by Mark Walters
After speaking with several people that assumed I would attend The Great Lakes Wolf Summit, which was held September 15th in Cumberland, WI. I made the decision that I needed to attend it. Folks, unless you have lead between your eyeballs and the back of your skull you would have walked out of this six-hour event understanding that something has to be done legally to reduce the wolf population in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Due to space constraints, I will not go deep into any subject of what took place during this incredible experience.
There were outfitters, biologists, and lawyers from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas that attended this summit as well as a great many farmers and leaders of organizations that spoke on the devastation that is taking place from an unregulated wolf pack.
David Ruid is a wildlife biologist with the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services; he has the job of investigating wolf/livestock/pet kills and his statistics showed how the wolf is adjusting to the fact that “no one” can kill a wolf, even if it is in the act of killing a steer, dog or sheep.
The wolf is on the Endangered Species List, which means they are federally protected and not under state management.
If you have a pack of wolves steadily wiping out your cattle or sheep herd, the only thing that David Ruid can do is non-lethal methods, in other words, lights, radios and GPS collars that tell the farmer or rancher that wolves are near their animals.
I listened to the testimony of four farmers/ ranchers and it was gut wrenching how they are all looking at going out of business and here is why.
So you read about the steer or sheep that is killed by wolves and it really is not that great a number. What is really taking place is that our livestock herds are not able to graze, as what one farmer from Douglas County said is they are becoming musk ox and instead of free grazing, the livestock are spending much of their life in a circle with their calves in the middle instead of grazing.
Our friends from the out west, as well as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau documented how come the cattle are 100-pounds lighter than where there are not wolves or where wolf populations are controlled by hunting and trapping.
Paul and Judy Camik of Butternut had a terrible story. The Camik’s raise sheep for the meat market and sheep for hunting and had spent 12-years creating a line of sheep for the hunting market.
The Camik’s have Spanish Mastiffs’s that they use to guard the sheep from wolves. In 2015, after Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping season had been removed by senseless litigation, with no science or biology what so ever in the decision. A pack of wolves killed two of the Camik’s guard dogs and in one night wiped out the genetics of there sheep herd, when they killed 17 bred ewes and did not eat one of the animals.
Folks I am going to keep writing but here is the gist of my point and it was hammered home throughout the day, Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the House and the third most powerful man in the nation. Ron Johnson is a U.S. Senator and the author of Senate Bills 2021 and 2281. These bills were shot down because not a single U.S. Democratic Senator would vote to let the Great Lakes States (Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota) manage their own wolf packs. These bills passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate.
Instead they were put in as an amendment in what is now called The Energy Policy Modernization Conference Report and this will be voted on in late November or December.
No one at this summit wants the wolf removed from our three state areas, what this very polite and informed group of people wants is to be able to manage the pack.
In 1997, sixty-six wolves were released into the northern Rocky Mountains and at the time there were 19,000 elk in that herd. Today, there are 4,000 elk left and some of the good people that came out to talk and listen from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana spoke of the destruction of their economies due to cattle deaths and loss of weight gain and the loss of their big game herds.
Several people mentioned that no one cares where there are “not” wolf in Wisconsin and then it was shown how even in our southern most part of the state (Grant County) there is now livestock depravation due to a wolf pack.
Our deer herds in central and northern Wisconsin are another subject. Unregulated wolf populations are steadily hurting what is one of Wisconsin’s really big forms of revenue in both the private and public sector.
I hunt in Wisconsin’s Central Forest and did not see a deer until the fourth day of the 9-day gun season last year.
What is happening is that now there are 890 wolf in Wisconsin (at least animals) and was de-listed after 100, for five years on an agreed upon deal by all sides is a pure travesty and no one on the other side can look in the mirror and say it is ok.
This is one time where sportsmen and farmers and everyone in between need to get off their hands and contact Paul Ryan or Ron Johnson.
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative