Local View: Wisconsin shows itself incapable, once again, of wolf management

From the column: "We are in a grave situation when a contingent of vigilante hunters is trying to reshape hunting and trapping into a trophy sport that celebrates bloodlust, malevolence, and savagery, seemingly by any lethal means."


The ink was barely dry on the delisting of the grey wolf from the Endangered Species Act when Jefferson County, Wisconsin, Judge Bennett Brantmeier ordered a wolf hunt in his state.

It is clear to me Brantmeier acted capriciously, injudiciously, and prejudicially when his court advertised for public input with only 48 hours’ notice. The appeals process seemed dubious at best.

Brantmeier’s order overruled the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources board’s decision to defer a wolf hunt until November. My suspicions remain that undue pressure was put on the DNR. It reversed tack in support of the hunt, pushed aside the science, organized a hastily cobbled together hunt during breeding season, and violated Act 20, Section 561 by permitting the nighttime hunting of wolves.

Machiavellian tactics seem to be at play in Madison, and this matter demands two things immediately: an inquiry by the state attorney general and a moratorium on additional wolf hunting in Wisconsin pending a judicial review and legislative hearing.

Unless I am mistaken, the DNR is charged with protecting the natural assets belonging to the people of Wisconsin against threat, judicial or otherwise. If any single state agency needs reminding that we have entered a sixth mass extinction on planet earth, it ought not be the DNR.


Wolves live in family structures and suffer sociological distress in ways that mirror humans. This hunt could have dire consequences on pregnant females, pups, and pack cohesion. Rather than this being a scientifically driven cull, Judge Brantmeier foisted a bloodbath on us.

It seems to me there is too much influence on the Jefferson County Court from politically motivated quarters, notably the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the Kansas-based Hunter Nation.

Hunter Nation peddles propaganda that seemingly seeks to dismantle the Endangered Species Act and conflate the Second Amendment. The hysteria that defines its rhetoric incites a massacre of the wolf as a kind of retribution for the protection the animal enjoyed by the Endangered Species Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Owing to its status as an apex predator, the wolf has become an archetype for everything that stands in the way of the sport- and trophy-hunting lobbies’ agendas for unlimited harvests, year-round hunting, and the relaxation of hunting regulations.

Across Canada and the United States, a politicized and militarized coalition of trophy and sport hunters is infecting the traditional hunting and trapping community and must be stopped in its tracks; it can’t be aided and abetted by our legal system.

We are in a grave situation when a contingent of vigilante hunters is trying to reshape hunting and trapping into a trophy sport that celebrates bloodlust, malevolence, and savagery, seemingly by any lethal means.

Once again, Wisconsin has proved it is incapable of managing the grey wolf.

Doug Pazienza of Whitley Bay in England is a registered counselor and psychotherapist practicing clinical ecopsychology. He teaches ecotherapy for the Earthbody Institute ( ) in Berkeley, Calif. He double-majored in geography and urban studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and has been contributing to the News Tribune Opinion page since 1988. He is actively engaged in conservation and sustainability issues. He can be reached at or at // .


Doug Pazienza.jpg
Doug Pazienza

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