'No' vote based on ethics, funding
I would be remiss if I didn't respond to the deceitful letter to the editor by Representative Adam Jarchow regarding my vote on Assembly Bill 712 (AB 712), legislation authored by him that would put our law enforcement in the predicament of having to ignore federal and state law and would end all Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funding for wolf population research and management.
Rep. Jarchow states that I voted no on his legislation because I "caved to animal special interest groups in Madison."
There are many reasons I voted no, and not a single one of them has anything to do with animal activists. If Rep. Jarchow would have shown up at the committee meeting when the vote was being taken on his bill, he would have heard my thorough explanation as to why my vote was no.
Let me be clear. I support delisting of wolves by the federal government, followed by a managed hunt by the Wisconsin DNR. In fact, I voted for legislation that created a wolf hunting and trapping season in Wisconsin. I also have worked with the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation and our congressional delegation to remove wolves from the Endangered Species Act list. If Rep. Jarchow and the other authors of his bill spent more time talking with members of Congress than attacking their colleagues, the issue of wolves may have already been resolved and he wouldn't need to introduce legislation that puts our law enforcement officers and sportsmen in the crosshairs.
Allowing sportsmen and women to randomly shoot wolves, which would occur under Jarchow's bill, would cause problems on many levels. First of all, the DNR would not be able to keep tabs on the wolf population. Secondly, this bill would paint all sportsmen in a negative light. Poaching animals is unethical and the legislature should never condone these shameful acts. Thirdly, this bill may jeopardize federal wildlife grants and would certainly be contested in court. Sportsmen and taxpayers of Wisconsin could be on the hook for untold millions in lost wildlife grants and litigation fees. Lastly, the State of Wisconsin has an obligation to co-manage wildlife populations with our sovereign neighbors, the Lake Superior Ojibwe. This was reaffirmed decades ago by the Supreme Court of the United States. As you can imagine, the Ojibwe and Menominee tribes are opposed to this bill as it is highly disrespectful to their culture and heritage.
As a biologist by trade, I fully understand the need to manage animal populations. Enactment of Jarchow's legislation will have the opposite result by ensuring the wolf remains on the Endangered Species Act list indefinitely. Rep. Jarchow is a lawyer who is more interested in spreading misinformation than understanding wolf management dynamics.
Finally, allow me to point out that Rep. Jarchow was not even at the public hearing to testify for his bill, AB 712, as he was too busy campaigning to become a State Senator. There's no doubt in my mind that his letter to the editor filled with deceit is nothing more than retaliation for me pointing out his absence at the committee hearing.