Documentary challenges views on wolf hunt

D.J. Pierce, Managing Editor

Wolfie is our beloved mascot here at Madison College, and current students and alumni have prided themselves on being members of the “WolfPack” for years. If we’re lucky, we’ll see Wolfie roaming around school on a random day, or make an appearance during school events. If we’re even luckier, we might be able to snatch a picture with him. Snapping a picture of a real life grey wolf is an even bigger feat, as there are now only around 680 of them left in the state.

Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf (FofWW) recently released a jarring and eye-opening documentary on Feb. 17 called “Political Predator.” The documentary was produced by Melissa Smith (the executive director of FofWW) and was directed, edited and filmed by Trevor Triggs at Duckworks Media. The film shines a fierce light on the mistreatment of the grey wolves in Wisconsin, or as the film calls them, “the dogs we left outside.” It dives deep into the root causes of the barbaric yet culturally accepted Wisconsin Wolf Hunt and tears down the myths surrounding it and the delisting of the grey wolf from the endangered species list.

The film features native tribal leaders, politicians, farmers, sociologists and other experts giving their two cents about the state of the grey wolves in Wisconsin. They try to demystify wolves and their scary reputations as well as garner a bitter taste in your mouth for all of the fact-bending and myth-perpetuating done by certain government entities in order to push through political agendas. Any attempt to delist the grey wolves from the endangered species list would go against all science, research, analyses, public opinion and basic human decency, but the two bills in Congress right now, if passed, would do just that.

As it turns out, depredation (wolves killing off farm animals and other things they aren’t supposed to) is not as large a problem as it is chalked up to be. Additionally, there is no evidence to support the idea that wolves are overpopulating Wisconsin. In fact, we are severely damaging and destabilizing not only their packs by openly and indiscriminately killing them, but we are puncturing their ability to naturally maintain their own numbers and disturbing the natural hierarchy of predators in the wild.

“Political Predator” is both fierce and effective. It does not attempt to sugarcoat the truth or be “politically correct” and never for a second does it let you forget what we are dealing with: a league of wondrous, sentient beings that we are systematically murdering to a point of no return. The build-up of shocking information and surreal facts, such as the fact that between 60 to 75 percent of the wolves trapped during the wolf hunt are merely pups, was painful enough, but the toughest pill to swallow was the real-live pictures and footage. Near the end of the 67 minute film we watch various hunters shoot large, proud and starry-eyed wolves straight in the head, then turn to look back at the camera and laugh while the wolves writhe in agony.

Though the film left me coursing with anger, I was also glad that I was surrounded by people who truly cared. The room gave Smith a standing-ovation for her work and not a soul was left unaffected. Diana Miller, member of the Menominee nation and former representative for AFSCME said that her and her tribe were, “proud to share their ancestry with the four-legged creatures.”

Witnessing this kind of overwhelming respect and appreciation for these wolves moved me deeply, as in my experience this kind of animal love is reserved for only domestic pets like cats and dogs. “Everything you love about your dog is thanks to the wolves,” Smith said.

Madison College students, staff, parents, friends, and anyone else who may be interested in helping protect the grey wolves, here’s what you can do: Write your representatives and senators to put a stop to these two Congressional bills. Watch the film, share the film and donate to the Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf if you are able. With enough numbers, we can affect change. “Wolves belong to everyone, and you do have a say,” Smith said. So let’s say something before it’s too late, and before all we have left in Wisconsin to remember the wolves by is a mascot.

“Political Predator” is available for free streaming on Youtube and on the Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf’s website: