Last Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources met for a public hearing to receive testimony on AB 712, a bill to prohibit a Wisconsin law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law concerning the management of the wolf population or that prohibits the killing of a wolf in this state.
The bill would also prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from expending any funds for the purpose of managing the wolf population in Wisconsin other than for the purpose of making payments under the endangered resources program to persons who apply for reimbursement for certain damage caused by wolves or protecting private property.
Rep. Felzkowski (R-Irma) commented, “Wolves may not be a problem in Madison, but I hear about them non-stop up north. We have parents that are afraid to let their kids and pets play outside. We have cattle farmers that wake up every morning hoping that all of their livestock made it through the night. And most of all, we have a population of wolves that aren’t afraid of humans. We’re currently allowing the wolves to manage us.”
The hearing provided additional confirmation that de-listing the gray wolf is a bi-partisan solution agreed on by elected officials in Wisconsin and at the federal level. Until the gray wolf is de-listed and Wisconsin resumes wolf management, our sportsmen and farmers will unfairly continue to pay the cost.
Rep. Felzkowski added, “If the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Congress want to control the wolf population at the federal level, then they can provide the boots on the ground to implement their wolf management plan. If they don’t want to supply the resources to support their wolf management plan, then they should restore Wisconsin’s right to manage it ourselves.”
The Senate companion bill is scheduled to receive a public hearing next week. Both bills are slated to receive votes out of committee in the month of January.