Guest Blog: Danger On Our Public Lands

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

This is the first in what we hope is a series of guest blogs from Northern Wisconsin residents that are under siege by the bloodthirsty hounders, trappers, baiters, and predator killers that have taken over YOUR public lands. The name of the writer is being withheld due to protect them from the vicious and vile attacks that those we fight against are known for.

Danger on Our Public Lands

Wisconsin spends a great deal of tax payer money promoting our State Parks, the Ice Age Trail and our beautiful Natural Areas for fall and winter activities. A State Natural Area or Preserve was the peaceful setting last month where Dr. Deanna and her dogs were enjoying the beauty and solitude of a Wisconsin winter evening on a hiking trail. But her peace and her life were shattered forever by gun shots from a coyote hunter at close range that killed both of her beloved dogs. There was nothing natural about the events that took place that evening. It was a manmade disaster waiting to happen. Dr. Deanna’s life will never be the same and she is lucky she didn’t die that night right alongside her two dogs. To add insult to injury, this is being called an “unfortunate hunting accident” by the DNR and no charges were filed while some hunters are blaming the victim for just “being out there”.

One man already died this year when he was gunned down by coyote hound hunters as he stood in his own yard a crossed the road from public land in broad daylight.

In 2015 at least seven family dogs were shot by predator hunters with no charges filed and not a full month into 2016 there have been three family dogs shot by coyote hunters. We will never know the countless numbers of pets that just go missing because they were shot or caught in traps because most are never reported. We do hear of some cases like the young dog that was recently brought into a shelter up north missing his entire front foot. He foot was later found, broken bones and foot sticking out of a trap set to catch coyotes.  Or the dog that was shot and killed with an arrow by a bow hunter. And from the dog sledder whose dog stepped off the groomed trail and was caught in a trap while he was still attached to the sled. Also the women who used to love taking her dogs for walks along the Ice Age Trail until the day she found over a dozen traps baited with marshmallows lining the side of the trail. And who can forget the dog that died in her owner’s arms after being caught in a deadly conibear trap while walking on public land. These incidents appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.

A recent article promoting our Natural Areas also said the state allows deer hunting there to keep the deer population down. Deer season is a time when most citizens give up their public lands to the hunters but there is a false sense of security and safety after that season ends. While the state is busy promoting the “get out there and enjoy the wonders, the beauty and the winter activities our great state has to offer “ they have completely ignored the safety risk the public takes every time they step on to a hiking trail or go for a walk in the woods.  Predator hunting/trapping begins in earnest right after deer season and continues into the spring. If they are worried about deer overpopulation why are they killing predators in our National Forests, State Parks and Natural Areas? Wouldn’t you think if nature were left alone in these areas it would find a balance? Can we assume it’s not balance they look for but instead it’s about providing wildlife to be killed for sport? But that’s another story.

In Wisconsin there is only a month or so in the very early spring when hunting/trapping isn’t allowed and it’s actually safe for you, your family and pets to be out there. Bear baiting starts April 1st where Four to Five Million Gallons of sugar bait is used to habituate bears and cubs to bait sites in preparation for the bear hound training season starting July 1st . Continuing all summer into the fall bear killing season an estimated 13 thousand bear hounds along with  hound hunters from across the US take over our National, State & County Forests.  So our wildlife gets no reprieve and there is precious little time when it’s safe for you or your pets to be out there. Baited traps are set on roadsides, hiking/nature trails and state parks all fall and winter for fox, coyotes & bobcats. Coyote hunting, hounding, hound training, trapping and coyote killing contests are allowed day and NIGHT throughout most of the year on public lands.

Instead of our Legislators wasting their time and our money passing laws about pink hunting cloths for little girls, trying to make it legal for a toddler to hunt with his own gun or carry a switchblade, taking away back tags so violators can’t get caught, making it a crime to even look at or document a hunter/poacher or appearing on public radio espousing fear tactics to push their wolf killing political agenda

They should be holding public hearings and take a good long look at the dangerous human safety crisis the DNR and Legislators have created. They are promoting summer, fall and winter activities for the public while they allow virtually unregulated hunting/trapping all at the same time, all on the same public lands. Call your Legislators and demand an investigation and public hearings. It’s likely the NRA, FORCE & Bear Hunters Association lobbies will strongly oppose ANY investigation or public hearings on this matter. After all most of them lobbied for: switchblades, toddlers with guns, pink for girls, opening state trails and parks to hunting/trapping with unlimited hounds and unlimited bait and a long list of other laws that are truly lacking in common sense safety protections for the rest of us. So we can assume these very same Lobbies will put up as many road blocks as they can against anyone who wants to look into this but call or email your legislators anyway. We should not have to fear for our lives, the lives of our children or our pets while we enjoy our public lands. Something needs to change but it cannot and will not change without public support.

There is also a petition you can sign if you think the killer of Dr. Deanna’s’ dogs should be held accountable. At the very least we can send a clear message to hunters that being reckless with their fire arms does carry  consequences:


Name withheld for concerns of retribution.