Earlier this month, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation reported on an anti-hunting lawsuit aimed at stopping Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of Wisconsin humane societies and several individuals, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), claims that the use of dogs to hunt wolves violates the state’s animal cruelty laws and seeks to block the issuance of all wolf hunting licenses. Despite the fact that the State’s animal cruelty laws do not apply to hunting, the groups claim that hunting wolves using dogs will result in dog fighting and that it violates the animal cruelty law.
Apparently worried that their case could be thrown out, the anti-hunting groups have filed an amended complaint with some new allegations about wolf hunters and hunting. The claims are so outrageous that I’m not sure whether sportsmen should be furious or just laugh. Here they are:
Hunters are trying to adopt dogs from shelters to use as “bait” to hunt wolves. You heard that right, their lawsuit now claims that hunters have been going to local humane shelters looking to adopt dogs to be used as bait to lure in wolves.
This allegation is so outrageous that it probably doesn’t even warrant much of a response. There is absolutely no evidence to support this jaw-dropping claim. Hunters invest a huge amount of time and money into training and breeding top quality hunting dogs and certainly do not use dogs as “bait” to hunt wolves or other game like bears. In fact, they’re trained to only track and chase game, not to engage it. It shows just how low anti-hunters will stoop to attack hunting.
Hunting wolves with dogs will cause more livestock depredation. They’re also now claiming that using dogs to hunt wolves will somehow cause an increase in wolf-livestock depredation. They claim that hunting wolves with dogs will drive wolves from their established territories and closer to livestock farms.
What they fail to mention is that the entire purpose of the wolf hunting season, including hunting with dogs, is to help bring the state’s booming wolf population down to a more manageable level. Wolf hunting will help reduce livestock depredation, not increase it.
Dogs used for hunting wolves will surround and scare people in the woods. The lawsuit now claims that one of the plaintiffs, described as a “wolf tracker,” could find herself scared and surrounded by packs of unleashed hounds while she was in the woods looking for wolves.
To me, I’d be much more scared to find myself surround by a pack of wolves than a pack of hunting dogs. Hunting dogs are trained to track and follow game and are not interested in chasing and surrounding people. Hunting with dogs is not new, dogs have been used to for hunting many types of game (bear, raccoon, etc.) and there has never been a problem with hunting dogs viciously surrounding and scarring people.
It’s easy to laugh these arguments off as nonsense, however, they need to be taken seriously by the sportsmens’ community. They’re being used by the antis as a way to show that they’ll be harmed (called legal standing) by the WDNR’s rules regarding hunting wolves with dogs. If they can convince a judge that these ideas aren’t so far fetched it will help to keep them from getting their case dismissed so they can continue to pursue a ban on wolf hunting.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund continues to monitor and evaluate the case.