While wolves are struggling to increase their numbers from all-time lows, several states have decided that this is a swell time to start killing them for fun. Care2 reported on a new policy permitting shooting wolves on sight in Wyoming. Montana extended its hunting season to give hunters a chance to meet the “quota” of killing 40% of the state’s wolf population. Since Congress stripped wolves of Endangered Species status in 2011, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico and Idaho have declared open season on wolves.
So what does this bloodshed have to do with domesticated dogs?
Wisconsin is also permitting wolf hunting, and that state’s hunters plan to use dogs to track wolves, claiming that the dogs are “essential to success.” TH Online.com reports that animal advocates are more interested in protecting hunting dogs from “potentially deadly confrontations with wolves” than in ensuring productive hunts. The dispute has gone to court, as Care2′s Alicia Graef reported; a local judge who temporarily banned the use of dogs in wolf hunting is set to hold a hearing on the case on September 14th.
The hunters paint a dire portrait of failure and disappointment should they be denied the help of dogs. One hunting advocate “said hunters who can’t use dogs won’t kill wolves.” The heart bleeds for him.
Among the growing list of states legalizing wolf hunting, Wisconsin is alone in attempting to allow hunters to use dogs to hunt wolves, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. According to TH Online.com, “a lawyer for the plaintiffs said other states’ wolf hunts are expected to be successful even without dogs, and he cited Montana as a state that’s had a successful wolf season without dogs.” How is it that hunters in every other state anticipate or have completed successful hunts without dogs? Are Wisconsin wolves wilier than the rest? Or are Wisconsin hunters more bloodthirsty?
It seems that Wisconsin’s jolly beer-and-cheese reputation hides a very dark side: over 20,000 Wisconsin hunters have applied for permits to kill wolves. The 1,160 winners will be selected by lottery, according to the Rockford Register Star.
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