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“Killing Lobo no longer felt like a victory, but a crime — (the wolf) no longer ‘vermin’ but a creature with dignity, courageous, loyal, and loving … the very embodiment of American vanishing wilderness.”

— Ernest Thompson Seton (1894)

Watch “The Wolf That Changed America.” A living stable world is not a given. Wilderness is vanquished. When Ernest Thompson Seton was transformed by Lobo 120 years ago, wilderness was vanishing, but now it cannot survive the deliberate increasing assault of high-tech killing. It is time for the 95 percent who have never been involved in wildlife policy to claim their responsibility to protect not just a land ethic, but a wildlife ethic.

It would be a first.

“The economy and our lives are wholly owned subsidiaries of nature.” That is my cousin’s lawyer-speak for “hey, you destroy wolves, water, climate, oceans, and the web of life that supports human life — you die.”

Last week, the Natural Resources Board, its membership mandated to hunter activist control, as is the entire corrupt system, spit in the eye of Judge Peter Anderson. The judge had suggested that the lawsuit against using dogs to hunt wolves could be settled if the board authorized the DNR to set rules for dogs hunting wolves. (Rules for dog/wolf fighting? Really?) But lobbyist Bob Welch and his hounders’ attitude was, “Nope — we rule, and our rammed-through legislation trumps your jurisdiction.” The hunters feel so entitled that they think they can mutilate, murder and mortgage our commons at whim. “We already torture bobcats, bears, coyotes, raccoons, possums, foxes, turkeys, rabbits and waterbirds with packs of dogs — what’s the problem?” The variety of possibilities and unknowns is so “sporting.” Loose dogs on trapped wolves. Torture wolves with gut shots. Kill pups in front of their parents. Leave wolves in traps for days. Normal stuff, but new thrills.

The Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition, promoted by Welch, a former state senator, has received the “Bloody Coup d’Etat Award” from the NRA Hunters Rights group, which calls the Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition a national model.

Wisconsin hunters are being recognized for a sweeping power grab of public lands and wildlife of historic proportions, envied across the country by killers everywhere. These are rights taken from the rest of us.

Nonhunters have never exercised those rights anyway, the dupes.

Among the accomplishments touted by the NRA are:

• The delisting and killing of an endangered species, preferably with packs of dogs.

• Indoctrinating 10- and 11-year-olds (12,000 last year) into trapping and bow hunting.

• Letting those ages 10-16 try out shooting at bears and bear hounding for free.

• Uncased guns in vehicles, concealed carry, and the castle doctrine.

• Opening the schools to teaching kids to kill and trap for credit.

• A 12-member hunter recruitment panel, dropping fees to $4 to trap unlimited wildlife in unlimited traps.

• The biggest coup — opening state parks, county parks and public lands, including “Stewardship” lands, to mandated hunting and trapping.

Wouldn’t the Nelson Institute protest the pretense that indiscriminate killing of wildlife is “stewardship”? Nope. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship website notes that 92 percent of its land is open to hunting (and trapping, not mentioned). Sheesh — not pretty.

Nor safe for citizens and their pets.

As Welch testified at the one hearing, “Why are people so concerned about cruelty in dog/wolf fighting? The wolves are going to die anyway.” (“Ya worried about us enjoying a little sadism? We’re murdering here.”)

Sen. Fred Risser told me that 10 citizen contacts on an issue is a red flag. Over 150 Wisconsin citizens wrote in, outraged, and seemingly stunned. They will not be buying endangered wolf licenses and doing volunteer tracking for another trophy bloodlust.

It is magical thinking to call hunting “recreation” or “sport.” There is something very damaged in our spiritual connection to the world that this violence is forced on an innocent species that predates on our world millions of times less than humans do. There is something very twisted about men looking for their masculinity by destroying magnificent wild creatures so essential to nature, irrationally demonized.

Joy Williams in her timeless essay, “The Killing Game,” written for Esquire in 1990, wrote: “For hunters, hunting is fun. Recreation is play. Hunting is recreation. Hunters kill for play, for entertainment. They kill for the thrill of it, to make an animal ‘theirs.’ … Hunters freely admit the pleasure of killing to one another.” I recommend reading her entire piece.

It is magical thinking to think that this overwhelming attack on our fellow creatures is anything short of genocide and a horrendous crime.

Of the 201 wolves targeted by the DNR, 167 are in ceded tribal lands. Yet the Indian tribes are only allowed to protect 85. They were not consulted. They can sue for Brother Wolf and their sovereignty. This opportunity will not come again.

Wolf is balance. Wolf is partner to raven in exposing all this cruelty. Open your eyes. Choose.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org

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