Bear hound dogs huge impact on the landscape
This Wisconsin documentary film spotlights the use of hound hunting dogs to train on and hunt wolves, bears, coyotes, bobcats, fox, and ultimately all wildlife in their path. (Link here)
Beginning of 60+ days of training hound dogs
on bears and cubs
Bear hunters have been baiting bears since April 15th and will continue to do so until the end of bear killing season in October. In addition, on July 1st, 12,000+ unleashed bear hound dogs will be let loose on WI's landscape to "train" on bears. Mothers and young cubs as well will be pursued and harassed for an unregulated numbers of hours in the hottest days of the summer. According to the 2014 Bear Hunter Survey, approx. 50% of license A/B holders train their dogs on a bear mom and cubs 3-4 times during the training season. Black bears have NO sweat glands. Consequently, the chasing of bears by hound dogs for hours at a time in the heat of the summer can induce seizures as well.
Wisconsin's egregious bear baiting regulations
Wolves have been known to defend bait sites which can result in deadly confrontations. Dog depredations by wolves occurs regularly as well as hound dogs run miles from their owners and inadvertently run thru wolf rendezvous sites and/or bait sites. (see Fact Sheets) Approximately 4,600,000 gallons of bait (2014 Bear Hunter questionnaire) are dumped on the WI landscape over 82,340 bait sites. Bear applications and permits have increased each year in Wisconsin so it is suggested that baiting has continued to increase since 2014 data was released. See research focused on Wisconsin's bear baiting regulations: "Bear Baiting may put hunting dogs at risk".
Dog depredation compensation
Over $625,000 has been paid to hound hunters who run unleashed hound dogs through wolf range. Hound hunters receive $2,500 for depredation compensation. Wisconsin is the only state in the country to compensate hound hunters for dogs. See "State pays Scofflaws over hound deaths"
As part of the WI's budget bill, the Joint Finance Committee (see pdf below) approved a motion to remove the requirement of a Class B Bear license. There will now be no regulations in place for the following activities: Assisting a person in hunting bear by tracking bear, trailing bear or engaging in any other activity to locate bear; bait bear; train a dog to track bear, to trail bear or to otherwise engage in any activity that contributes to locating bear. According to the WDNR 2014 Bear Hunter Survey, there were approximately 8,919 Class B Bear License holders with an average of approximately 5 dogs.
Non-residents from surrounding states as well can participate in these activities which require no licensing. Little to no regulations and the large number of unlicensed hound hunters engaged in above activities is anticipated to have impacts on law enforcement.
41 total hound dog depredations
(25 of those during bear hound dog trng.)
Link to DNR caution areas
A majority of the depredations occurred in areas that had previously been marked by the DNR as Caution Areas. In Bayfield County bear hound hunters continued to send their dogs into same caution area 7X after area had been designated as caution due to depredation.
Hound hunter will be eligible to apply for up to $2,500 in compensation. Livestock owners receive compensation determined by a 3-member panel with a Fair Market Value formula. Hound hunters have no burden of proof to confirm their hound is worth $2,500. Hound hunters most often run their dogs on Federal & County lands in areas of prime wolf habitat and sometimes run them in areas w/ previously designated caution areas. Nevertheless, hound hunter will be eligible to apply for up to $2,500 in compensation.
Wolves are breeding late December, Jan. & Feb. When not under ESA protection hound hunters can train their dogs on wolves year round. Wolves need protection from hounds during breeding, denning and rendezvous.
President of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Ass'n asks for an increase of $2,500 in depredation compensation = $5,000/dog (Wolf Advisory Committee mtg. notes)
Recent research (pdf link) shows core habitat for wolves represents the highest risk to dogs in Wisconsin. The 2013 caution map below illustrates this point; the red dots representing hound depredations. Since hunters "voluntarily" place their dogs at risk, this research proposes an alternative compensation model based on the fact that wildlife is intended for public lands and with that comes an accepted level of risk. Some proposed recommendations: compensation based on habitat which determines level of risk; public vs. private land; Reduction of bear-baiting (WI-141 days vs. MN-14 days); . Livestock compensations have been adjusted recently; hound depredations have not and they are individually the most costly.
"In Wisconsin, as in many other states and countries, wolves are now a part of the landscape and with this comes responsibility, for both the government (under the public-trust doctrine) and the private individual, to mitigate conflicts with wolves."
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
see "Wisconsin Wolf Hunt" section
(excellent resource for historical & current information on WI Gray Wolf and hound dogs)
The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) worked hard to be an obstacle at the capitol to protecting companion dogs during the passing of the puppy mill legislation in Wisconsin. They have made it a point to be an obstacle to all animal protective legislation in our state.
There is unregulated breeding of bear & coyote hound dogs across Wisconsin.
The Daily Globe
Based on the caption, these hound hunters spend down our public trust to subsidize their dogs and their reckless, inhumane "sport". They also are subsidized by the WI state agency if their dogs are depredated by WI wolves even though they have knowingly released their dogs in wolf range. The Daily Globe is a paper published for the community of Ironwood, MI in Gogebic County which sits adjacent to the Montreal River. This river marks the border of Michigan and Wisconsin; hound hunters will move back and forth between the states often times running dogs into Wisconsin's Nicolet National Forest.
A threat to Wildlife: Coyote & Bear hound
The dark underbelly of hound hunting
"...They keep them underweight so they can run fast...The dogs are back in the woods a lot of the time, and we really don’t know unless we get complaints…"
Hound hunting in Wisconsin has little to no regulations and violations are complaint-based only. (Link here for dog hunting regs - pg. 10).
Some anecdotal reports off of hound dog forum sites or hound hunter Facebook comments state that if hunters' hounds lose a trail and can't pick it up again (what they call a "blind retrieve") that would be "their final resting spot." Also, some hound hunters breed their own dogs for specific traits and if they don't possess them they are abandoned at the least or at the worst are killed. (Link here for media)
Bear dogs attack hiker
in North Carolina Federal Forest
Katie's saga continues as more stories surface of damage done to others by hound dogs running loose on public lands. Kadie continues to rally support/testimony around the country from people negatively impacted by free-roaming hound dogs. She submitted the following comments to Florida's F&WC bear hounder's lobbying efforts to hunt recovered Black Bears with dogs in FL:
"It is easy to turn a blind eye to the cruelty that hunting with dogs inflicts not only upon wildlife but also (on the)hunting dogs (themselves). I wish I could convey to you the pain and suffering my dogs experienced as they were literally torn apart by the pack of hunting dogs. These dogs had no mercy and they would show similar behavior toward anything they came across…"
Hiker continues to garner signatures to change N.C. 1990 statute that exempts hound dog hunters from liability. (Link here for commentary: "[Hound] hunters and their dogs don't deserve special protections"). Sign petition to help hiker change NC statute: link here
October 13, 2014
12,000+ HOUND DOGS ON WISCONSIN'S LANDSCAPE ARE A PUBLIC SAFETY RISK (see "Black Bear questionnaire link below)
Bear hunter survey results/information
DNR Black Bear Hunter Questionnaire results (Class A and B permit holders) indicated that approximately 12,700 hounds were on the landscape during the training season; average of 16-18 days/hound; hounds accounted for >100,000 training-days; approximately 5 hounds used/hunter." In addition, 3,700,000 gallons of bear bait are dumped on Wisconsin's landscape from 4/15 thru hunting season in October. Scientific research out of MTU suggests an increase in deadly encounters between dogs and wolves when bait is put down as Wolves will defend bait sites.
DNR reports (p.4) there was an organized effort by hound hunters to take out wolf packs; "...Lincoln County pack is gone". Unleashed hounds are run in the area of wolf rendezvous sites for training/hunting of bears; wolves kill hound dogs to defend their pups, pack and territory.
In our opinion, removing entire wolf packs is hound hunters' efforts at having free reign to train and run their unleashed dogs on bears in wolf pack territory. Furthermore, hound hunters can claim reimbursement of $2,500 if their dogs are killed by wolves.
Livestock depredations continue to decline;
Hound dog depredations continue at previous years' pace
On 12/10/2014 @ the NRB meeting (see 3:00:00 mark), the WDNR large carnivore biologist reported that livestock depredations have had a large decrease in 2014 compared to 2013 records.
5 Depredation incidents each with multiple death and injuries
2014 HOUND DEPREDATIONS
21 bear hound dog depredations & 8 hound dog injuries as of 12/10/2014.
Last 2 incidents occurred in overlapping caution areas.
5 incidents where multiple dogs were injured/killed.
Are dogs who normally run, staying and fighting with wolves?
Three hound depredations have occurred in forewarned caution areas (Iron & Price Counties); two were 11-yr. old dogs;
Caution maps are posted and email alerts sent.
No regulations for carcass examinations following
2013 wolf hunt
DNR says "Inconclusive"?
What happens when this many untrained dogs come into contact with a wolf? The DNR stated the following in their report (p.2) "Due to the condition of the carcasses, subcutaneous hemorrhaging and edema, as well as presence or absence of injuries that didn’t extend further into the muscle layers could not be assessed. Evaluation of these carcasses was inconclusive." IT IS NOT CLEAR WHY THE DNR DID NOT SET UP REQUIREMENTS/REGULATIONS FOR CARCASS INSPECTION THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED FOR "CONCLUSIVE" RESULTS.
Hound dogs chasing wild animals in wolf range
Hound dogs were released by hunters to chase coyotes and rabbits in the midst of wolf pack range in both Price & Clark counties and 3 hound dogs have been killed thus far in 2014. The first hound dog killed (01/01/2014) was released into wolf pack range 8 days after the wolf hunt ended (12/23/2013). The majority of wolves taken in the last 21 days of the 2013 killing (12/2-12/23) was by hound hunters pursuing wolves with hound dogs. In the opinion of many experts, we do not yet know the ramifications of a wolf hunt in Wisconsin. WE ABSOLUTELY DO NOT KNOW THE RAMIFICATIONS OF USING DOGS IN THE WOODS TO CHASE DOWN WOLVES. We do know that in 2013 there were no hound dogs depredated until June, 2 months after the start of bear baiting and shortly before the beginning of "bear training season".
Wolf courting/breeding begins around the end of December. In our opinion, it lacks all common sense and is most definitely NOT in the best interests of the hound dogs to send hound dogs in during courting/breeding. Why would anyone risk their dogs? Based on past and recent investigative reporting, one can only speculate that depredation payments could be the reason.
These hunters will be seeking compensation from the state for a maximum claim of $2,500 per dog (hunters are not compensated for hound dogs lost to wolves during the wolf hunt season). Historically, this hound dog depredation compensation came out of the writing of the 1999 Wisconsin Wolf Plan. But there was a "sunset clause" written into the Wolf Plan whereby compensation would be eliminated once wolves were removed from federal protections. Once federal protection was dropped and it was announced there would be a wolf hunt in Wisconsin, special interests lined up at the doors of legislators and had hound dog depredation compensation written into the wolf hunt bill. (See "Fact Sheets" link on sidebar)
"Ban dogs hunting wolves in Wisconsin"