The internet is both a wonderful tool for passing along information and a nightmare that allows uninformed fear mongering morons to spread lies and misinformation. This week articles appeared in various news outlets that reported an alleged killing of a calf by a wolf near Arlington, Wisconsin. While these “attacks” are rare all over the state despite what the fear mongers tell us, they are especially rare that far south in Wisconsin. However when one looks deeper into the reported “facts” surrounding the alleged depredation the culprit is not so clear. The media made sure to sensationalize the story to pretend that the farmer was just devastated about the death of an animal that was “like a pet” to him.
Rick Stevenson and his brothers farm 1,800 acres outside Poynette, but have never lost an animal to other wildlife. That is, until last Tuesday, when they found a dead calf in a pasture.
“They had torn the throat out of it, and broke the neck,” Stevenson said. “It made us sick. They’re our pets, you know.”
“Pets,” huh? How do you treat your pets? I know that I don’t raise mine and then when they are old enough have someone shoot a bolt in their head so that they can end up on a dinner plate. Do you? As ridiculous as that comment was how the DNR apparently determined that a wolf was the culprit is even more so:
DNR experts investigating the incident confirmed it was a wolf attack because the calf was attacked at the throat. Coyotes and other animals often target the backside of an animal instead of the throat, according to the DNR.
The attack is also the first reported wolf attack in Columbia County this year.
While a wolf attack is considered rare in the area, Stevenson said it’s the second time he has seen a wolf on his property.
In May of 2014, a gray wolf was seen on a hunting camera roaming the area. Stevenson said he isn’t sure whether it’s the same wolf that killed his calf.
Stevenson has filed paperwork with the DNR and USDA to receive some reimbursement for his lost calf, which is worth $1,100.
So was there a DNA test? Prints? Anything other than this guy seeing a wolf on a “hunting camera” a year ago? If it wasn’t a wolf the farmer couldn’t feed at the trough of the “depredation” gravy train so that sure makes the determination that it was a wolf pretty important.
One of the worst sites for clueless, racist, and flat out misinformation filled comments is the website for the Madison, Wisconsin CBS affiliate, WISC-TV. The article about the alleged wolf depredation is no exception. In this instance the barstool biologists come out of the woodwork to make claims about wolves, of course, eating children, eating all the deer, being “planted” in southern Wisconsin, and most laughably of all one making claims that he has never heard of a coyote killing a calf.
Larry Cuff · Top Commenter · Baraboo, Wisconsin
How do you think these wolves got here they were brought down from the north because of the over population of deer in some parts of the southern area of “WI. For someone who only reads books to tell people that were actually at the scene and had prior pictures of wolves, that it was a coyote that killed the calf is obviously a person that likes wolves and is trying to protect them. This scene is only going to get worse before it gets better, and for you Mr. Lulling there have been coyotes in Wisconsin for 50 plus years or more and I don’t recall ever hearing of one that killed a calf.
The esteemed barstool biologist Dr. Cuff apparently never looks at the Wisconsin DNR’s “depredation reports” because just this year several calf kills have been attributed to coyotes and domestic dogs.
The DNR report shows at least SEVEN calves allegedly killed by coyotes just since February, but since Dr. Cuff never heard about one ever occurring obviously they never did.
Next in the article we have this genius:
Richard Procter · Top Commenter · Madison, Wisconsin
when wolfs start attacking livestock then its open season ( the judge can stick it).
Ahh yes, the Wisconsin way, bad grammar and all. Is it any wonder why each week there seems to be another story about men from Wisconsin being busted for poaching in other states? The arrogance and moronic barstool biology does not stop there. Now the wolves are coming for your kids:
Jake Jacobs · Top Commenter · Lacrosse State University Lacrosse, Wisconsin
OK, I have read all the posts on here and it makes one scratch his head and wonder. One side, the outdoorsman type, with common sense see the real threat. The “bookworms” see another. To the “feel good” folks that love the wolves, remember there wasn’t a house in every woods when the wolves were roaming free the first time. If you recall when the wolf was re-introduced to Wisconsin, both the DNR and the Fed’s said Wisconsin could safely handle a population of 300 wolves. When the population went to more than 800, they introduced a hunting and trapping season to curtail the exploding population. Their goal was to reduce the population to approximately 600 wolves, still more than twice what the experts said Wisconsin could handle. Some on here want to use 2012 figures to argue against wolf control, I guess I would ask how many more wolves are there today? Coyote sightings and problems, are on the increase because the coyotes have been forced into the urban area’s by the expansion of the wolf packs. Wolves and Coyotes do not get along, as they are after the same food source. It won’t be too many more years before the wolves are in the arboretum and other suburban area’s. It also will not be long before a child is killed by wolves.
This barstool biologist is apparently trying to rewrite history about the “exploding” wolf population in Wisconsin. Wolves were never “re-introduced” into Wisconsin. They migrated from Minnesota naturally under federal protection. The “300” number this guy speaks of is also false because the original “goal” in the 1999 state management plan was 350 wolves. While this barstool biologist may claim that the killing seasons were introduced to “curtail the exploding population” we all know why they began. The killing seasons were for recreation and revenge no matter what the DNR and their lackeys claim. There was no “goal” to reduce the population to “600 wolves.” The Wisconsin DNR made it clear that their goal was to push the population down to the bare minimum of 350 as stated in their management plan. But we can’t forget that they are coming for your children. No barstool biologist proclamation would be complete without that blast of terror. The horrible grammar is also an indicator of his degree in Barstool Biology. Comments like this are why I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. Barstool biologists like this guy act like because they have a Facebook login they suddenly are an expert on biology or even history. They twist the narrative to match what their huntin’ buddies or groups like the National
Redneck Rifle Association (NRA) tell them to believe.
Here is the next comment that I strongly encourage everyone to report to the USFWS:
Cory Campbell · Top Commenter
Shoot, shovel and shut up. Kill every last wolf you see and keep quiet about it. We can win the war against the DNR’s stupidity if you follow those three easy steps. This applies to cougars too.
Finally we have this genius making the claim that wolves were “released” in southern Wisconsin by the DNR to “control” the deer population.
Jennifer Baerwolf · Rio High School
There are wolves in our area now. If you read the article they had pictures from a trail camera of a Gray Wolf last year on this property. The DNR needs to quit releasing the animals down here in their attempts to control the Deer population.
These comments are just a sampling of the utter nonsense, lies, propaganda, and fear mongering that the internet allows morons to put forth. This is just ONE story from ONE website. The arrogant barstool biologists use Facebook and internet comment sections to spread their blatant lies and ignorance and while it is unknown how many people believe or even read their tripe it is very concerning that these people are the ones that agencies like the Wisconsin DNR seem to listen to while shutting out pro-wildlife voices.
While I like to advocate for ignoring the barstool biologists and the anti-wolf trolls that infect the internet, I am afraid that the Wisconsin DNR actually listens to these ignoramuses while ignoring the rest of us out. I am asking my readers how you think we should respond to these barstool biologists and trolls. Should we ignore them? Should we respond with facts?
Let me know what you think? What is the best way to counter these blatant lies and misinformation?