- Contact information
- For information on the Volunteer Tracking Program, contact:
- Jane Wiedenhoeft
Track Program Manager
Wisconsin's volunteer carnivore tracking program
Carnivores are often secretive and occupy very large home ranges, making it difficult to monitor them by direct observation. However, we can still estimate the abundance and distribution of carnivores by observing the number and location of their tracks.
Anyone can join in on the fun!
Learn tracking skills and assist in wildlife surveys
Researchers from the Department of Natural Resources have conducted track surveys of fur-bearing mammals since 1977. In 1979, the DNR began conducting formal wolf track surveys as part of the state wolf monitoring program. A separate survey program for American marten began in 1981. Snow track surveys have also been used to determine distribution and abundance of fisher, bobcat and other forest carnivores in Wisconsin. Since 1995, the Wisconsin DNR has used volunteers to conduct snow track surveys for wolves and other carnivores.
The goals of the survey are to:
- determine the number, distribution, breeding status and territories of wolves in Wisconsin;
- develop a sense of the abundance and distribution of other medium-sized and large carnivores in the state; and
- determine the existence of rare carnivores such as Canada lynx, cougar and possibly wolverine.
Become a tracker!
Help monitor Wisconsin's wolf population by conducting winter track surveys
To participate, you will be expected to:
- attend a wolf ecology course sponsored by DNR, Timber Wolf Alliance or Timber Wolf Information Network;
- attend a track training course sponsored by the WI DNR;
- take a mammal track test; and
- agree to complete three surveys following DNR guidelines and submit their findings.
Data received from this program is used to supplement DNR surveys and provide the public with opportunity to be involved in determining the status of our forest carnivores.
Carnivore tracker forms
Forms are available as online forms or PDF
- Carnivore track survey (1700-052) - use this form to monitor and report carnivore tracking activities for each survey event.
- Carnivore tracking annual survey summary (1700-053) - use this form to sumarize and report carnivore tracking activities for the year.
- Wolf track annual survey summary (1700-054) - use this form to report wolf survey summaries for the year.
- Suspected wolf tracks discriminant analysis (1700-055) - use this form to report suspected wolf track findings for analysis.