Kickass, the doorstop dog, while claiming only a distant relationship with Wisconsin’s wolves, joins the keeper in condemning the absurd state policy of paying hound owners $2500 for each hound killed by wolves during an outrageous summer bear hound “training” season. In place since 1985, the Wisconsin hound payoff is the only one of its kind in the US, and allows hounders to turn their hounds loose to chase bears most of the summer in Wisconsin’s north woods. A more offensive assault on the natural flow of wildlife in such places as the Chequamegon National Forest is hard to imagine as bear hound devotees flock into the state from all over the country.
The summer hound travesty is accompanied by another Wisconsin policy that allows bear baiting from April until the bear hunting season opens in October. As a result the diet of Wisconsin estimated 28,900 bears is now 40 percent bait and baiting, to the tune of millions of gallons, has had a profound effect on the lives of many wildlife species.
Now as Wisconsin’s hunting seasons open to provide entertainment for the “sportspeople” multitudes, the keeper says it is unconscionable that summer hound training and bear baiting are part of the scene. The respectable tradition of hunting, with its once “fair chase” underpinnings needs to clean up its act. Unfortunately there is little hope for that to happen under the current state legislature with its allegiance to bearish and boorish interests.