Wisconsin Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry
Sen. Tom Tiffany – Sen.Tiffany@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-2509)
Sen. Patrick Testin – Sen.Testin@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-0718)
Sen. Terry Moulton – Sen.Moulton@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-7511)
Sen. Robert Wirch – Sen.Wirch@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-267-8979)
Sen. Jon Erpenbach – Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-8546)
Staff Mitchel Ohly – Mitchel.Ohly@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-2509)
Staff Rachel Letzing – Rachel.Letzing@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-3370)
Staff Anna Henning – Anna.Henning@legis.wisconsin.gov (608-266-0292)
Letter by Kerry Beheler.
Please copy and share, send to the Senators! Hearing is Tues 16 Jan, tomorrow. Thank you! “Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry: SB602 as proposed would prevent Wisconsin law enforcement officers from enforcing or attempting to enforce any federal or state law relating to wolf management or the illegal killing, that is poaching, of wolves. This would make it illegal for law enforcement officers to enforce state or federal laws.
By forbidding both the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and federal US Fish and Wildlife Service agents from investigating WI wolf poaching, or other deaths, SB602 essentially allows those who wish to harm WI wolves to do so without fear of any consequences. Poaching, the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals, of WI wolves should be investigated and enforced.
SB602 as proposed would also prevent the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from expending any funds for the purpose of wolf population monitoring or management. These bills would only allow for the paying of depredation claims for damage caused by wolves.
SB602 seek to eliminate the ability to manage WI wolf populations. These bills ignore the vital role of WI to manage its wildlife, monitor wolf populations, disseminate information to the public, and show an inability to understand conservation. When discussing WI conservation issues, it is important to have all the facts. Species should be managed using the best available science in accordance with criteria established under the federal Endangered Species Act, or under proven state regulatory frameworks.
It is essential that WI maintain a scientific system to ensure the safety and management of all our wildlife, which are held in trust for the public.This is the public trust doctrine. We must scientifically monitor WI wolves to have knowledge of possible disease potentials, and to resolve possible conflicts between wolves and livestock producers.
Wolves are blamed for decimating the WI deer herd. This is simply not true. Weather and poor deer habitat have a far greater impact on deer populations than wolves. Research suggests that wolves actually strengthen deer populations and may limit the spread of diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease by removing sick animals from the population. The northern WI deer herd is recovering from recent past severe winters. Wolves have not had a negative impact on the northern WI deer herd. The buck kill was up 28% in northern WI in 2016 despite record wolf numbers. Preliminary 2017 WI statewide deer harvest data indicates that all regions reported reduced deer kills EXCEPT the northern forest. This is where the wolves live. The Northern Region had a 28% buck kill increase for the second consecutive year. The wild free-ranging deer of northern WI do not have Chronic Wasting Disease. This is where the wolves live.
Management is crucial to WI wolf long term population survival. It is absolutely necessary for the WDNR to closely monitor wolf populations especially if a public hunting season again begins. The impact of combined mortality factors including disease and human taking, through legal hunting and illegal poaching, on the WI wolf population must be addressed, or the adequacy of state regulatory schemes will be challenged in the Courts.
I believe it is imperative the WI Legislature fulfill it’s responsibility to wolves as a public trust natural resource by supporting the further development and implementation of scientific wolf management practices.
I urge the members of this Committee to oppose SB602. Thank you for your consideration and protection of our WI natural resources.”