Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hunting: Wolf threat hits home in Marinette County

Sturgeon Bay man's hound killed during bear training

By Kevin Naze - Press-Gazette correspondent

Dick Baudhuin of Sturgeon Bay has been hunting black bears in the vast forests of northern Wisconsin for more than 40 years, but what he saw Saturday in Marinette County reinforced his belief that animal rights activists need to check out the wilderness. Baudhuin, 70, was with four of his eight bluetick and redtick hounds, taking advantage of the final weekend of bear dog training before the Sept. 13 season opener.

Even though no one in his party has a Zone B kill permit this year, Baudhuin knows it's only a matter of time before they get wind of someone who does. "We're always looking to get out there," Baudhuin said. "The thrill isn't necessarily in the kill, it's in the hunt."

Baudhuin's 3-year-old bluetick hound, Dixie, was trailing a black bear early that afternoon west of Athelstane, not far from McClintock Park on Parkway Road. When three of his other dogs returned to the truck ā€” and Dixie's radio-tracking collar showed no signs of movement ā€” Baudhuin and another hunter walked in. Baudhin found Dixie mutilated, her hide stripped off, and partly eaten.

"It wasn't a total surprise, because I've seen pictures," Baudhuin said. "As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was." It was a wolf kill, confirmed later by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services employee.

"It was a letdown," Baudhuin said. "It's an unfortunate situation that has happened to a number of friends of mine, and now it hit home."

A Green Bay-area hunter, along to get a taste of what hound hunting for bears was like, was shocked at what he saw. "He had no clue that this kind of thing happens," Baudhuin said. After reporting the loss, Baudhuin waited while another hunter went in to check out the scene. The wolves had been back, leaving little uneaten.

Dixie wore a bell, something that was believed would help deter wolf attacks.

"A lot of people would like you to think the wolves are protecting young ones, but (the pups) are born in March," Baudhuin said. "As far as I'm concerned, they're already in the hunting mode, and probably a player in the kill."

Adrian Wydeven, a state Department of Natural Resources wolf expert, said wolves have killed 12 bear hounds and injured six others in Wisconsin this year. While Baudhuin's loss was the first confirmed wolf kill on a dog in Marinette County history, seven of the 12 bear hound deaths were caused by the same pack in western Bayfield County, near Drummond. Two years ago, a different pack in Ashland County, near Glidden, killed nine dogs.

"It's always an upsetting situation," Wydeven said. "It seems to vary so much year to year, and pack to pack." The state's gray wolf population was estimated by wildlife biologists to be close to 500 animals before pups were born this spring, with some 115 packs and at least 12 loners.

"I think it's good to have wolves, but now we've got an overpopulation, with no method of control," Baudhuin said. "I think it's just a matter of time before we have problems right here in Door County."

Hunters are reimbursed at the current market value for their hounds, up to $2,500. "I projected Dixie was a $5,000 dog," Baudhuin said. "I say that based on a good bloodline and because from start to finish, whether bear, bobcat or coyote, she was head and shoulders above your average hound."

Wolves are listed as a protected wild animal by the state. However, the federal government lists wolves as an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in March its intent to remove wolves from the endangered list in Wisconsin and adjacent states and return all management authority to the states. Once that's done, likely early next year, special permits from USFWS for lethal controls on wolves will not be needed.

  • Green Bay Press-Gazette

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Mr. Naze,
    It seems somewhat foolhardy for a 70 year old man to be wandering the "vast forests of northern Wisconsin," with or without his high price hounds. As a nurse and coonhound rescuer {more low than high price hounds I'm afraid} I've had more than enough experience with hounds and the elderly to have grave concerns about this article.
    Coonhounds of all types are the most gentle. loving, docile dogs God ever made. To encourage them in a blood lust sport like bear murder is shameful. For those unaware of thrill of the hunt, it can be viewed by looking up various hunting sites. Why even the actual kill may be perused for the ultimate thrill!!
    You will be glad to know that many fine hunters here on the great prairies have combined a smidge of sighthound with their pricier plott, coon, bear, etc. hounds and it has produced hounds of great speed, and nose. As the president of one hound organization wrote to me, the "culls" end up in rescue: IF they're lucky.
    I hope the poor unfortunate pseudo-hunter from Green Bay is recovering in his greatroom by the hearth. I believe animal heads can be found on e-bay at a fraction of the cost he'd pay to Mr. Baudhuin for guide service. I bet the box isn't all that shocking when it arrives either.
    Yes, I bet those pups born in March are pretty hungry along about now. I am sincerely sad about poor Dixie. The best, and safest, place for an old hunter and his hounds is on the porch, or by the fire.
    Kind regards,
    Prairie hound Sanctuary

    9/02/2006 7:23 PM  
    Anonymous Ryan said...

    Gee, all the old guy wanted to do was hunt down and kill an outnumbered wild animal with a pack of dogs and weapons... how dare the vast wilderness fight back? I feel bad for the dog, but the irony and hypocrisy of Mr. Baudhuin's stance on the wolves' behavior is almost unbelievable. I say almost, because I sometimes forget that people are shortsighted, selfish, and rather ignorant.

    12/05/2006 10:51 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    first off, u are a liar and u know it. anybody that knows anything about coons know that it takes a wee bit of ornery animal to take them on, coons are vicous, obnoxious critters that live to kill chickens,et al, themselves. i am all for wolves, but .. their method of chasing down moose, deer, elk, etc is not pretty, attacking the hamstrings,etc.unlike say a couger who will jump from above, and suffocate or bite the spine and kill very quickly. its ovious that the dimwitted bear hunters up in wisconsin have not figured out that redbone or walkers just are not big enough and bad enough to take on wolve packs. they do use quite sucessfully now a days.. vs coyotes, the stag hounds" which are a combo on grey hound and scotdeerhound. up to say 90 lbs. however, i would surmise u are gonna have to breed in or integrate in your pack" irish wolfhounds.. i have seen at least one, 7 feet tall,a nd 280 lbs. and for a guard dog, used in wolf country, best for at least 2, or perhaps 3.. the causcaias ovarka mountain dogs, used by russion army. formerly used vs bears and big cats, not fazed at all by wolf if the numbers are anywhere even. can be 6 feet tall, and weigh up to 180.if these dogs encounter a similar number of wolves, same as irish wolfhounds,that is adios time for the wolves.when u have dogs that unlike the plotts, walkers ,etc that are personally able to dispatch" bear or big cats.. wolves are actually more like a training exercise. and where i grew upin upstate ny.. say on the res" or in the area, folks hunt for meat, its classified as appalchia" . and if had goats, or sheep, doubt u would feel very happy about your animals being killed constantly. lets fact facts, u sound like a urban eco fanatic veggie who idolises peta?

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