The Natural Resources Board has rejected a DNR proposal to create an emergency rule on the use of dogs during the fall wolf hunt.
The Department of Natural Resources asked the board for authority to write an emergency rule on the use of dogs in response to an injunction filed last month by Circuit Judge Peter Anderson. That stemmed from a lawsuit brought by a coalition of humane societies claiming the state did not provide adequate rules for training and protecting dogs during the hunt.
Natural Resources Board member Bill Bruins says creating an emergency rule before the case has been decided does not make sense. “I’m fully supportive of developing a permanent rule as to how dogs can be utilized in the hunt but to put something in an emergency status with how fluid the situation is I think is foolish for us to do.”
The board voted six to one in favor of rejecting the emergency rule for this season but did give the DNR authority to begin work on dog training and hunting regulations through its normal process. NRB Chair Dave Clausen says the judge’s ruling really only required the DNR to prove they had discussed dog-training requirements. “What we did was establish a record to be presented to the judge and I don’t think any of us here can predict what the judge will do with that.”
Clausen says the debate over the use of dogs in hunting wolves has a long way to go. “The legislature opened Pandora’s box with this thing. I truly believe that’s the case and this is going to be a controversy for some time.”
Clausen says whether wolf hunters can use dogs this fall will depend on Judge Anderson’s final ruling. A hearing has been scheduled for October 2nd.