Bear hound dogs huge impact on the landscape
This Wisconsin documentary film spotlights the use of hound hunting dogs to train on and hunt wolves, bears, coyotes, bobcats, fox, and ultimately all wildlife in their path. (Link here)
Beginning of 60+ days of training hound dogs
on bears and cubs
Bear hunters have been baiting bears since April 15th and will continue to do so until the end of bear killing season in October. In addition, on July 1st, 12,000+ unleashed bear hound dogs will be let loose on WI's landscape to "train" on bears. Mothers and young cubs as well will be pursued and harassed for an unregulated numbers of hours in the hottest days of the summer. According to the 2014 Bear Hunter Survey, approx. 50% of license A/B holders train their dogs on a bear mom and cubs 3-4 times during the training season. Black bears have NO sweat glands. Consequently, the chasing of bears by hound dogs for hours at a time in the heat of the summer can induce seizures as well.
Wisconsin's egregious bear baiting regulations
Wolves have been known to defend bait sites which can result in deadly confrontations. Dog depredations by wolves occurs regularly as well as hound dogs run miles from their owners and inadvertently run thru wolf rendezvous sites and/or bait sites. (see Fact Sheets) Approximately 4,600,000 gallons of bait (2014 Bear Hunter questionnaire) are dumped on the WI landscape over 82,340 bait sites. Bear applications and permits have increased each year in Wisconsin so it is suggested that baiting has continued to increase since 2014 data was released. See research focused on Wisconsin's bear baiting regulations: "Bear Baiting may put hunting dogs at risk".
Dog depredation compensation
Over $625,000 has been paid to hound hunters who run unleashed hound dogs through wolf range. Hound hunters receive $2,500 for depredation compensation. Wisconsin is the only state in the country to compensate hound hunters for dogs. See "State pays Scofflaws over hound deaths"
As part of the WI's budget bill, the Joint Finance Committee (see pdf below) approved a motion to remove the requirement of a Class B Bear license. There will now be no regulations in place for the following activities: Assisting a person in hunting bear by tracking bear, trailing bear or engaging in any other activity to locate bear; bait bear; train a dog to track bear, to trail bear or to otherwise engage in any activity that contributes to locating bear. According to the WDNR 2014 Bear Hunter Survey, there were approximately 8,919 Class B Bear License holders with an average of approximately 5 dogs.
Non-residents from surrounding states as well can participate in these activities which require no licensing. Little to no regulations and the large number of unlicensed hound hunters engaged in above activities is anticipated to have impacts on law enforcement.
Recent research (pdf link) shows core habitat for wolves represents the highest risk to dogs in Wisconsin. The 2013 caution map below illustrates this point; the red dots representing hound depredations. Since hunters "voluntarily" place their dogs at risk, this research proposes an alternative compensation model based on the fact that wildlife is intended for public lands and with that comes an accepted level of risk. Some proposed recommendations: compensation based on habitat which determines level of risk; public vs. private land; Reduction of bear-baiting (WI-141 days vs. MN-14 days); . Livestock compensations have been adjusted recently; hound depredations have not and they are individually the most costly.
"In Wisconsin, as in many other states and countries, wolves are now a part of the landscape and with this comes responsibility, for both the government (under the public-trust doctrine) and the private individual, to mitigate conflicts with wolves."
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
see "Wisconsin Wolf Hunt" section
(excellent resource for historical & current information on WI Gray Wolf and hound dogs)
The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) worked hard to be an obstacle at the capitol to protecting companion dogs during the passing of the puppy mill legislation in Wisconsin. As of the 2021-22 legislative session they have still made it a point to be an obstacle to all animal protective legislation in our state (see amendment to SB366).
There is unregulated breeding of bear & coyote hound dogs across Wisconsin.
The Daily Globe
Based on the caption, these hound hunters spend down our public trust to subsidize their dogs and their reckless, inhumane "sport". They also are subsidized by the WI state agency if their dogs are depredated by WI wolves even though they have knowingly released their dogs in wolf range. The Daily Globe is a paper published for the community of Ironwood, MI in Gogebic County which sits adjacent to the Montreal River. This river marks the border of Michigan and Wisconsin; hound hunters will move back and forth between the states often times running dogs into Wisconsin's Nicolet National Forest.
A threat to Wildlife: Coyote & Bear hound
The dark underbelly of hound hunting
"...They keep them underweight so they can run fast...The dogs are back in the woods a lot of the time, and we really don’t know unless we get complaints…"
Hound hunting in Wisconsin has little to no regulations and violations are complaint-based only. (Link here for dog hunting regs - pg. 10).
Some anecdotal reports off of hound dog forum sites or hound hunter Facebook comments state that if hunters' hounds lose a trail and can't pick it up again (what they call a "blind retrieve") that would be "their final resting spot." Also, some hound hunters breed their own dogs for specific traits and if they don't possess them they are abandoned at the least or at the worst are killed. (Link here for media)
Bear dogs attack hiker
in North Carolina Federal Forest
Katie's saga continues as more stories surface of damage done to others by hound dogs running loose on public lands. Kadie continues to rally support/testimony around the country from people negatively impacted by free-roaming hound dogs. She submitted the following comments to Florida's F&WC bear hounder's lobbying efforts to hunt recovered Black Bears with dogs in FL:
"It is easy to turn a blind eye to the cruelty that hunting with dogs inflicts not only upon wildlife but also (on the)hunting dogs (themselves). I wish I could convey to you the pain and suffering my dogs experienced as they were literally torn apart by the pack of hunting dogs. These dogs had no mercy and they would show similar behavior toward anything they came across…"
Hiker continues to garner signatures to change N.C. 1990 statute that exempts hound dog hunters from liability. (Link here for commentary: "[Hound] hunters and their dogs don't deserve special protections"). Sign petition to help hiker change NC statute: link here
October 13, 2014
12,000+ HOUND DOGS ON WISCONSIN'S LANDSCAPE ARE A PUBLIC SAFETY RISK
(see "Black Bear questionnaire link below)
Bear hunter survey results/information
DNR Black Bear Hunter Questionnaire results (Class A and B permit holders) indicated that approximately 12,700 hounds were on the landscape during the training season; average of 16-18 days/hound; hounds accounted for >100,000 training-days; approximately 5 hounds used/hunter." In addition, 3,700,000 gallons of bear bait are dumped on Wisconsin's landscape from 4/15 thru hunting season in October. Scientific research out of MTU suggests an increase in deadly encounters between dogs and wolves when bait is put down as Wolves will defend bait sites.
DNR reports (p.4) there was an organized effort by hound hunters to take out wolf packs; "...Lincoln County pack is gone". Unleashed hounds are run in the area of wolf rendezvous sites for training/hunting of bears; wolves kill hound dogs to defend their pups, pack and territory.
In our opinion, removing entire wolf packs is hound hunters' efforts at having free reign to train and run their unleashed dogs on bears in wolf pack territory. Furthermore, hound hunters can claim reimbursement of $2,500 if their dogs are killed by wolves.
"Ban dogs hunting wolves in Wisconsin"