Who is Misleading Who? The Reality About Hounding

This is considered part of Wisconsin's "heritage."
This is considered part of Wisconsin’s “heritage.”

The use of dogs against wildlife in Wisconsin has long been a contentious and controversial issue. In recent years it has become far more contentious when the Wisconsin Legislature voted to allow the use of dogs in the bill that authorized the yearly wolf slaughter starting in 2012. Hounders will have you believe that their dogs are just happy little puppies that only chase bears, coyotes, wolves, and other hounded animals and NEVER engage those animals in fights. They have convinced the Legislature and many in the public that hounding is a “family sport” and is a Wisconsin “tradition” and part of our “heritage.”

Hounders are going out of their way to convince a skeptical public that when their dogs are used against wolves the dogs just politely follow the wolf, wait until the wolf “sits down,” and just waits for the hounder to show up and execute it. This is what one hounder said at a recent forum. I am not joking. From an article by “outdoors writer” and often hounder apologist, Patrick Durkin:

Dave Mabie, of Kennan, a longtime houndsman and Price County delegate to the WCC;

Mabie, however, said many people — not just opponents — have misconceptions about wolf-hounding, and hound-hunting in general. Mabie has owned and trained hounds for more than 30 years, and each autumn takes about 15 individuals and families on hound-hunts for bears, bobcats, coyotes and — in December 2013 — wolves.

“(My guests) tell me it’s the most fun they’ve ever had on a vacation,” Mabie said. “They have a new understanding of how hound-hunting actually works. There’s not all this blood and fur flying around the woods like they’ve been led to believe. They can’t believe how misled they were about hunting with hounds.”

Mabie said most wolf-hounding chases differ little from a bird dog pointing grouse or pheasants.

“Putting one hound on a track is no problem,” he said. “The dog will run that wolf and bark at it until the wolf sits down, and then the dog runs circles around it, barking. If it were a bird dog with a beeper collar, the beeper would go off and you’d move in to flush the bird. The hound basically goes to point on the wolf.”

Mabie also said hounds have little trouble learning to trail wolves, and sees no need for the hotly contested training season now being planned by the DNR and its Wolf Advisory Committee.

“If you own good hounds, you put that hound on a wolf track and it will follow it,” Mabie said. “Unless you’re trying to get a straight wolf-dog, you don’t need to train hounds on wolves. They run wolves real easy without special training.”

So the innocent hound dogs just “run and bark” until the wolf “sits down.” Sounds so fluffy and harmless doesn’t it? If the wolf just “sits down” then I would like Mr. Mabie to explain why the DNR has paid hounders a total of $517,685 through today for killed hounds and “vet bills” for injured hounds?

Hounders are going out of their way to convince us that wolves and dogs won’t fight when they encounter each other. Last December when hounders were allowed to pit their dogs against wolves conveniently all of the wolf bodies that they were required to turn in after a kill were badly decomposed and made gathering any conclusive evidence impossible. There hounders were give sometimes up to 35 days before they were required to turn the killed wolf bodies over to the DNR. 35 DAYS!!!!!! Is it any surprise that the hounders knew to let the bodies decompose so they couldn’t be implicated in any dog fighting?

Even more disturbing that in recent days while “professional” hounders like Mabie are spreading fluffy propaganda other hounders are taking to the internet threatening “war” against wolves through poaching and poisoning as “revenge” for hounds allegedly killed by wolves. They neglect to mention that they are letting their dogs run loose through KNOWN wolf rendezvous and den sites while claiming to be “training” their dogs against bears. The poor hounders claim that they are the victims and DEMAND that the DNR pay them for their killed dogs while at the same time threatening poaching and poison attacks against wolves. Not such a fluffy picture of dogs “chasing and barking” and the wolf “sitting down” is it? Where is the DNR in all of this? Why are they not working to counter the disinformation being spread by the hounders and other wolf haters?

Lets go back to the quote from Dave Mabie for a second:

“(My guests) tell me it’s the most fun they’ve ever had on a vacation,” Mabie said. “They have a new understanding of how hound-hunting actually works. There’s not all this blood and fur flying around the woods like they’ve been led to believe. They can’t believe how misled they were about hunting with hounds.”

Mislead huh? Watch this video and tell me how wildlife advocates are “misleading” people about hounding. It gets really interesting around the 2:00 mark. (WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC)


Or this one. Start around the 2:05 mark for some more “misleading” about how hounders operate. (WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC)


These are just two samples of how Wisconsin Hounders practice their “sport.” Who is doing the misleading Mr. Mabie? This happens in our woods each and every day to bears, coyotes, raccoons, wolves, turkeys (Yes TURKEYS), and an assortment of other wildlife. Wisconsin law states that dogs cannot be used to attack or kill wildlife yet the DNR claims that there have been ZERO violations of this statute even after wildlife advocates have submitted numerous video and photo evidence. This is how hounders in Wisconsin operate. This is not a “family sport.” This is not “heritage” or “tradition.” This is animal fighting and pure bloodlust. Is this what Wisconsin wants to be known for? I am damn well going to make sure that it is.


19 Comments Add yours

  1. owstarr says:

    Everything you ever wanted to know about hounding can be summed up by the photo at the bottom of this post: http://www.quora.com/Oliver-Starr/Posts/What-causes-wolves-to-kill-dogs be forewarned, the photos are graphic.

  2. Wendy Tumey says:

    This is kinda spooky. I just found your blog and in fact had the same picture posted on my Facebook several years ago. I keep reading article after article and finally feel like I am not the crazy one. I have heard so many times that “this is just the way it is up hear” when I challenge the senseless eradication of the bears and wolves. Glad to know I am not the only one who sees through the smoke (gun) and mirrors.

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