Despite being protected under the Endangered Species Act, wolves in Wisconsin are chased, harassed, and sometimes wounded or even killed by packs of hunting dogs that run the state’s landscape for more than six months of the year. Bear “hounders” face few regulations and little to no enforcement when turning packs of dogs loose to pursue native wildlife.
These hounds are most frequently released at bear “baiting” sites. These are areas where hunters have dumped hundreds of gallons of stale pastries, syrup, or other foods with the intent of habituating bears to feed there. At last count, there were more than 82,000 baiting sites in the state! Not only is this practice disastrous for bears, and destructive to public lands–imagine dumping hundreds of gallons of syrup and rotting pastries in your favorite park–but it puts Wisconsin’s wolves in frequent conflict with packs of hunting dogs.
With more than 82,000 bait stations covering Wisconsin’s wild spaces, it is difficult for wolf packs to establish rendezvous sites that do not intersect with these pastry dump sites. Wolves are territorial, protective animals–it’s how they have survived for centuries. This same defensive behavior leads them to defend their packs and their pups from these hoards of bear hunting dogs running the state half of the calendar year. In protecting their rendezvous sites, these wolves are often wounded or killed, and often kill or wound dogs from the hunter’s pack. Hunters in the state are disincentivized to change their ways by a state program that pays them up to $2,500 for dogs lost to wolves safeguarding their pups, packs, and rendezvous sites. This has led to wolves and hunting hounds being killed and wounded at an unprecedented and alarming rate.
This is no way to protect Wisconsin’s wolves or any of its wildlife. Anyone who loves wolves, anyone who loves dogs, should want to see an end to these practices. We are working on the ground in Wisconsin to stop bear hounding and the virtually-unregulated dumping of bait across the state. We need your help. Please make a 100% tax-deductible donation today to help us fight to end bear baiting and hounding to protect the state’s wolves.
Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places.
Endangered Species Coalition