Send Letter to Editor

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

October 1996

Readers Write

Wolf Talk Continues

The wolf's head insignia on the Endangered Resources license plate was the winning entry for a design to symbolize ALL of the state's endangered resources, not just the wolf.

No one disputes that wolves or any other large predators will attack livestock if they get the chance. What self-respecting predator would prefer a smart, wily meal it had to chase down over a large, slow, defenseless, easy-to-kill domestic animal? It's no one's fault but our own for breeding animals like these in the first place. Even so, farmers get reimbursed for any livestock they lose to wolves.

It is true that wolves are "top predators," but they "saturate" available territory at extremely low densities. They need large amounts of land to live a territorial lifestyle that guarantees enough hunting area to sustain the pack. Only portions of northern Wisconsin are large enough and empty enough of human habitation to support stable, long-term wolf populations. Any wolf supporters who tried to "treat every patch of woods as if it were prime wilderness in need of wolves" would be poor ecologists indeed, and not worth their salt as project members.

Seth A. Ellestad

I read with great dismay the June letter, "No Wolf Fan." Arizona is presently discussing the reintroduction of Mexican wolves. The total hoofed-mammal biomass available to wolves in Arizona is about 85 percent cattle and 15 percent deer. It is mind-boggling why anyone would complain about the existence of wolves in northern Wisconsin, which offers about 95 percent deer and five percent cattle. Believe me, Wisconsin has enough deer for everyone: hunters, campers, photographers and wolves.

The removal of depredating wolves and full compensation in Minnesota shows how responsive agencies have been toward conflicts with private landowners.

Jim Heffelfinger
Tucson, Ariz.

Those of us who display the endangered resources plates on our vehicles are not "misled." I'm proud of my plate's message and hope it instills in others some compassion – if not remorse – for the way the top predator on the food chain has been abused.

It's been more than a half century since I last heard a wild wolf in Wisconsin, and a somewhat shorter span since I enjoyed their noisy socializing on a backpacking trek in Alaska's Brooks Range.

I speak for wolves for the same reason that I speak for the manatee, the hawksbill turtle, the loss of the passenger pigeon and the heath hen. It's the same reason I stop my lawn mower to remove snakes, toads and turtles from harm's way.

We can't bring back the dodo and the Carolina parakeet. But we can show concern for those creatures whose numbers dwindle daily due to man's carelessness and contempt, not to mention a peculiar preference for profit and political expediency.

Bob Poeschl

I grew up in the rural Jackson County ridge country that forms a wild chain separating the Trempealeau and Black River watersheds all the way from the Mississippi bluffs to the sparsely populated counties to the north.

My Granddad taught me reverence for this natural wildlife highway. During the '50s, '60s and '70s, while experts were claiming there were no bear, wolves, cougars and lynx, we heard, saw sign or sighted and accurately identified members of all of these species in Jackson County on an almost annual basis. No signs of young animals accompanied these singular sightings. We believed these animals, in search of mates or hospitable new territory, traveled our natural pass to avoid the more densely populated areas surrounding us. These animals usually stayed a few months, or less than a year.

I have lived in Monroe County since 1988 and local hunters have known that we've had a pack of 6-8 wolves in the area since before the recent stocking programs. The wolves are here, have been here, and I question the need to stock a creature that will live here on its own, traveling and choosing whatever suitable habitat is available.

We must continue proactive dialogue with DNR and critically think about its activities, but the agency certainly needs to act as a control, particularly for humans! Witness the "go anywhere" ads for four-by-four trucks that depict the violent ripping of our lands.

Among other things, I am a sheep farmer with a love for the wilderness in all its glory.

Coyotes yap and yammer just outside my electric fences during the cold, hungry months and my "guard llama" earns his keep. My Granddad planted and harvested to the rhythm of one for me, one for the birds, one for God. I prefer to outwit wild animals rather than destroy them.

By the way, I do not view 71,000 wolves as a very large genetic pool for survival of a species. Imagine 71,000 people as the breeding stock for the entire North American continent out-numbered and out-gunned by a greed-driven species of highly mobile super predators who fly their own laws in the face of time-proven natural ones.

David Woof

I'm writing to advise your readers of a new publication about wolf/human interactions. "Ecology and Conservation of Wolves in a Changing World," ed. by Carbyn, Fritts and Seip, is available in hard and soft cover for a cost of $60 and $40 plus $7.50 shipping and handling [U.S. or Canadian dollars?] from the Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E1. Telephone (403) 4512; fax (403) 492-1153.

Cindy Reekie
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Enjoys Trilliums

This spring I found a glorious expanse of pink trilliums along an abandoned railroad near my home. Remembering from grade school that it is illegal to pick trilliums, I left them alone. Is there a legal way to transplant a clump?

Margaret Brubaker

Trilliums have not been protected since the 1970s and can be moved if you have the landowner's permission, but please don't take many from a grouping. Wildflowers are best enjoyed where they are originally found. Move them during the warm weather after they bloom and keep the roots moist. Make sure you are transplanting them into similar soil and light conditions.

Early Planning

Last year you carried a short article on a morel mushroom festival somewhere in southwestern Wisconsin. It gave date, places and a phone number to call. Unfortunately, I misplaced my copy. Could you provide a contact?

R.E. Schluttenhofer

We bet you are thinking about the Muscoda Morel Festival, traditionally held each year on the weekend after Mother's Day. (Mark your calendar now: May 17-18, 1997.) Festival managers have changed over the years. We recommend contacting the Village Clerk's office in early May to find a contact (608) 739-3182.

What's In a Name?

In your June article about invasive, weedy plants you gave Alliaria petiolata as the Latin name for garlic mustard. I'm not a botanist, but I'm very interested in wildflowers of Wisconsin. I use several books to identify flowers, and they list very different names for this plant. Britten and Brown's guide uses Alliaria alliaria and Sisymbrium alliaria. Peterson's field guides use Alliaria officinalis. Axel Rydberg in "Flora of the Prairies and Plains of Central North America" gives two names, and so forth. Who is right?

Also, what is the Latin name of the least skipper butterfly pictured in your butterfly story in the same issue?

Robert F. Bierman
West Allis

All the books you cited are likely talking about the same plant, for which different botanists have used different names at different times. The article's author S. Kelly Kearns explained that commonly accepted scientific nomenclature changes over time.

Our botanists in the Endangered Resources program use Gleason and Cronquist's "Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern US and Adjacent Canada – Second Edition" published in 1991 as our official guide to scientific plant names. The nationwide Natural Heritage Inventory Program uses a 1994 text, "A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the US, Canada and Greenland," by John Kartesz of the Biota of North America program. Both of these texts use Alliaria petiolata as the current name for garlic mustard but cite the following list of older synonyms: Alliaria alliaria, Alliaria officinalis, Ersimum alliaria and Sisymbrium alliaria.

As Ms.Kearns concluded in her note: "Aren't you glad we have globally-recognized scientific names? Isn't science fun?"

The Least Skipper is Ancyloxypha numitor...currently.

Special Deer Season Update

Those who enjoy hunting in the fall should be aware of a special firearm deer hunting season designed to reduce deer populations in selected agricultural areas of southern Wisconsin overpopulated with deer. Nineteen deer management units will host the October 24-27 season. Some state parks and public recreational lands will also be included in this special season including Governor Dodge, Blue Mounds, Peninsula and Newport state parks as well as the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the Bong Recreation Area. Hunters will be restricted to specific areas within these properties so other outdoor recreationists may continue to enjoy the parks as well.

Firearm deer hunting is considered one of the safest outdoor sports primarily due to outstanding hunter education programs and the use of blaze orange clothing. Those venturing out for hikes or other pursuits in late October in these areas should also consider wearing blaze orange clothing for your safety.