Below is a letter that Representative Rob Stafsholt sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service relating to the delisting of the Gray Wolf.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
RE: Docket # FWS-HQ-ES-2018-0097
As a lifelong farmer, hunter, trapper, fisherman, and Wisconsinite I strongly support the proposal to delist the Gray Wolf. Proper wildlife management of these animals will benefit Wisconsin’s outdoor heritage and its strong agricultural background, while still ensuring that these animals maintain a healthy and manageable population.
The goal in Wisconsin is to manage these animals in a way that balances their livelihood with the lives of farmers in Northern Wisconsin. The science has been proven; these wolves have fully recovered in Wisconsin and our surrounding states.
As the Chairman of the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage, I take this issue very seriously. I recently had the opportunity to attend a hearing with Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) to hear from citizens who have been impacted by gray wolves and scientists who have spent years studying their resurgence. I believe that Charles Wooley, from the US Fish and Wildlife Service said it best, “This is a heck of a conservation story.” He is right, but only to a point. The lack of direction from the federal level has led to serious overpopulation problems in Northern Wisconsin.
An overpopulation of wolves can play a disastrous role in our ecosystem and wreak havoc on Wisconsin farms. After years of communicating with citizens who actually live in wolf-country, I am very pleased to see this proposal come forward. However, it is absurd that it has taken this long to come to this obvious conclusion. I have heard story after story from farmers that have lost livestock, crops, or a loved pet. This is a real chance to positively impact the lives of Northern Wisconsinites.
Like all animals, we must maintain a healthy population to ensure a healthy ecosystem. In Wisconsin, we do that with every animal we manage. Yearly, our Department of Natural Resources sets bag limits and standards for the many different animals we harvest. We do this to ensure Wisconsin maintains healthy populations to view, enjoy, and hunt now, and in the future.
I am confident in Wisconsin’s ability to manage its wolf populations. I have no doubt that Wisconsin’s science-based approach in managing these predators will not only benefit Wisconsinites, but also the wildlife, agricultural herds, and pets they prey upon.
There are always going to be societal concerns relating to the delisting of the gray wolf. We encourage the department to make its decision on a science-based approach. I greatly appreciate the US Fish and Wildlife’s commitment on this matter. I encourage you to support the delisting of the gray wolf.
Thank you for your consideration.
State Representative, Wisconsin’s 29th Assembly District Chairman, Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage