A national watchdog group said Wisconsin bear hunters are harassing wolves with their dog packs and then claiming state compensation when their hounds are killed. It wants the federal government to launch a criminal investigation. The practice amounts to “a state-sanctioned financial subsidy for hunters engaged in the criminal harassment” of wolves, according to an attorney for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Officials from the US Fish and Wildlife Service said they received the attorney’s letter but they haven’t decided how to respond.
In 2016, Wisconsin paid out $99,400 for 41 dogs, a maximum of $2,500 each.
The dogs were killed primarily in July and August, when hunters are in the woods training their packs to chase bears and wolf pups are first emerging from their dens. More than a dozen dogs were killed, despite “caution”
warnings by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that wolf packs with pups were active in the area.