HSUS: Animals Over Hungry People?

If there’s one thing the Humane Society of the United States seems opposed to, it’s common sense. But in light of events in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you might be able to add logic, scientific facts, and feeding the hungry.  But before we get there, here’s the backstory.

Struggling with an out of control deer population, the city of Ann Arbor approved a deer cull given that deer-vehicle collisions were up 75%, the deer were straining the ecosystem, and the near certain increase in ticks carrying Lyme disease. Despite these sensible grounds, activists were outraged that deer had been hunted in their city.

Unsurprisingly, HSUS led the charge on non-lethal population control last year, lobbying for Ann Arbor to use birth control on female deer. Interestingly, the birth control, PZP, is developed using pig ovaries, while HSUS is generally against medical research using animals.

HSUS’s political ideology puts it at odds with biological and ecological experts.  According to wildlife expert Jim Sterba, PZP “for free-ranging whitetails, does not work. And it is neither practicable nor affordable.” That’s because PZP efficacy has only been proven on isolated populations , such as animals on islands or those living in a fenced environment. University of Michigan professor Christopher Dick, a biologist, had a blunter word for what HSUS is advocating: “Pseudoscience.” Read more

Lion Kill Fest: The Impact of the HSUS Ideology

When the “Cecil” the lion issue took place last summer, the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal-rights organization in the country, fought to end the importation of lion trophies to the United States under the guise of protecting the remaining “endangered” population (an action the Sportsmen’s Alliance fought).

HSUS won that battle in part (but not in full, as explained below). Lion trophy importation from Zimbabwe (where the Cecil incident occurred) has effectively ended (although the door has not yet been conclusively slammed shut). But, as the Sportsmen’s Alliance said would happen, the consequence of shutting down trophy imports from Zimbabwe has had the opposite effect of what HSUS claimed – as now unsustainable populations of lions will likely face slaughter as new rules shut down the flow of money from U.S. trophy hunters.Lion-By Rumpleteaser (FlickrCC) sized for web

Currently, at least 200 lions are being considered for culling because of an unsustainable management paradigm – overpopulation and no revenue stream for continued support. And a revenue stream it is.

If just those 200 lions are killed, that’s a loss of $10 million dollars to just one area’s anti-poaching efforts, habitat conservation and acquisition, academic studies and all associated ancillary benefits to the local economy and people. The shortsighted and unsustainable rhetoric of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal-rights “warriors” is leading to more bloodshed in the form of economic and intrinsic loss of wildlife in Africa in mere months than has ever been spilled by hunters.

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DNR: U.P. survey results indicate no significant change in Michigan’s wolf population

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife division officials said today the size of the state’s wolf population has not changed significantly since the last survey was conducted in 2014.

DNR wildlife researchers estimate there was a minimum of 618 wolves in the Upper Peninsula this winter. The 2014 minimum population estimate was 636 wolves.

A wolf walks through the Upper Peninsula woodlands. “The confidence intervals of the 2014 and 2016 estimates overlap, thus we can’t say with statistical confidence that the population decreased”, said Kevin Swanson, wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s Bear and Wolf Program in Marquette.

Confidence intervals are a range of values that describe the uncertainty surrounding an estimate.

Swanson said, based on the 2016 minimum population estimate, it is clear that wolf numbers in Michigan are viable, stable and have experienced no significant change since 2014.

“Currently, deer numbers in the U.P. are at lows not seen in decades and we wondered if there would be a decline in wolf numbers as a result of this reduction in their primary source of prey,” Swanson said. “We also did not observe a significant difference in the number and average size of wolf packs as compared to 2014.” Read more

HSUS’s CEO May Be Coming to Your Town

This from HumaneWatch.org

Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle has a new book coming out today called The Humane Economy. You don’t need to have read it to be familiar with his general goal: A “humane economy” to Wayne Pacelle is one that doesn’t use animals. After all, Pacelle has said, “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born” and he has been a vegan for about 30 years.

Pacelle’s book follows 2011’s The Bond—an odd title for a guy who said “There’s no special bond between me and other animals.” For that book, Vain Wayne started off with a dozen-city or so tour—before expanding it to a months-long, 100-city international tour. We went to one event and weren’t particularly impressed with the turnout.

If Pacelle is coming to a town near you, we encourage readers to show up and ask him a tough question. He’s slick—but we’d like to see him talk his way out of these. HSUS supporters deserve answers. And if you do ask him, take a video on your cell phone if you can.

Five Questions for Wayne Pacelle:

  1. How can you justify HSUS sticking over $100 million into Caribbean investments between 2012 and 2014 when animals are suffering now?
  2. Why should anyone trust a man who, when asked if he envisioned a future without pets, said, “If I had my personal view perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” (Note: If Wayne tries to dismiss these quotes as “things on the Internet,” they come from a published book.)
  3. You criticize companies for being motivated by profit—yet you yourself recently bought a house for over $1 million in cash and have made over $4 million in compensation from HSUS over your tenure. Aren’t you motivated by money as well?
  4. Whenever we tell people that HSUS has nothing to do with your local “humane society,” most people are completely surprised. How can you honestly claim that your members are aware of the difference?
  5. Whenever there’s a natural disaster HSUS’s fundraising kicks into high gear. You raised over $2 million off of Hurricane Sandy, but only spent one-third of that on Sandy relief. How do you justify the slick, emotional marketing when you know the money will likely not be used for that specific issue?


Pacelle’s tour schedule (may be updated periodically): Read more

Maine Supreme Court Sides with Sportsmen

After nearly a year and a half of fighting in court, and more than $100,000 spent, sportsmen in Maine were victorious today against a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Today’s victory was the latest in a long line of victories by the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council and the Sportsmen’s Alliance in this case.

In early 2015, Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler sided with sportsmen and dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine’s wildlife professionals on grounds that it was moot. Today’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling upheld that decision, effectively ending the issue. Read more

Michigan Coyote Management and the Usual Suspects

This from Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC)

On Thursday, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association gave a presentation on trapping to legislators and policy-makers at the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus breakfast at the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing. This presentation dispelled common myths about modern trapping practices perpetuated by anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society of the United States. Later that day, the Natural Resources Commission met in Holland and considered a proposed wildlife conservation order to expand coyote hunting opportunities year-round and allowing the use of #3 and #4 buckshot at night for coyotes, both MUCC resolutions. HSUS predictably testified against the expansion, while Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association testified in favor. The NRC will decide next month under their Proposal G authority to determine method and manner of take.

Biologists conducting U.P. wolf survey, DNR supporting efforts to return wolf management to Michigan

On a snow-swept back road in Delta County, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist drives his vehicle slowly. Watching out his windows, he scans each set of animal tracks he sees pushed into the fresh snow.

Among the footprints left by bobcats, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare and other animals, he’s looking for the large-pawed tracks of gray wolves, laid out in a path down the road or into the woods.

Discovering wolf tracks – and then following them for long distances – helps biologists estimate population size and delineate where, and how, wolf packs are spending their time this winter.

Population dynamics

Originally native to Michigan, wolves had all but vanished from the Upper Peninsula – not including Isle Royale – by the early 1960s. This occurred through hunter bounties and as white-tailed deer populations declined.

A wildlife management specialist looks at a set of coyote tracks in the fresh snow on a road in Delta County.Michigan protected wolves as endangered species in 1965. Federal protections were solidified under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

As neighboring Wisconsin’s wolf population began to rebound during the 1970s, reports of lone wolf sightings increased in the U.P. Biologists confirmed a pair of wolves in the central U.P. in the late 1980s, a union that produced pups in 1991.

Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100, meeting federally established goals for population recovery. The Michigan goal of a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years also was achieved.

From 1994 to 2003, the U.P. wolf population saw an average annual growth rate of 19 percent. Growth shrunk to 12 percent as the wolf population neared the maximum level the U.P. could sustain – the biological carrying capacity.

Since 2011, wolf population estimates have not changed significantly. The DNR’s most recent minimum estimate of the U.P. wolf population was 636, issued in spring 2014.

A new DNR wolf survey began in December. No preliminary results are available yet, but a new minimum population estimate is expected in April.

Biologists are surveying wolf populations in some areas and extrapolating that data to estimate the number of wolves across the region.

“As we’ve done over the past few years, to reduce staff effort and expense, a stratified sampling method is being used to carry out the survey throughout the Upper Peninsula,” said Kevin Swanson, a wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s bear and wolf program. “We are now more than halfway through that survey period.”

During February, survey biologists began looking for signs of breeding exhibited by scent marking and blood in urine, which indicates a female wolf may be in estrus (heat).

“Based on the wolf sign I am finding while searching for packs in central and southern Marquette County, northern Menominee and northern Delta counties, I do not anticipate any drastic fluctuations in wolf abundance in that particular area,” Swanson said. “But results may vary significantly in other parts of the U.P.”

The migration of deer from the northern to the southern parts of the U.P. was postponed by several weeks thisA dark-colored wolf walks through the woods in the Upper Peninsula. winter, which has been comparatively milder than the past three.

“The delayed deer migration is now over in many areas so we will focus more of our survey efforts in deer yarding complexes, places where wolves frequent to prey on deer,” Swanson said.

In the Lower Peninsula, over the past few years, there have been persistent reports of sightings, tracks and other evidence of wolves.

In March 2014, biologists with the Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians discovered tracks and collected scat from what was presumed to be a wolf in Emmet County. DNR biologists also visited the site.

In September 2015, confirmation was received from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, that the Emmet County scat submitted for DNR analysis was from a male gray wolf. This marked the second confirmation of wolf presence in the Lower Peninsula since 1910. The first occurred in 2004 when a wolf collared by the DNR in Mackinac County was caught and accidentally killed by a coyote trapper in Presque Isle County.

The DNR’s ongoing wolf track surveys are conducted only in the U.P. Wolf reports in the Lower Peninsula continue to be investigated.

Legal challenges

In January 2012, citing wolf recovery in the region, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took gray wolves off the federal endangered species list in Michigan and Wisconsin and the threatened species list in Minnesota.

“Gray wolves are thriving in the Great Lakes region, and their successful recovery is a testament to the hard  work of the Service and our state and local partners,” Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said at the time. “We are confident state and tribal wildlife managers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will effectively manage healthy wolf populations now that federal protection is no longer needed.”

The ruling allowed Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin to manage wolves according to their wolf management plans. Michigan’s plan was crafted with the help of a panel representing a wide span of interests ranging from Native American tribes to trappers, hunters and environmentalists.

The 1997 plan, which was updated in 2008 and 2015, allowed for lethal means to control a limited number of wolves each year where conflicts had occurred. Michigan law allowed citizens to kill wolves that were actively preying on their hunting dogs or livestock.

However, Michigan’s laws on wolf depredation and the ability of wildlife managers to use lethal means, includingThree wolves are shown on a trail in an aerial photo of a snow-covered landscape in the Upper Peninsula. hunting, to control wolves was suspended in December 2014, after a ruling from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In a lawsuit challenging the federal delisting, the court ruling found in favor of the Humane Society of the United States, ordering wolves returned to federal protection. Wolves have since remained classified as endangered species in Michigan and Wisconsin and threatened in Minnesota.

Because of the federal endangered species status, wolves may legally be killed in Michigan only in defense of human life.

After the court’s finding, Michigan, Wisconsin, some private groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appealed the decision, filing their initial legal briefs in the case late last year.

“In over a decade of litigating about delisting the gray wolf, this is the first time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been willing to bring an appeal,” said Trevor VanDyke, director of the DNR’s Legislative and Legal Affairs Office in Lansing. Read more

Relaxing Michigan’s Coyote Regulations

By Glen Wunderlich

When a Shelby Township, MI woman let her Pomeranian mix dog outside before retiring for the night, it would be the last time she would see her family pet alive. In another incident in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a miniature Schnauser spent his last minutes on a leash in front of his home. And, in the sanctuary of a fenced-in backyard in Hacienda Heights, California, a Papillion mix family pet met its fate. The common denominator? Coyote attacks.

As coyote numbers have increased, so have deadly encounters in urban settings. Because of the secretive nature of coyotes, many folks are oblivious to their existence until we hear of such horrific acts of terror.

In an ongoing study of predators in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Mississippi State University, 142 fawns were radio-collared and coyotes were found to be responsible for 26 of 53 deaths – as many as bobcats, wolves, bears, and bald eagles combined.

Coyotes are found throughout Michigan in both rural and urban areas.  With an increase in complaints from the public regarding coyotes, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) believes that an expansion of the opportunities to take coyotes may help reduce these concerns.

The DNR has recommended several coyote hunting regulation changes to the Natural Resources Commission, including year-round hunting opportunities and implementation of a Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association resolution to allow the use of #3 and #4 buckshot at night for coyotes.

The DNR held discussions with internal staff and many external stakeholders to develop recommendations to amend our state’s Wildlife Conservation Order.  The amendment would include expanding the coyote season statewide, year round, along with clarifying nighttime hunting of furbearers, and to expand the time frame in which nighttime hunting with artificial lights may occur.  The Department is also giving a recommendation to expand allowable ammunition for taking all furbearers which may be hunted at night to include both 3 and number 4 buckshot.

Michigan’s current coyote regulations include daytime coyote hunting from July 15th to April 15th which is a liberal season with a few minor restrictions on the methods of take, devices, and ammunition. The current season for nighttime coyote hunting is from October 15th to March 31st.  However, the nighttime coyote hunting season is a restricted season with limited methods of take, devices and ammunition.  Individuals must possess a fur-harvester or resident base license.  Throughout the entire year, individuals may take a coyote on private property if the coyote is causing or about to cause damage.

Several other proposed resolutions by MUCC that would not become MUCC policy unless adopted at its Annual Convention are as follows:

Coyote Bounty (Straits Area Sportsmens Club) | Reverse MUCC’s opposition to bounties and institute a coyote bounty.

Nighttime Predator Hunting with Centerfire Firearms (Chris Kettler, Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association) | Remove restriction on using centerfire firearms for nighttime predator hunting.

Any type of coyote control is difficult but removing some of the encumbrances to willing sportsmen may be the best option available to wildlife managers.  It’s past time that we quit protecting the varmints that are helping to reduce our declining deer herd.

HSUS’s America: Where Wolves Eat Family Pets?

This from humanewatch.org…

A wolf in Duluth, Minnesota, brutally attacked and killed a family’s dog last week, and if the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has its way, we can only assume incidents like this are going to happen a lot more often.

Terry Irvin was walking his dog Leo, an 11-year-old retriever-corgi mix, along a wooded trail near Lake Superior – something he does two or three times a week – and decided to let the dog off its leash. Irvin told the Star Tribune he got a little bit ahead of the dog and waited around for him to come, but the dog never made it.

After about five minutes went by, Irvin turned around and went to look for Leo. “I walked into the woods, and I saw him,” Irvin told the paper. “It was a traumatic sight. I will never forget it. … It was heartbreaking.” Read more

Reframing Trophy Hunting

Hijacked by anti-hunters, the term ‘trophy hunting’ has taken on a negative connotation in society – it’s time to take it back. Here’s a start to reframing the trophy-hunting discussion with non-hunters.

Defining a Trophy

When news anchors and the general public throw the term ‘trophy hunting’ around, they’re usually speaking in a very broad sense that assaults their emotions and is an affront to almost everything that modern, regulated hunters and hunting represents. The term is a misnomer, but they don’t even realize it.

A trophy is a very personal thing. For some just killing an animal to eat is reward enough. For others, a mature animal that is more wary is the goal. Still, for others, a very specific animal, or at least one meeting very high standards, is the ultimate goal.

This is all dependent upon the person, their skill level and experience in hunting (see infographic: “Evolution of a Hunter”), as well as understanding of the species they’re targeting.   A trophy is a crowning achievement for an individual. Period.

What it’s not

The popular myth of trophy hunting is that it’s simply hubristic killing by hunters for display upon a wall – which is only done for a head, hide or horns. The underlying belief is that the rest of the animal is left where it died and goes to waste.

This is the perception anti-hunters have created, and which they are framing hunters every chance they get. From “Cecil” the lion in Zimbabwe, Africa, to the proposed black-bear hunt under protest in Florida, anti-hunting activists and organizations cry ‘trophy hunt’ to convey what they believe is the senseless killing of animals – without regard to the associated science, management and ecosystem-wide benefits.

It’s an effective tactic that resonates with the public quickly. Those two words immediately generate an affront to the public’s sensibilities, and creates another hurdle we have to overcome to maintain scientific, and not emotional, management of our flora and fauna.

What it is

The fact is, what animal-rights’ activists portray is not just an affront to the public’s sensibilities, the waste of an animal is a disgrace to the sensibilities of a hunter, as well. When it comes to a ‘trophy hunt,’ two points often overlooked by outraged activists, the media and the public include:  A hunting season is not state-sanctioned slaughter. Every state has wanton waste laws that mandate the harvest and use of meat, hides or other body parts to ensure that the animal is not just wasted, and that the number of individuals taken is in accord with the supporting habitat and predator-prey balance of the area.

evan_regularA ‘trophy’ animal and its use as table fare are not mutually exclusive. An animal can be a specimen worthy of both taxidermy and the table.

A trophy hunter is simply someone who has placed self-imposed restrictions upon themselves that go above and beyond what’s dictated by the state. They are more selective, and will pass on younger animals, often those barely reaching the minimum standard, in a deeply personal pursuit to further challenge their skills and learn as much as possible about the prey they pursue. Read more

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