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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