then he hauled them out one at a time and set his dogs on them as they scuffled crippled along the ground. Audubon was astounded by the meekness of the wolves and the glee with which the farmer went about his revenge, but he was not distressed. He and the farmer considered torturing wolves a “sport,” something both normal and enjoyable. The sadistic behavior did not warrant comment.”

Shocking isn’t it? The wolf has been demonized in American culture and paid dearly for these attitudes. For four hundred years wolves have been the target of pathological hatred.

The early European settlers brought their loathing of wolves with them and set out to kill everything that crossed their path, including the wolves prey base of deer, elk and buffalo, replacing them with the “new buffalo”, cattle. The wolves were left with few choices.

“Granted wolves killed livestock, but the reaction was out of all proportion to their predation. We didn’t merely kill them. We feed them fishhooks so they would die of internal bleeding, we dragged them to death behind horses, we set live wolves on fire, we released trapped wolves with their mouths and penises wired shut.”

These horrific facts are documented in Jon Coleman’s book, “Vicious” Wolves and Men in America” and the word vicious doesn’t refer to wolves. The author is not shy about explaining why humans enjoyed torturing wolves.

“Some of their motives were comprehensible. But once they caught their animal foes, why did they beat, bait, torture and humiliate them? What explains the pleasure so many found in wolf abuse? One answer: human nature. They may smile, hug, rescue kittens, write thank you notes, and attend support groups, but people are vicious at the core.”….Jon Coleman, Vicious, Wolves and Men In America, 2004

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From Nature Online:

The Wolf That Changed America
Wolf Wars: America’s Campaign to Eradicate the Wolf

Wolves have been feared, hated, and persecuted for hundreds of years in North America. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans incorporated wolves into their legends and rituals, portraying them as ferocious warriors in some traditions and thieving spirits in others. European Americans, however, simply despised wolves. Many, including celebrated painter and naturalist John James Audubon, believed wolves ought to be eradicated for the threat they posed to valuable livestock. This attitude enabled a centuries-long extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the gray wolf in the continental United States by 1950.

Origins of Wolf Hatred

In the New World, two top predators – wolves and men – that otherwise would have avoided each other clashed over livestock. In Vicious: Wolves and Men in America, Jon T. Coleman writes:

Wolves had a ghostly presence in colonial landscapes. Settlers heard howls, but they rarely spotted their serenaders. The fearsome beasts avoided humans. People frightened them, and colonists knew this: “They are fearefull Curres,” reported Thomas Morton in 1637, “and will runne away from a man (that meeteth them by chance at a banke end) as fast as any fearefull dogge.”

Because humans and wolves frightened one another, they logically avoided confrontation, opening space between the species. But that space closed when European colonists brought horses, cattle, sheep and pigs with them over the perilous journey across the Atlantic. Without these animals – sources of food and transportation for the European settlers – the colonies would have failed. But because most early colonial communities were small, livestock often grazed on the periphery of the settlements with little protection. Their pastures abutted and bled into the wild, exposing the animals to hungry wolves in search of prey. Wolves quickly learned that docile cattle and sheep made easy meals. Suddenly, colonists found their livelihoods in danger, and they lashed out at wolves, both with physical violence and folklore that ensured wolf hatred would be passed down from one generation to the next.

Amateur and Professional Wolf Baiting

The campaign to eradicate wolves in North America began with private landowners and farmers baiting and trapping wolves. Often, colonists turned wolf baiting into both sport and protection for their livestock. Jon T. Coleman describes an incident that took place in the winter of 1814 deep in the Ohio River Valley, in which John James Audubon assists a farmer as he mutilates trapped wolves.

During the fall, a pack of wolves had robbed [the farmer] of “nearly the whole of his sheep and one of his colts.” For him, it made sense to devote his winter labor to digging pits, weaving platforms, hunting bait, and setting and checking his traps twice daily. The animals had injured him, and “he was now ‘paying them off in full.’” Audubon’s reaction to the slaying of the wolves is less understandable … The ingenious pit traps amazed him, as did the fearsome predators’ meek behavior and the childlike glee the farmer took in his work. The violence Audubon witnessed, however, did not shock him. Watching a pack of dogs rip apart terrified and defenseless animals was a “sport” both he and the farmer found enjoyable.

Further west, in Yellowstone National Park, wolf baiting and hunting had become a lucrative profession. Paul Schullery, in his guidebook to Yellowstone wolves (The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook), describes the profession and the devastating affect it had on the Yellowstone wolf population: “At least as early as 1877, ungulate carcasses in the park were poisoned with strychnine by free-lance ‘wolfers’ for ‘wolf or wolverine bait.’ By 1880, [Yellowstone National Park] Superintendent [Philetus] Norris stated in his annual report that ‘…the value of their [wolves and coyotes] hides and their easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses have nearly led to their extermination.’”

In the Southwest, as settlers depleted bison, elk, deer, and moose populations – the wolves’ natural prey – the predators turned more and more to picking off livestock. In states like New Mexico where cattle ranching was big business, ranchers responded by turning to professional wolfers and bounty hunters. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports, “To protect livestock, ranchers and government agencies began an eradication campaign. Bounty programs initiated in the 19th century continued as late as 1965, offering $20 to $50 per wolf. Wolves were trapped, shot, dug from their dens, and hunted with dogs. Poisoned animal carcasses were left out for wolves, a practice that also killed eagles, ravens, foxes, bears, and other animals that fed on the tainted carrion.”

Government-Sanctioned Wolf Extermination Programs   

  

Government Wolf Trapper

Towards the end of the 19th Century, wealthy livestock owners increased both their demand for wider grazing ranges and their influence over policymakers in Washington, D.C. In 1885, the federal government established the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, initially chartered to research insects and birds. However, the livestock lobby quickly diverted the Bureau’s attention to wolves. Stockowners complained that their land was infested with wolves, calling them “breeding grounds.” They demanded the federal government secure their land for safe pasturage.

In 1906, the U.S. Forest Service acquiesced to the stockowners and enlisted the help of the Bureau of Biological Survey to clear cattle ranges of gray wolves. In other words, the Bureau became a wolf-extermination unit. Bruce Hampton writes in The Great American Wolf:

That same year [1906], bureau biologist Vernon Bailey traveled to Wyoming and New Mexico to investigate the extent of wolf and coyote depredations. Upon Bailey’s return to Washington, D.C., President Roosevelt invited him to the White House to see what he had learned. Although there is no record of their conversation, immediately following Bailey’s meeting the President, the Biological Survey recommended that the government begin “devising methods for the destruction of the animals [wolves].”

By the middle of the 20th Century, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population remained in northeastern Minnesota and Michigan. Yet the Bureau of Biological Survey was still disseminating anti-wolf propaganda as late as 1940. One poster from the time read:

According to estimates of stockmen [the Custer Wolf, pictured in the poster] killed $25,000 worth of cattle during the seven years he was known in the vicinity of Custer, South Dakota … A local bounty of $500 failed to secure his capture. A Department hunter ended his career of destruction by a skillfully set trap. Many notorious wolves are known to have killed cattle valued at $3000 to $5000 in a year. More than 3,849 wolves have been destroyed by the predatory animal work of the Department and its cooperators since the work was organized in 1915.

It was not until the late sixties, when a greater understanding of natural ecosystems began changing attitudes in the scientific community and the National Park Service, that the plight of wolves in North America began to improve.

In 1973, Congress gave gray wolves protection under the Endangered Species Act. According to Douglas Smith and Gary Ferguson, in Yellowstone National Park, where the last gray wolf was killed in 1926, “the entire [gray wolf] restoration program was guided by directives contained in the Endangered Species Act – a law created to ground a decades-old cornerstone of science that says the healthiest, most stable natural systems tend to be those with high levels of biodiversity.”

Since then, wolf populations throughout the country have increased. In 1995 and 1996, researchers in Yellowstone National Park released 31 Canadian gray wolves back into the wild. The event was hailed as a testament to the conservation movement’s efforts to revive wild wolf populations in America. Yet antiwolf attitudes persist. Shortly after the release of the Yellowstone wolves a hunter shot and killed Wolf Number 10. Smith and Ferguson write about the incident: “As disturbing as the shooting itself was, more unsavory still was the reaction of a handful of locals who cheered the killing, calling it an act of heroism.”

Photos © Arizona Historical Society

Sources

Coleman, Jon T. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2004.

Hampton, Bruce. The Great American Wolf. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997.

Robinson, Michael J. Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West. University Press of Colorado, 2005.

Schullery, Paul. The Yellowstone Wolf: A Guide & Sourcebook. Worland, Wymoning: High Plains Publishing Company, Inc., 1996.

Smith, Douglas W. and Gary Ferguson. Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2005.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Gray Wolf Fact Sheet. [updated January 2007; cited November 2008]

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/the-wolf-that-changed-america/wolf-wars-americas-campaign-to-eradicate-the-wolf/4312/

Photos: “The Wolf That Changed America: Courtesy PBS, Nature Online

Posted in: Wolf  Wars

Tags:  gray wolf persecution, wolf torture, wolf extermination

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm  Comments (26)  
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