WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07) and Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08) introduced legislation today to permanently remove the gray wolf from the list of federal endangered species and restore authority to control the gray wolf population back to where it belongs: In the hands of state lawmakers and state wildlife officials.
“It’s time to end the era of urban judges and paper-pushers a thousand miles away in Washington, DC micromanaging Wisconsin wildlife policies,” said Tiffany. “Wolf attacks on pets and livestock are becoming commonplace and the soaring wolf population is beginning to do long-term damage to the hunting industry – enough is enough.”
Tiffany’s bill, the Managing Predators Act, would empower officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming to control the gray wolf population by permanently barring federal officials from interfering in state wolf management efforts.
“For too long, the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been converted by the radical environmental lawsuit industry into a statutory ‘Hotel California,’ one where unelected federal bureaucrats and well-funded lobbyists see to it that animals ‘check-in’ to the threatened and endangered list – but never leave,” added Tiffany. “Meanwhile, rural communities with no say in the process are stuck with the consequences.”
“Despite the gray wolf’s evident recovery, well-funded activists were able to litigate the species back on the Endangered Species List, much to the detriment of deer hunters, farmers and families in my district. A cow is easily worth thousands of dollars, so it is incredibly problematic that our farmers have no legal avenue to protect their livestock should a gray wolf attack. It was never the purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to permanently list a species, so I am proud to join my colleague, Congressman Tiffany, in introducing legislation that empowers states to properly manage their own gray wolf population,” said Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08). “This legislation is especially timely with Minnesota’s whitetail deer season around the corner. As the hunters in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin set out their orange and head to the woods, let’s make sure we have a robust deer herd to continue these timeless family traditions.”
“Wisconsin farmers, ranchers and sportsmen have seen enough real-world evidence to know that it is their livelihood and future that’s endangered, not the gray wolf,” Tiffany concluded. “It’s time to put Wisconsinites back in the driver’s seat.”
Bill Yingst, Chair of the Wolf Committee of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress expressed the group’s backing of the legislation, adding “We fully support the bill and agree that it is time to return this responsibility to the states.”
Luke Hilgemann, Chief Executive Officer Hunter Nation also endorsed the legislation. “On behalf of the nearly 50,000 hunters who have signed our petition to de-list the gray wolf, Hunter Nation is grateful for champions like Congressman Tiffany who has been a tireless advocate for sportsmen,” Hilgemann said. “We look forward to advancing this important bill that will finally allow states to manage these apex predators and restore balance to our outdoor resources.”
Lucas Withrow, Vice President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Assn. expressed support as well. “Wisconsin’s Bear Hunters applaud the introduction of this bill which delivers the long overdue return of wolf management to the State of Wisconsin. Our state has proven it can successfully sustain and manage wolves,” said Withrow. “The past few years our state has been without the ability to manage wolf populations and it has caused many unknown and unnecessary depredations and negative impacts on our hunting and farming communities. Wolves need to be managed for public tolerance within the wolf range and the health of the wolves themselves.”
Erica Tergeson, Director of Hunting Policy for the National Rifle Association also praised the legislation. “It is high time wolf management was taken from the federal government and returned to the states. The federal cookie cutter approach does not take into consideration the unique needs of states,” said Tergeson. “Wolf populations have increased exponentially and need to be held in check to protect livestock, humans and other wildlife. Congressman Tiffany’s bill would do just that.”