Wolf Depredation Avoidance Area

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Investigations by the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, have confirmed that wolves have recently killed two hounds being trained to hunt bear in an area northeast of Ladysmith. Hunters are urged to exercise extra caution if they plan to train dogs in this area, according to Adrian Wydeven, mammalian ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. The local pack also killed a dog in this area last February, said Wydeven. He indicated that once a pack kills a hound, it will likely kill hounds again within the next year or two.

The area of caution includes areas east of Highway 27 , areas south of County W, areas west of County M, and areas north of County B, I and J in northeast Rusk and southeast Sawyer Counties. The area where dog trainers should exercise extra caution includes the southern half of the Flambeau State Forests, and nearby County and industrial forest land.

Bear dog training is allowed in portions of northern Wisconsin from July 1 through August 30. Bear hunters were training hounds within an area of an established wolf pack, according to Wydeven. The three wolf depredations on hounds occurred within 3 miles of each other. Last winter 3 hounds used in coyote hunting , had gotten too close to a deer killed by wolves. The recent attacks of wolves on hounds probably are due to the presence of pups in the area, and wolves becoming aggressive with any animal getting too close to the pups. Wolf territories normally cover 20 to 100 square miles, but areas where pups are raised in summer usually covers only one to three square miles of the territory. These summer home sites or “rendezvous sites” are areas that hunters with hounds will most want to avoid in summer.

Wydeven said depredation on dogs seems to occur more frequently in newer packs, but the recent depredations are from a pack that has been present since the 1990s. In recent years 8 to 17 hounds per year have been killed by wolves in hunting and training situations, but the three hounds listed above are the only losses of this kind so far for 2003. The DNR will continue to pay for partial reimbursement of losses to dogs caused by wolves, but control trapping by USDA-Wildlife Services will only occur if wolves cause depredation to domestic animals on private lands.

The following counties are in the West Central Region: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon, Wood.