Black bears should no longer feel solely terrorized and persecuted by hound hunters in training activities; the gray wolf has now joined their ranks.
Here’s how hound training on both bears and wolves works: Bear baiting begins April 15, 111 days longer than the six other states still allowing pre-season bear baiting. Gallons of sweet treats are dumped in our woods to habituate bears and newborn cubs into showing up at dumping sites daily. After three months of getting fat on sweet treats, July 1 the rules and their world changes. Now packs of hounds are released into the woods from baiting stations or on a bear track crossing the road and the chase is on.
These chases can last for hours and cover up to 10-plus miles while hunters stay on the roads and drive from one block of woods to the next while following hounds on GPS, who are running their quarry to exhaustion. If cubs are lucky they make it to a tree before the hounds; some are not so lucky.
Now add wolves and wolf pups who, unlike bears, are now being run down by an unlimited number of hounds for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no license required. Contrary to what the DNR and hound hunters state, walking up to a dog and wolf fight to put a leash on dogs while skipping home unscathed is far from the truth. Poaching of wolves will be rampant.
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Bear hounds are bred to be tough and fight, but history tells us they are no match for a wolf as $500,000-plus in depredation payments have gone to hound hunters. This is canine against canine. In less than one minute a wolf can either break the neck or back of a bear hound or disembowel and rip it’s hide off. In the 20 minutes to an hour that it takes the hunters to make it from their trucks to the fight in the woods, how many hounds, wolves and wolf pups at rendezvous sites will already be dead? Since there is no limit on number of hounds on wolves, maybe 12 to 18 hounds on one wolf will get the upper hand?
Make no mistake, this will be brutal. Thank you, Wisconsin legislators, for Act 169.