Archive for the ‘DNR’ Tag

Are high wolf numbers driving hunting dog attacks?   Leave a comment

October 21, 2016 

 

A gray wolf rests in the snow. National Park Service photo

 

A former state wildlife biologist contends Wisconsin’s high wolf numbers may not be the driving factor behind a record 40 hunting dogs killed by wolves during the bear season that ended Oct. 11.
Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator Adrian Wydeven, a former wildlife biologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said the state saw fewer dogs killed by wolves the last time Wisconsin’s wolf population was this high.

“The previous high count of 815 (wolves) in 2012 had only seven dogs killed that year, and that was the lowest wolf depredation on dogs in about 10 years,” Wydeven said.

The number of wolves in Wisconsin grew about 16 percent this year with a minimum estimate of 867. Dave MacFarland, the state’s large carnivore specialist, said a number of things could have played a role in the number of dogs killed this bear-hunting season.

“Wolf population levels are one of them, but we don’t have hard information that we can point to and don’t want to speculate on what may have caused this change,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see if this repeats itself.”

Wydeven said a possible increase in hunting activities due to permitting changes last year may also be driving a rise in conflicts. Last year, lawmakers eliminated Class B bear licenses for those who wanted to assist hunters with setting baits or training.

“If we’re allowing much more open policy, allowing a lot more people to participate in that activity, that could account for the increases of hound depredations in Wisconsin,” Wydeven said.

But MacFarland said it’s not known what impact the permitting change may have had on hunter activity this year.

Wildlife officials have said wolves may also be more protective of their pups during bear season and the training of hunting dogs beforehand. Research also suggests the length of Wisconsin’s bear baiting season may play a role in higher numbers of attacks on hunting dogs than neighboring states. Bear hunters can set baits as early as mid-April in Wisconsin, whereas states such as Michigan don’t allow baiting until two weeks before the beginning of the season.

Wydeven said the longer baits are used, the more likely they’ll attract wolves.

“When hunters release their dogs at the bear baits to go chase bears, there’s a chance if wolves have recently visited the site, they could be sending their dogs after wolves,” Wydeven said.

Joseph Bump, an associate professor with Michigan Technological University, was lead author of a 2013 study that found hunting dogs were up to seven times more likely to be killed by wolves in Wisconsin than in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“If stakeholders are sincerely interested in decreasing wolves killing hunting dogs, then there’s good wildlife science to suggest that both the timing and length of the bear baiting season is a factor that should be on the table for discussion and potential adjustment,” Bump said.

Bump is continuing research in Michigan on how frequently species other than bears visit bait sites. He expects those findings will become available next year.

Bear hunters in Minnesota are not allowed to use dogs while hunting.

Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news.


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Posted 24 October, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in News/Nyheter, Wolves / Vargar

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DNR: Minnesota Sees Slight Decline In Wolf Population   Leave a comment

From CBS Minnesota on August 10, 2015

(credit: Minnesota Zoo)

(credit: Minnesota Zoo)

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the state’s wolf population has declined slightly from last year, but not enough to be statistically significant.

The DNR announced Monday that the latest survey on wolves in Minnesota shows there were 374 wolf packs and 2,221 individual wolves in the state’s range last winter. That’s down from 2,423 wolves from the survey taken the winter prior.

Officials say they survey wolves in the winter because that’s the annual low point in wolf populations. Come spring, when pups are born, the population typically doubles. However, when winter rolls back around, many pups don’t survive.

Dan Stark, a DNR specialist on large carnivores, said in a press release that wolves are still “well established” in the northern and central Minnesota. The population is also above the state’s minimum management goal of 1,600 wolves.

While wolf hunting was banned in Minnesota following a federal ruling late in 2014, there was still a wolf season last year where more than 250 wolves were killed.

But the slight decline in the wolf population probably has more to do with the decline in the white-tailed deer population, the DNR said. The recent back-to-back brutal winters have thinned the deer population, thus making it difficult for packs to find food.

“When prey declines, wolves must eventually re-adjust to the new conditions, which typically means fewer packs and each utilizing a larger territory to meet nutritional demands and sustain a competitive pack size,” said John Erb, a DNR wolf research scientist, in a statement.

The most recent survey showed that wolf packs increased in size last year, from an average of 4.4 to 5.1 wolves per pack. Officials say the packs also appear to be hunting in larger territories.

Group to protest Wisconsin’s wolf hunt at state Capitol   1 comment

From:  The Cap Times

December 04, 2014 8:45 am  • 

GRAY WOLF (copy)

A group of wolf advocates plans to engage in civil disobedience at Wisconsin’s Capitol building next week to protest the state’s wolf management policies.

The Wolf and Wildlife Action Group, a national group of activists, announced Wednesday that its members will protest at 11 a.m. on Dec. 8 on the Capitol steps. They will then move to Gov. Scott Walker’s office.

The group plans to deliver four “violation notices for Wisconsin’s crimes against nature” to the governor, citing the United Nations’ World Charter for Nature.

According to a news release, WWAG will release more details about the alleged violations when they deliver them to the governor.

The group “demands all wolf killing stops now and wolves be returned to full endangered species protection forthwith under the Endangered Species Act.”

Wisconsin’s wolf hunt has been controversial since Walker signed into law the state’s wolf hunting and trapping provisions. By way of that law, Wisconsin is the only state to allow dogs to be used hunting wolves.

The 2014 hunting and trapping season opened Oct. 15 and entered the hound phase on Monday. Dog use is prohibited until the conclusion of the gun deer season.

The state Department of Natural Resources sets a yearly quota for wolf kills; this year’s is 150. The DNR also sets smaller quotas for six management zones throughout the state, closing a zone when the quota is reached.

The season ends on Feb. 28, or when the statewide quota is met. As of Dec. 3, 147 harvests had been reported and only two of the six zones remained open.

Two zones were closed before their zone-specific quotas were met and two others were closed after their quotas were exceeded.

Some opposition to the wolf hunt comes from those opposed to the hunting and killing of any animals, while some comes from those who believe wolves specifically deserve protections.

In 2012, several groups sued the DNR seeking to halt the provision allowing the use of dogs in the hunt. The groups contended that the practice amounted to state-sanctioned animal fighting. That lawsuit failed.

The group coming to Wisconsin, WWAG, has led similar protests in Idaho and Montana.

Its members called for Idaho Republican Gov. Butch Otter’s resignation and spoke with him briefly in May. They delivered a “violation notice” to Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in October.

Wisconsin wolves were taken off the federal endangered species list in 2011, allowing state officials to determine how best to manage the population.

At the time the bill was signed, the state’s wolf population numbered more than 800. Last winter, Wisconsin had at least 660 wolves.

When Walker signed the bill, he said in a statement that the hunt will help farmers protect their livestock by reducing the wolf population to a “healthy, sustainable level.

The wolf hunt.

The wolf hunt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 19th century painting depicting the conclusi...

A 19th century painting depicting the conclusion of a wolf hunt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

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