DNR trapping problem wolves; hunting cameras showcase growing problem

By: Mary Rinzel Email
By: Mary Rinzel Email

The DNR is now in the process of trapping a wolf pack in Jackson County. It's a process that should wrap up within a week, but it's a problem people in a small hunting town say has been growing for years.

A hunting guide in Hatfield says the wolves in Jackson County are accustomed to people and moving closer to town. Steve Wyss says his bear hunting cameras are proof.

"We run approx 32 bait stations in Jackson and Clark Counties and I would have to say 99% of them will attract wolves," says Wyss, owner of Hatfield Sports Shop.

Wyss doesn’t display too many pictures of the wolves at his sports shop.

"It's an animosity that the wolves are endangering what we do for our normal day to day living. Like I say, you've got a lot of hunters out there and they're intimidated to take their dogs," Wyss says.

The DNR says a wolf from the Bear Bluff Pack recently hurt a German shorthair pointer on the opening day of the grouse hunt and wasn't afraid of the dog’s owner.

"When the hunter went to rescue his dog which had crawled under his truck, the wolf stood right there, right in the road near the hunter and didn't exhibit any fear," says Ed Culhane with the DNR.

Culhane says it's believed to be the first wolf attack on a bird-hunting dog in Wisconsin. He says wolf attacks on people are extremely rare and one has never been reported in the continental United States.

“We want to keep it that way,” Culhane says.

“There was a site approximately three miles from here with three wolves on the camera at one time so that's a pack,” Wyss says.

Wyss says he isn't sure how he feels when it comes to the DNR's plan, but he says the wolves around Jackson County have certainly made themselves right at home with humans.

"A wolf is a very skittish animal and now you're seeing them along side the highway watching you; it's not a normal process in what you see,” Wyss says.

Culhane says there's an exception in the endangered species law that allows the DNR to take action in unusual circumstances. He says the plan is to trap and kill a couple of the male leaders of the pack. He says relocating the wolves isn't an option because it would simply make problem wolves someone else's problem.

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  • by bruce barton Location: marble n.c. on Feb 13, 2011 at 11:16 AM
    Wolves, were reintroduced but, the Buffalo which was their main diet, wasn't. Wolves are reduceing the populations of elk and Buffalo in Yellowstone as well as feeding on the natural winter deaths as well. The grizley has a hard time feeding on the already dead animals because of wolves harrising them. That's why grizzlies are being found outside the Yellowstone park. Hunter kill can be controlled, wolves cannot. If you want it the way it was 200 years ago, you would have to reintroduce the bison in most states. Get real!!!!! Coyote have migrated east and ruined small game hunting. Is the agenda set up to eliminate game animals so that we wont need our hunting firearms? Wolves & coyote are not game animals. A few of are necessary but we have too many now. Coyote. & wolves have killed in Canada. Look it up on the net. Done.
  • by Pat Location: WC WI on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:08 AM
    To Sharon: Do you know how hard it is to see a bear and make a clean kill with leaves on the brush? By baiting bears a hunter can get a good shot and reduce the amount of wounded bears. Wounded bears may suffer and die slowly or if they are lucky, recover. I thought the target population of wolves was supposed to be 350 and now it is well over 700 animals. They need to be managed.
  • by mike Location: manitowish waters on Oct 9, 2010 at 03:39 AM
    The absurd irony of the story is the hunting guide's complaint that wolves are becoming habituated to the area when he is the one doing it--and has evidence to prove it. He'd like to pretend that he doesn't have to admit the reality of his situation, namely, that he inhabits a place with wolves and is contributing to their presence. Whether ethical as an aspect of hunting, baiting brings in animals--and if they're predators, you have to accept them as a consequence of YOUR actions.
  • by Immer Location: Ely, MN on Oct 8, 2010 at 09:23 AM
    I'll begin with I am pro-wolf. I have wolves right outside my door, plenty of deer, bears.... Never a problem, even while Winter camping in the middle of wolf country. Yes, wolves must be managed. The smoke a pack a day and shoot, shovel shut-up mentality only serves to drive the need to protect wolves. The history of wolf extermination should drive one to err on the side of caution with wolf population control. There need to be areas of no wolves, managed wolf hunting, and areas of no wolf hunting. Corridors must be maintained for the purpose of genetic diversity. The deer/auto carnage between Eau Claire and Superior has not been as bad the past few years. I believe 28,000 deer salvages on the roads of WI (2009), compared to ~45,000 prior to real wolf population growth. I would think that is one very real positive result due to wolves. Hunters may look at that as bad, but to any one who has hit a deer, or knows someone who has, fewer collisions are a blessing.
  • by jason Location: northern wis. on Oct 7, 2010 at 03:05 PM
    Jess in mn you also have 4 times the room for them and 4 times the food. Good greif people this isnt about bear hunting. It is about controlling a wild animal that has been allowed breed without having its numbers regulated. No one is going to kill all the wolves but some population control is nessary as with coyotes deer bear game birds or anything else. Why is it when fedral and state wildlife biologists say control is need that everyone thinks they know better. The fact is they are running out of food and have to eat something be it a cow or a dog or whatever. True hunting hounds and bird dogs are more at risk but what about the ones that have been killed in their own yards, dosent that concern you even a little bit. There wass a young teacher from Pa. that was working in alaska teaching in a village that was killed this spring a 1/2 mile from town, and do you know what was on the news.....alaska fish and game shooting wolves....nothing about the teacher.
  • by Jess Location: NE MN on Oct 7, 2010 at 09:22 AM
    Have the bear hunters baiting in that area signed up for the depredation emails from the WDNR? It's free and they would know where wolf packs are hanging around and causing trouble. It seems that it is the choice of not to bait in that area that must be the hard part. Bear hunting in MN doesn't have a lot of complainers and we have four times the amount of wolves.
  • by Jess Location: NE MN on Oct 7, 2010 at 09:14 AM
    Wolves are scavenging animals with intense territorial drives. Visiting bait stations and being aggressive to wolves comes naturally. I hunt birds and deer in northeast MN and do so with awareness that wolves are a presence. It just takes a little adaptation on the hunter's part. If people were more willing to do that, coexistence with wolves and other wildlife wouldn't be something that people feel a need to complain about. Aren't there other, more important issues in the world today that could use a little more attention?
  • by I'd be disappointed Location: Northern WI on Oct 6, 2010 at 04:12 PM
    And what is the human's purpose besides shooting whatever it wants? I expect wolves to act like wolves. I'd expect a bit more from a rational evolved human being but...
  • by Outdoorsman and hunter Location: Rice Lake on Oct 6, 2010 at 02:05 PM
    What most of you anit wolf hunters are missing here is that no one wants to kill all of the wolves like we did 100 years ago. If not allowed to control wolves enough people will get fed up and do it anyway, legal or not. I support controlled hunts to control the population so everyone is happy. To those in Cable area. I have hunted in this area for 25 years. It has gone from seeing a few wolves and listening to them on an infrequent basis to the point where they are seen all of the time. Talk to the locals wolves are everywhere. Now lets work on wolf control so again we can all be happy.
  • by David Location: Eau Claire on Oct 6, 2010 at 12:38 PM
    I guess you tree huggers don't put any cheese on your mouse traps then. THAT would not be sporting. You track them and kill them with your bare hands, right? Hey Amazed, just WHAT is the wolf's purpose, besides eating whatever it wants (including sheep, calves, deer, dogs)???
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