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Hunter Welfare?

posted May 1, 2018, 7:54 PM by chloe owens   [ updated May 1, 2018, 7:55 PM ]

2/1/18, by Doug Hansmann, Denise Thornton, Isthmus

Hunter Welfare?

In 2017 the state of Wisconsin paid a record $99,400 to hunters whose dogs were killed by wolves. Since the program began in 1985, the state has paid hunters more than $700,000 for dogs that were killed by wolves. No other state pays hunters for dogs that are killed this way — and Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) wants to end the practice. “It’s not society’s job to reimburse individuals who voluntarily jeopardize the wellbeing of their dogs by putting them in harm’s way,” Risser tells Isthmus. “People get insurance for this kind of risk. Why should the taxpayers pick up this cost? There are better ways to use the state’s resources.” Risser is now looking for co-sponsors for a bill that would end the payments. “It will be interesting to see how my colleagues respond,” he says. Melissa Smith, executive director of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, says the payment system shows the state is beholden to a small group of people. “The hunting community has a giant overreach even though the majority of Wisconsin residents don’t hunt,” she says. “This compensation is hunter welfare. It’s an entitlement.”