November 24, 2014

Hunters join wolf hunt lawsuit

Over a dozen Wisconsin hunters have joined animal rights’ groups in a lawsuit that seeks to permanently ban the use of dogs by wolf hunters.

Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson has temporarily banned dogs that help hunters track down wolves. The court will hold a hearing next month to consider a permanent ban, as well as an opposing effort by the state DNR to drop the lawsuit altogether.

It could all be a moot point by then, at least for this season. The DNR says 77 wolves have already been shot since the hunt began October 15th. At the current pace, hunters will reach their quota of 116 before the December 20th court hearing, and that means the season would close long before its scheduled ending date of February 28th.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which includes over 40 state humane societies, argue the DNR should draft rules about the training of dogs before the wolf hunt, as well as their usage during the season. Without those rules, they claim that wolves and dogs could engage in fights, with dogs coming up on the short end.

Some of the hunters who joined the lawsuit fear that the dogs will interfere with Wisconsin’s other hunting seasons which take place at the same time, including the deer hunt.