2018 President’s Message

January 5th, 2018

January 5, 2018

When looking at the past year in the bear and hound hunters world, we have made some progress. We have about doubled harvest tags for Bobcat, which is long overdue. This would not happen without the constant push by the WBHA and the Wisconsin Trappers Association. We got some relief from the Hunter Harassment legislation that was passed by our friends in legislature and some help from our members taking the extra step to help the state’s Department of Justice to finally build a case against these eco-terrorists. Thanks to our members and BOD the WBHA played a large role in getting legislation passed so parents now can decide when their children are ready to hunt.

The WBHA was also involved in the decision of who will replace Dave McFarland the Large Carnivore Specialist for Bear and Wolf. Let’s hope the new person will continue to work and build a good relationship with the WBHA. With the new Bear Management plan just around the corner we need to be able to help the department make good decisions for the future of our bear population so it is sustainable for many years and hunting opportunities into the future. The DNR is an important partner with the WBHA. Even though we might not always agree, we have to work together to continue the best managed bear population in the United States.

I would like to report that we have gained back all the land access that we have lost over the past few years, but I cannot. We are making progress but it has been very slow. It seems that there are a lot of different parties that are not looking at this the way the WBHA and its members do. I feel loss of motorized access to our hunting areas is the biggest threat to bear hunting today, the attitudes of the new landowners are not and never will be the way it was in the past. So we are building the necessary relationships with these landowners, which takes time. Hopefully we can convince them that we are not a financial burden to them.

There is a lot of work ahead for this organization and we cannot do this without our dedicated members and Board of Directors. We truly appreciate your continued support – without it we would not be trailing our hounds in the near future.

Thank you.

Carl Schoettel

New Wolf Bills From Duffy, Johnson-Baldwin

June 20th, 2017

January 19, 2017 – MADISON –

Representative Duffy and Senators Johnson and Baldwin have announced bi-partisan legislation to return the management of gray wolves to state control. The following is a statement from WBHA President, Carl Schoettel:

“We applaud Representative Duffy, Senator Johnson, and Senator Baldwin for the reintroduction of this important legislation. Every day Wisconsinites witness the consequences of an irresponsible decision from an out of touch Federal Judge. Wolves in Wisconsin need to be managed, just like all of our other wildlife. The State of Wisconsin has an excellent track record of managing wolves. Congress needs to act quickly to return to science-based wolf policy.”

Text of the Bill
Rep. Duffy’s Press Release
Sen. Johnson’s Press Release

Report of a Successful 2017 Convention

May 20th, 2017

Bear Hunting Magazine | May-June 2017
WBHA Vice President, Lucas Withrow

Greetings Members,

I am happy to report the 53rd annual WBHA convention was another successful event. We started the convention on Friday where our entire board of directors worked very hard to get everything and everyone just where they needed to be for the duration of the weekend. Signs hung, tables set up, puppy room arranged, lots and lots of prizes and auction items logged in and put on display, followed by final details of the convention center.

After a few hours of preview Friday, we were headed to the banquet dinner where we were joined by some very important friends from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state legislature. I’d like to thank Kurt Thiede, Deputy Department Secretary, Dave McFarland, Large Carnivore Specialist, Todd Schaller, Chief Warden, and also State Representative Kathy Bernier (Chippewa Falls, WI). We had a nice dinner and some great conversation.

Saturday morning came early, especially for those who took full advantage of the after hours entertainment. Before the doors opened we laid out and planned an 81-item auction for the main attraction of the day. As the doors opened we were busy immediately with membership renewals increasing by roughly 26% and new member sign up increasing by 45%. The selling of many different types of raffle tickets and the collection of the annual raffle tickets; we were all very busy doing our part for our members to enjoy.

We started the annual meeting with the very, very important pledge of allegiance to show appreciation and display our love for our free country and all it stands for. We then recognized some great iron clad bear hunters, Bruce Potter and Ronnie Schneider, and presented them an award for there accomplishments. Following that were awards for Jr Big Bear Recognition, Big Bear Recognition, field trial awards, and scholarship achievement awards from the WBHA foundation.

Next we took nominations for next years WBHA leadership. Our current president, Carl Schoettel, was nominated for president next year and several others were nominated for board of director’s positions for 2018.

Around noon, newly hired WI DNR Director of Wildlife Management, Eric Lobner, gave a speech about his perceived direction for the future of the department. We would like to thank him and wish him the best accomplishments in the future. Following that were several guest introductions from our lobbyist, Bob Welch. Our guests were State Representatives Bob Kulp (Stratford, WI), Pat Snyder (Wausau, WI), Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake, WI), and our newly-elected very own Rob Stafsholt (New Richmond, WI). All gave powerful inspirations for the future and their intentions to support the WBHA for the benefit of the state and its hunting communities.

Then we were very fortunate to be able to give thanks to our veterans in the crowd by honoring them with a couple of offerings of our gratitude for their service to our great country. Thank you veterans!!

From there we talked about the importance of our membership where I stressed:
“If you enjoy hunting and hunting with Hounds then you should be supporting the WBHA. If you care to have a part or voice in the future of hunting in this state, then I would suggest you support a organization, with at the very least a membership, because the fight for hunting land, hunting rights, and hunting with Hounds is very, very real. The WBHA is the strongest hunting affiliated organization in the state of Wisconsin, not only because the number of members we have, but also because of our fierce determination to stay involved and informed on many issues regarding many activities. You may also know that we are one of the very few hunting affiliated organizations that have a state lobbyist to help us to stay involved and informed at the legislative level. We need to strengthen our organization not only with funding but most importantly with members. The more members we have, the larger our voice. The more people that we can reach with our unified voice, the better the outcome. The future of hunting and hound hunting will rely on the people of a unified organization to stand tall, be involved, and represent one another by being committed members of this organization. One by one! Side by side! We will continue to be the driving effort to not only sustain and expand bear hunting and training in Wisconsin but to also advise others abroad to become unified and do the same. Everyone does count! This will ensure that strength of the WBHA will continue to represent our passions for our sport!”

Then followed the annual WBHA auction given by our good friends Wayne Smith and Scott Gunderson. Thank you both so much for your devoted support to the WBHA. I’d also like to once again thank our members for the support they continue to bring to our organization. I would also like to say great job and thank you to all of the dedicated board of directors who continue to not only defend our sport of bear hunting but who also give their time and effort for our organization. I wish all of you good races with your hounds and successful hunts in your future.

WBHA Vice President,
Lucas Withrow

2017 President’s Message

February 8th, 2017

February 8, 2017

WBHA Members,

First I would like to thank all the members that made the WBHA annual spring convention a huge success. This would not happen without you and all the hard work helping sell Annual raffle tickets, plus the financial support and all the donations to the Membership and SOS Auction. Again thank you. I would also like to thank the BOD and members from the northwest, Adam Jarchow and The Welch Group and everybody else who helped pass the Hunter Harassment Bill.

The Annual meeting dates for next year will be March 24th and 25th at the Central Wisconsin Convention & Expo Center, we will have blocked a 100 rooms for Friday and Saturday at the Holiday Inn. Do not wait too long to reserve your hotel rooms.

The last thing that I want to mention is the Wolf Summit in early September somewhere in northern Wisconsin. It will consist of experts in wolf management, Legislators and citizens affected by the overpopulation wolves. There will be an expert in wolf management who will be our keynote speaker. After hearing from experts and legislators, we will hear from citizens from around the state who have had pets and livestock killed by wolves. The goal is to raise awareness about the wolf population in the Midwest and encourage the federal government to allow for state-led wolf management programs. And get these varmints delisted!! I will quote our friend Senator Tom Tiffany, “Wisconsin is not a wolf sanctuary and it is irresponsible to allow it to be treated as such”. We will keep you informed with more details as we get closer to the summit date in September.

Have a great and productive training season.

Carl Schoettel

WBHA Applauds Passage of Right-to-Hunt Bill

February 16th, 2016

February 16, 2016 – Madison – Today the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) applauded the Wisconsin Legislature for passage of the Right to Hunt Act of 2016.

Last fall, Wisconsin hunters and trappers had run-ins with animal rights extremists which often involved harassment, interference, videotaping, and stalking-like behavior.

Under current law, it is illegal to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing and trapping. However, local law enforcement and DNR officials found enforcing the current law to be extremely difficult.

“When this bill becomes law, it will make the current hunter harassment law easier to enforce and will hopefully cut down on these dangerous encounters,” said WBHA President Al Lobner. “In addition, it will increase penalties to those engaging in this type of anti-social behavior.”

In Wisconsin, hunting is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin. By interfering with hunting, fishing, and trapping, opponents are violating the rights of the people lawfully exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right.

“Hunting, fishing, and trapping are traditions in Wisconsin spanning generations,” added Lobner. “WBHA thanks the legislature for understanding the value of these traditions, and their willingness to protect them. We especially want to thank Representative Jarchow and Senator Moulton for authoring the proposal.”

This important piece of legislation now heads to the desk of Governor Walker for his signature.

Update from DNR on Bear Season Rule Changes

July 24th, 2015

Hello Wisconsin Bear Hunters,

It is hard to believe, but bear season is less than 2 months away. The training season is up and running, I’m hearing good reports from the field. I thought I’d take this time to update you on two important issues.

First, the state budget included a couple important changes for the bear program – elimination of the Class B license and an increase in the application fee for Class A licenses. The following guidance on these issues was prepared in cooperation with our Law Enforcement and Customer Services colleagues:

Class B bear license eliminated
A Class B bear license is no longer required to bait bears, train dogs to track bear, act as a back-up shooter, or assist hunters with pursuing bears provided that a person does not shoot, shoot at, capture, take, or kill the bear (unless acting as a back-up shooter). Any individual may now participate in bear hunting and training activities without a Class B bear license any time those activities are permitted and in compliance with applicable regulations. Feeding bears for non-hunting purposes, such as recreational viewing, remains illegal.

  • All Class B bear license products have been removed from ALIS and online license sales site.
  • Refunds? The Class B bear license was required for part of the baiting and bear dog training season and those who purchased that license had an opportunity to use it. Therefore, there will be no refunds on Class B bear licenses purchased for the 2015 bear season.
  • The 2015 Bear Hunting Regulations are already printed and those cannot be changed. The online regulations will be updated soon.
  • Wildlife is working to update the Wisconsin Bear Baiting and Feeding Regulations publication.

Class A bear license application fee increased
The Class A bear license fee increased $1.50 and is now $4.50.

Electronic Registration

I’d also like to update you on registration procedures for the 2015 season. As you know, bears are included in the Department’s transition to electronic registration. We have been working to implement the registration and sample submission changes we discussed at our last bear committee meeting in December. Our Wildlife Policy Team has approved a final plan for registration and sample submission which includes the following elements:

  • Bears will be registered electronically by phone or computer, all data collected previously will continue to be collected including the Game Management Unit (former DMU’s) of harvest.
  • Business who are willing to provide electronic registration services to hunters may voluntarily do so, those businesses will be listed on the DNR website: http://prodoasext.dnr.wi.gov/inter1/pk_cwd_regpub$.startup
    This list is just now being pulled together, we hope to have more stations listed before the season opens.
  • Successful hunters are required to provide a tooth to the Department. Teeth will no longer be collected at registration stations, all hunters will be required to submit their sample by mail. Hunters will receive a pre-paid business reply mailer with detailed registration and submission instructions in mid-August. They can use this to submit their sample free of charge. In addition, information on where to mail samples will be provided on our website and at the time of registration.
  • To aid hunters in the registration and sample submission process, we are developing a new bear registration website. This site will be easily accessible by searching keyword “bear registration” on the DNR main page. It will include a link to the electronic registration system and detailed instructions on how to register a bear and collect and submit samples. Our plan is to have this site active by mid-August.

While there have been some changes over the last few months, I’m confident we will continue to provide a high quality bear hunting experience and that our hunters will continue to supply us with the data we need to effectively manage the population. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on these or any other issues.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer,

David M. MacFarland
Large Carnivore Specialist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

WBHA Donates to the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council

June 19th, 2015

In a letter from the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council, Campaign Director James Cote thanked the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association for their $5000 contribution. Mr. Cote expressed thanks to the members of the WBHA for their continued support of the sportsmen in Maine.

View the letter here: Maine Wildlife Conservation Council Letter

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp: 2014 Gun Deer Season—The rules have changed, but the tradition remains!

October 14th, 2014

NOTE: To all of our members that deer hunt, here is a reminder of changes to the upcoming deer season from DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. You can download a PDF of the 2014 Wisconsin Bonus Antlerless Deer Permit Information for new deer zone details.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp

You talked, and we listened. Our goal in the months leading up to deer season was to bring hunters and landowners to the table, and we’ve done just that. As a result of these collaborative efforts, the rules have changed as we work to improve the experience for everyone who takes part in Wisconsin’s great hunting tradition!

With these changes, we hope to continue to grow our relationships with Wisconsin’s hunters and landowners. Below, you’ll find a few examples of how changes to deer management in Wisconsin reinforce our commitment to deer management and reflect the desire to get each of you involved.

  • County Deer Advisory Committees: To give each hunter a chance to participate in the management of Wisconsin’s deer herd, we created committees on a county-by-county basis to create plans for deer management based on your feedback. We think this change will provide a better opportunity for our hunters to play a larger role in key decisions made throughout the state. We’re through the first round of meetings and we’ve already heard some great feedback.
  • Deer Management Assistance Program: DMAP is a great tool that provides landowners with the resources they need to improve both their land and local deer herd through a great partnership with our forestry and wildlife staff.
    Simplified Deer Management Units: The old DMU system is out, and new this year is a county-based system. See the new map in the regulations booklet or on our website dnr.wi.gov keyword “deer.”
  • First Time Hunters: We want to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors and the excitement of the hunt. This year, first time hunters can purchase a license for just five dollars. First time hunters should also check out the first deer certificate; a great way to commemorate a hunter’s first successful hunt, complete with picture and details of the outing. Search “first deer” on the DNR website.
  • Public Access Lands Atlas: The PAL Atlas is a great way to find public hunting land around the state. At the PAL Atlas website, you can either download the full version or individual maps for free!

With new changes come new opportunities. I look forward to continuing our partnerships with Wisconsin’s hunters and landowners, ensuring a great experience for all.


DNR Hires New Chief Warden

November 11th, 2013

In an email sent today on behalf of DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, it was announced that the DNR has hired a new chief warden.

Good morning, DNR Partners,

I am writing to you today to tell you of a very important hiring decision we just made at the Department of Natural Resources. It gives me great pleasure to tell you the next DNR chief warden is Todd Schaller. This decision was not easy as we had excellent candidates. However, I have great confidence in the abilities and talents Todd possesses to take over this important leadership role for the DNR.

Many of you already know firsthand of Todd’s expertise and record of outstanding service to the DNR. I would like to highlight Todd’s impressive history as a conservation warden. A native of Bangor in the La Crosse area, Todd was raised by his parents to enjoy and to appreciate Wisconsin’s natural resources. He treasured hunting and fishing outings with his family. Todd earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He was hired by the DNR in 1989 and spent his first dozen years as a field warden in Racine, Trempealeau and Fond du Lac counties. It was during these years that his people skills and managerial talents became more apparent. He then served 8 years as a team supervisor for the Oshkosh Team. Four years ago, he was promoted to the position he holds today as the chief of the Recreation Enforcement and Education Section.

In the coming weeks, Todd will be working to make his transition into the chief warden position that will become effective December 17. He will be working closely with Chief Warden Randy Stark to make this a seamless transition to the bureau’s staff, to our partners and to the public. Please join me in congratulating Todd. This is a great day for the Bureau of Law Enforcement, the DNR and the state which depends upon the wardens, who truly are the DNR ambassadors in every community.

Lastly, I want to thank representatives from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Wardens, State Capitol Police, Wisconsin ATV Association, Clean Wisconsin, Wisconsin Bear Hunters and the Hmong American Sportsmen Club for participating in the selection process.

DNR Investigates Possible Wolf Attack In Minnesota

August 28th, 2013

The WBHA has learned of a possible wolf attack that is being investigated by the DNR. The attack took place near the shore of the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish in north-central Minnesota.

From the article:

The teenager survived what the DNR called an “extremely rare” attack, but a wolf with a jaw deformity was trapped and killed in the area early Monday, said Tom Provost, regional manager for the DNR’s enforcement division in Grand Rapids. Rabies test results on the animal are expected Tuesday or Wednesday, he told reporters.

For more details, please read the article here.