The DNR Board is again looking at allowing the use of dogs to hunt wolves in Wisconsin. A proposed rule package is moving ahead, despite concerns from wolf and dog lovers.
Back in December the DNR Board OK'd the development of permanent rules for wolf hunting, replacing the temporary rules that covered last fall's wolf hunt. A Dane County judge had banned the use of dogs during the wolf season. But after the season ended the judge lifted his injunction regarding dogs and sent the issue back to the DNR. The board voted 7-0 Tuesday to put permanent rule-making back on track. Board member Jane Wiley says the process has to go forward, "We have to follow the judge's requirements and what we wind up doing is giving more and more and more transparency to this issue like we should for every issue."
Wiley says there will be public hearings this spring. If those hearings are anything like public comments before the board Tuesday, the sessions will be lively. Pro-hunting groups testified in favor using dogs to hunt wolves, while several wolf advocates blistered the board with criticism. Kathy Miller of Brule says wealthy hunting groups are pushing to put dogs in the wolf hunt: "Safari International, the Hunters Rights Coalition, and money talks!"
Miller says she, and many more people who agree with her will be back to testify at the public hearings for the permanent wolf hunt rules. That's unless a recent lawsuit that tries to place the gray wolf back on the endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region succeeds and puts an end to wolf hunting.