A Dane County judge issued a final ruling last week that will allow hunters to use dogs to hunt wolves, but not to train them to track wolves during the year – making Wisconsin the only state in the nation that allows wolf hunting with dogs.

The decision stems from a lawsuit that was filed in August by animal advocacy groups against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Board (NRB) over the provision that would allow hunters to use dogs, arguing that the agency failed to place any real restrictions on the use of dogs, in addition to claiming that the use of dogs would result in a number of horrible scenarios ranging from animal cruelty to what would otherwise be legalized dog fighting in violation of the state’s anti-cruelty and animal fighting laws.

“A broad range of Wisconsin citizens oppose the rules established for this season,” Jodi Habush Sinykin, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said at the time. “From hunters to landowners, ecologists to volunteer trackers and community humane societies, there is strong agreement that the season was set up without the restrictions needed to prevent deadly animal fighting.”

The DNR argued that it did not have the authority to enact regulations under the existing legislation authorizing wolf hunting, ACT 169, which was passed last April. The bill allowed for hunters to pursue wolves with up to six dogs with an emergency provision that limited their use to daylight hours, but did not impose any other restrictions.

Judge Peter Anderson issued a temporary injunction banning the use of dogs in this years wolf hunt this summer, but issued a final ruling last Friday that state law, as it is written, allows for the use of dogs to hunt wolves and ruled at the same time that the DNR had the authority, but no obligation to impose restrictions on the use of hunting dogs during hunts.

His specific ruling was in regards to legislation on dog trials and training, which was deemed invalid since it was established in 2003 and did not include any language about wolves since they weren’t considered a game species at the time. Anderson ruled that in this case, the DNR did have an obligation to alter existing rules to deal with potential problems that could result between dogs and wolves.

“There is no evidence that there is a safe way to undertake training of dogs to hunt wolves,” Anderson said. “The agency had authority to put in place rules, but it failed to act.”

“It is not sufficient for the agency to disregard all the evidence on this issue,” he said. “Or more specifically, to do nothing.”

The pro-wolf hunting crowd seems happy with the decision, despite the fact that they clearly don’t need dogs to hunt wolves since the hunt was ended last month after 117 wolves were killed when it was scheduled to end at the end of February.

“We are pleased that Judge Anderson removed the injunction that banned the use of dogs for hunting wolves,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp in a statement. “However, we are disappointed with Judge Anderson’s decision to prohibit training of dogs to hunt wolves. We will continue to seek input from the public and from stakeholders — including tribes — as we continue to develop permanent rules on the wolf season, and the use of dogs for both training and hunting of wolves.”

However, Assistant Attorney General Tom Dawson, who represented the DNR, argued that anyone is allowed to train dogs on wildlife as long as the dogs don’t kill anything and that those rules should allow unrestricted use on wolves.

The DNR is now working on creating permanent rules for wolf hunting and trapping in Wisconsin, which are expected to be finalized in 2014.

“There’s a bigger picture here; not just about wolves and not just about dogs. Its about whether the DNR is going to engage in rule-making the way it historically has based on science and based on environmental stewardship. Or whether the Natural Resources Board and the DNR is going to be excessively influenced by political pressure and we all know that’s what happened here,” said Carl Silderbrand, an attorney for the animal advocacy groups.

Elsewhere in the state, Deanna Devaul, a member of the Alliance for Animals, is organizing a memorial that will involve candles, bell-ringing and a poem honoring the wolves who were killed this season, which is scheduled for Friday afternoon in front of the DNR headquarters in Madison. (Source)

Responses to "Judge Okays Wolf Hunting with Dogs in Wisconsin"

  1. Anonymous says:

    stop killing the wolves !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stop this crazy idea. Think you judges are hunted by bad people who want to kill you. It's the same situation. So stop allowing this bad action to happen.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Leave the Wolves alone and let them roam freely..they have a right too..Stop killing them!!

  4. Unknown says:

    why dont we take all the people responsible for theese decisions and the cruel ones that want to hunt the wolves and have them hunted by dogs, animal abuse is insane sooner or later karma will catch up to theese inhumane humans

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thats right...give the hunters more crap to whine about! This is sickening and I know many of my relatives are rolling in their graves...WE took from the wolf...NOT the other way around! Pathetic ruling PERIOD!

  6. Anonymous says:

    you are not my GOD ass wipe judge!! HOW DARE U small minded idiotz!!!

  7. This will bring down on this state along with the demonic Judge the law of Nature in which they are subject to.

  8. Unknown says:

    Really? Beautiful animals trying to survive and you have have dogs attack them. It's a lose/lose all the way around. Wolf gets killed or the dog. How frigging cruel is that to either animal?

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is just sickening. It's can this be allowed???????

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is sad that the judge is using his authority to encourage such a cruel ruling. I find this despicable and pray that God will use the same method of ruling on this Judge that the Judge uses against God's Creation! Shame on you Judge!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Wisconsin government is listed as one of the most corrupt in the nation, most judges are easily bribed.

  12. patsijean says:

    This is absolutely wrong.

  13. Unknown says:

    Why are you set on killing the wolves. They have just as much right as you to live there lives.
    For Christ sake. Stop and think what you are doing to our world. They have been around since the dinosaurs. Why are you so hell bent in wiping them out.
    I am not religious, but i know that most Americans are God fearing people, well he is watching you, Why do you think that so many bad things happen in America,and lots of countries that are evil to each other and animals, they all have major disasters. Because he is giving you pay back, trying to get you to change your ways.
    They are all Gods creatures.

  14. kadi says:

    This is disgusting, as is ALL the murdering of Wolves. Those that take part in this vile act, plus those that condone it ie that bloody judge, must be sick. I hope these people rot in hell for all eternity.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It is really shocking what is going on in this world!!! Instead of trying to save our planet, we are doing our very best to destroy everything. Obviously Judge Anderson has never made an effort to study wolves, otherwise he would know how intelligent and sensitive these animals are. They should not be hunted AT ALL but to allow them being hunted with dogs is so terribly barbaric that it reminds me of life in the Middle Ages! As long as such ignorant and primitive people as Mr. Anderson are responsible for making laws, we don't need to be surprised, if historical tragedies such as witch burning will be reintroduced one day. I am not American but I have always thought that the United States were a progressive country. Mr. Anderson should better follow the example of Mexico: There law makers have approved prison terms for animal cruelty.

    Now I wonder, which of the two countries is more progressive???

  16. Anonymous says:

    A good friend of mine takes his dogs on wolf hunts every winter. I have no problem with that. He lives in a tipi at a high plateau in Northern Mongolia. It's their way of living with their reindeer herds, almost unchanged since the last ice age.
    Wolf hunting in the US is something completely different. You barely have a healthy wolf population after a very succesful reintroduction. Stop hunting wolves and compensate farmers that lose livestock to wolves. US wolf predation is only 0.2% of "unintended [i.e., pre-slaughterhouse] cattle losses". In some states it's a little bit higher.
    Read this:

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is a travesty. It makes me ill. Legal dog fighting. I feel like we are back in the dark ages.

  18. Anonymous says:

    je suis contre l'idée folle de la chasse avec des chiens, et contre la chasse de toutes sortes, peu importe l'endroit,la province,l'état etc..........

  19. Anonymous says:

    Has the whole world gone crazy. All things have a spirit. Cruelity is unacceptable, and this is just cruel. Wolfes are barely off the extinction list

  20. Anonymous says:

    I think we need a 2 wk open season on state and federal politicians. We sure as hell have to many of them

  21. Catherine Keohane-Johnson says:

    I don't care what excuse people may give regarding the slaughter of these magnificent creatures. They owned the earth before us and it is us invading their territories. Stop this insanity! There is no excuse for this barbaric act. Like Angie pointed out above, karma will catch these cowardly murderers, the sooner the better by the sound of it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Just more of NRA jackasses getting that legal nod to go out and kill what is considered by many a sacred and beautiful creature, a real trophy for their messed up ego. I better never cross paths with any one of these individuals, for they will surely know my wrath.

  23. Anonymous says:

    As an activist, ithought I had seen it all. This nakes me physically ill. Is anyone organizing to stop this. I want to help.

  24. Jake says:

    Alright look Angie Thomas wolves are a nuisance they kill live stock and make farmers jobs way harder in the lower forty eight and using dogs is an easier way to get to exterminate them also I live in Oklahoma we even have wolves we protect our cattle how would u protect your animals would you just let you money in livestock go away and the wolves kill em all no I will be chasing wolves naked with a knife in my hand before I let them get any thing else

  25. Jake says:

    It is in no way cruel in the lower 48 they're a nuisance they kill our livestock and pets also hunting with dogs helps you track and exterminate the problem we do not kill for sport

  26. Jake says:

    Alright lady in a Christian I'm a hunter in the lower 48 wolves are a nuisance I'm in Oklahoma and we got wolves they kill the cattle and so what if we use dogs the dogs like to hunt and by God is my witness if they hunt the wolves extinct I will have no fear of dead cattle

  27. Jake says:

    If I may speak for the hunting and farming American citizens wolves are a nuisance and must be exterminated if we train dogs to kill wolves so be it its just like coon or hog hunting

  28. Jake says:

    I am no murderer if I protect my live stock by killing a nuisance yes the wolves owned it first but guess what now man owns it

  29. Jake says:

    I believe that they should be killed because they simply are a nuisance there are safe ways of training you dogs to wolf hunt such as catch a wolf put it in a cage and have the dogs bark at it. It trains the dogs to catch the animal and also they kill cattle so why not protect my animals

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