On Wednesday, August 8th a coalition of animal rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in an attempt to stop the state’s upcoming wolf hunt.
The hunting season, which was passed by the state’s legislature earlier this year and was recently approved by the WDNR, allows the use of dogs to track wolves. The anti-hunting groups are claiming that the use of dogs to hunt wolves is a violation of the state’s animal cruelty laws and are seeking to stop the issuance of wolf hunting licenses.
Anti-hunting groups have long opposed state management, including a wolf hunt, to control Wisconsin’s exploding wolf populations. Twice they’ve filed lawsuits aimed at keeping recovered wolf populations listed under the Endangered Species Act to prohibit the state from managing them. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and partners intervened in the lawsuits to protect sportsmen and state wildlife management.
“This lawsuit is a backdoor attempt by anti-hunting organizations to limit wolf hunting and state management of wolves which have vastly exceeded their recovery goals,” said Rob Sexton, Senior Vice President with the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation. “The lawsuit doesn’t have any merit as the state’s animal cruelty laws are clear that they do not override its hunting laws. This case, however, needs to be taken seriously. If these groups are successful in twisting the state’s animal cruelty laws to block wolf hunting, it could set a dangerous precedent that could easily be applied to ban other forms of hunting.”
Among the groups pushing the new lawsuit are: Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies; Wisconsin Humane Society; Dane County Humane Society; Fox Valley Humane Association; Northwood Alliance; National Wolf Watcher Coalition; and Wisconsin residents Jane Belsky, Michael Belsky, and Donna Onstott.
The USSAF, along with the Wisconsin Bear Hunters, Wisconsin Chapters of SCI, and the Wisconsin Hunter’s Rights Coalition, are evaluating legal options.