WI hunters look to road signs to protect wolves / Public press service

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin – Opposition to the wolf hunt in Wisconsin is increasingly visible, and not just in public hearings or on social media. Drivers may soon notice what some hunters think about wolves.

A new coalition, calling itself Wolf hunters, is behind a trio of billboards set up along highways in northern Wisconsin. Organizers want to draw attention to what they see as ethical concerns as the state prepares to update its wolf management plan.

Pat Clark, a member of the Great Lakes Wildlife Alliance, which is part of the coalition, said he wants the general public to be made aware of current methods allowed, such as the use of dogs during a hunt.

“Northern Wisconsin is very dependent on tourism money, and if these people knew what was going on, I think there could be more outcry,” Clark said.

Clark is concerned that hunters like him will be regrouped as the debate continues.

After wolves were removed from the federal government protection of endangered species, a court-ordered hunt in February saw the state far exceed the harvest quota.

The Department of Natural Resources was collect public comments on how to manage the species and season this fall. A board of directors may soon decide to impose restrictions, including on night hunting.

Erik Schyvinck, another member of the coalition, said he believed that well-funded groups pushing the hunts had a strong influence on state policy. He hopes the billboard campaign will lead to greater citizen influence over wolf management and make it clear that there are hunters who have a management awareness of the species.

“It lets people know that not all hunters are [the] slaughter of wolves, “argued Schyvinck.” We are in conservation. “

People on all sides recognize that wolves play an important role in the ecosystem. But supporters of the wolf hunt say the animal feeds on cattle and fears of decimating the wolf population are overblown.

The Wisconsin debate comes as more than 100 scientists called on the Biden administration to restore federal protections.

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