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Wolf loses ESA protection in the Great Lakes Feb. 10, 2012


Minnesota talks about hunting season-
Hunting season bill introduced into Wisconsin legislature-

At long last, wolves are delisted in the Great Lakes. Now folks are looking to see if the wolf can be conserved by these states, or whether old attitudes from 19th century prevail as they have politically in Idaho and Montana.

While it should be noted that the Humane Society is still trying to derail the delisting, most people, according the polls support delisting, but not a hunt right now, at least in Wisconsin.Hunting is the problem or the solution in all these states according to differing points of view. It isn’t so much hunting per se that is the question but whether the seasons will be of the kind the keep the wolf population about stable or whether it is to all but wipe them out as in Idaho and Montana.

Minnesota was the last refuge for the wolf in the lower 48 states. When the wolf was protected by the ESA there back in the mid-1970s, the wolf population quickly began to grow and spread reaching a maximum of about 3000 wolves by the end of the 1990s. Then, contrary to predictions by those who think wolf populations grow until they collapse and all other wildlife are dead, the wolf population stabilized. It is estimated 2900 roam the northern, mostly northeastern portion of the state. That is the same as a decade ago.

Minnesota DNR and the legislature seem to be talking a a hunt that would set a quota of 400 wolves in a hunt that begins in late November. This would be about 15% and sustainable, from the standpoint of stability, a good option.

Wisconsin with about 700 wolves that got their start from Minnesota wolves migrating to the Badger State, has no hunting season planned, but there is a bill in the legislature to have one with a quota (400) that would depress the population. Wisconsin has long been a progressive state, but a lot of right-wingers slipped into office in 2010. The controversial new governor, Scott Walker, and an increasingly thin majority (due to recalls) in the legislature of right wingers, have been passing regressive legislature. Walker is slated for his own recall election, and he will likely soon also be under investigation for campaign crimes. The state is being flooded by political money from the Koch Brothers and their friends. Observers argue Wisconsinites have decided to fight each other, and the wolf hunt will feed into that. A second election (2012) is probably needed to settle some of these issues.

Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are all states where Lyme Disease is rampant. Excessive numbers of deer likely contribute to the problem as well as an amazing number of traffic accidents. Some say the wolves are helping with the Lyme Disease problem and also retarding the spread of chronic wasting disease by culling and controlling an overly large deer population.

The 550 or so wolves in Michigan are all in the U.P. (the Upper Peninsula), which is geographically cut off from the rest of Michigan by the Great Lakes. An other would probably think the UP would logically be part of Wisconsin.

Here is a sample of the news about hunting wolves in Wisconsin. Bill to hunt wolves is off target, expert says. By Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel