Dear Friends of the WI Wolf & Wildlife,
We know how hard the last few months have been if you love wolves and wildlife. Those images and even the official report from the wolf hunt still haunt me. We have heard from so many recently who are deeply and rightly disgusted by how Wisconsin has chosen to “manage” our wolves, less than a year out from being legally recognized as an endangered species. That delisting by the Trump Administration was illegal, which makes it even more infuriating. As much as I try to stay professional, you have seen my own tears in our meetings and I hope my vulnerability makes you feel that it is okay to be human, too.
We are concerned about the state of affairs in our legislature, DNR, wolf committees and Natural Resources Board. As many of you have recently found out, you need a strong character and guts to withstand much of what passes for “conservation” in our state today. Abject disregard of science, ethics and the wanton killing of what we find most precious and irreplaceable in our natural world, wildlife. The corruption by special interests, such as out-of-state trophy hunting groups like Hunter Nation, of the systems we trust to manage our wildlife, have become “the new norm”. We understand how it all can seem so hopeless and overwhelming at times.
However, you showed up to the Wolf Harvest Committee with your stories and your heartfelt concerns and didn’t waiver. You brought the science supporting why killing wolves so recklessly was harming not only our wildlife, but you and your families too. It’s amazing to see all the comments compiled – we knew there were 90 or so but WOW, reading TWENTY SEVEN pages of people calling for “no hunt” is just incredible, in addition to 21 of our advocates speaking publicly about no quota. Since being founded in 2012, this organization has never accomplished that before and we sincerely would not be here without you. You all should be incredibly proud of the work you have done.
Next, we got over EIGHT HUNDRED pro-wildlife resolutions introduced to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, way exceeding our goals. That feat was truly awe-inspiring and the public got to vote on those resolutions in nearly every county in Wisconsin. While we don’t know the results yet, we have certainly shaken the ground and stirred things up in the old guard. Take notice, we are not going away.
Even though we were blocked by the Natural Resources Board from holding them accountable for the February wolf hunt, you were able to quickly pivot and bring your concerns about wildlife management to the attention of the board and the media. I guarantee that mattered. It mattered to us, the public, the media and most importantly to our wildlife. Your letters to the editors and your quotes in news stories are being read throughout the state of Wisconsin and beyond. You can watch our testimony here starting at about 1:50:00:
Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Meeting – April 14, 2021
Though we are not invulnerable, or even professional speakers or writers, our pack supports us to laugh in the face of cynics who claim “they don’t care what you say,” or “you’re never going to stop the wolf hunt.” This, and your participation in these very difficult wildlife agency meetings with very little notice to prepare, has made us even better champions for wolves.
You now see what we are up against. But you are ready for this fight even if you do not feel that you are, you are. Are you still standing? The answer is, yes, YOU helped our organization pass the bar. And even raised it.
We understand there is a tendency to be overwhelmed with how much is wrong in the environmental fight for justice. Do not focus on that. Do not get overwhelmed. We are here to support you in your fight to save our wolves. And though we meet resistance, seemingly at every damn avenue of public input, we are going to keep the pressure on, keep learning and do everything we can to get Wisconsin back to the place we remember it to be. Wisconsin can be an environmental leader and the state that takes pride in having a robust and beautiful wolf population. We got this!
That being said, we have another opportunity to not only stop the fall wolf hunt, but to weigh in on the future of wolf management in Wisconsin. This is a critical action, and probably the most important thing you will do in advocating for wolves in 2021. This plan will set the next ten years of wolf management in our state and with constant threats of poaching, habitat loss and climate change, so it is absolutely vital that we participate in this next opportunity for wolf advocacy.
As part of the management plan revision process, the DNR will convene a Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC). Ahead of the summer WMPC meetings, the DNR is encouraging the public to provide input on the next 10 years of wolf management in Wisconsin.
This comment period is from April 15th – May 15th and is open to everyone, even out-of-state residents who have a vested interest in wild wolves. HOWEVER, PLEASE WAIT to submit your comments until we go over this survey in our next Fireside Chat Meeting on April 22nd at 6pm via Zoom. Questions on this survey have been worded to get the results the DNR wants and not necessarily what the public wants. During our next chat we will go through everything with you, question-by-question, so that you all thoroughly understand and feel prepared to help family and friends participate as well. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR WAITING TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS UNTIL WE HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO DISCUSS IT TOGETHER AS AN ORGANIZATION !
Following the public comment period on wolf management’s future in Wisconsin, the WMPC will provide input to the DNR for developing an updated wolf management plan. The committee will comprise stakeholder groups, including hunting/trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and agricultural/ranching organizations. The DNR also reserves additional seats on the WMPC for invited tribal and governmental agencies, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and DNR technical staff support.
Thank you again advocates for your hard work and leadership as wolf conservationists. Looking forward to seeing you all at our next Fireside Chat Meeting !