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Contact information
For wolf information contact:
David MacFarland
Carnivore specialist
715-365-8917
Anyone suspecting a wolf depredation in northern Wisconsin should call USDA Wildlife Services immediately
at 800-228-1368 (in state) or
715-369-5221. In southern Wisconsin call 800-433-0663
(in state) or 920-324-4514.

Dog depredations by wolves in Wisconsin

Each year, with the beginning of the Wisconsin bear hound training and hunting season, hunters are reminded to exercise caution if they plan to train or hunt bear with hounds. Hunters should use the caution area maps below to help reduce conflicts during this year's bear dog training and hunting season.

**Anyone suspecting a wolf attack in northern Wisconsin should call USDA-WS immediately at 1-800-228-1368 (in state) or 715-369-5221. In southern Wisconsin call 1-800-433-0663 (in state) or 920-324-4514.

Wolves seen in Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County.  Photo copyright of Dave Moquin.

Wolves seen in Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Burnett County in summer 2009. Photo ©Dave Moquin.

Caution areas, dogs and wolf behavior

When wolves attack dogs in hunting or training situations on public land, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will create "wolf caution areas" (what are wolf caution areas?) to warn hunters that a specific pack has attacked a dog or group of dogs (see maps below). Bear hunters are urged to exercise greater caution if they plan to train hounds or hunt bear with hounds near any caution area, especially if near an actual kill site. Table 1 contains a summary of the 2014 dog depredations by wolves with links to additional information and caution area maps.

As with other wild canids, wolves are very territorial and will guard their territories from other wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs. Wolves are probably most aggressive toward strange wolves and dogs at den and rendezvous sites when their pups are small, during the breeding season in January and February and when they are protecting a fresh kill. Wolf packs have pups in spring and then later will use rendezvous sites from mid May to late September, after the pups are big enough to leave their den. Adult wolves are very defensive of pups at rendezvous sites and will attack other predators, including dogs, that get too close to the rendezvous site or the pups. (What are rendezvous sites?)

A pack will use from two to three to as many as six or more rendezvous sites during the summer. The exact locations vary from year to year and throughout the summer. The sites are usually forest openings or edge areas, with lots of wolf tracks, droppings and matted vegetation. Move two or three miles from any rendezvous site, if possible, before releasing dogs. In addition, avoid releasing dogs at baits recently visited by wolves. When looking for bear sign at a bait, make sure to also look for wolf tracks. Be familiar with your own dog's tracks, so that you can distinguish it from any wolf tracks. If a specific bait site is receiving a lot of wolf use, discontinue using it until wolves have left and concentrate on an alternative bait site. Some hunters have had success with bells on dog collars to reduce wolf attacks, but some dogs with bells have been attacked by wolves.

Pet dogs

Although wolf attacks on pet dogs in residential areas are rare, they do occur and have increased in recent years. These types of attacks represent a special kind of wolf depredation to domestic animals. For additional guidance and information about protecting pet dogs and bear hounds from wolves, see guidance for hound and pet dog owners.

Dog depredations

Table 1. Dog depredations by wolves for 2014 (listed by date)
Depredation date County Dogs More information
1/1/2014 Clark 1 dog killed (Running Walker Cross, male, 8 yrs) Map/Information
1/18/2014 Price 1 dog killed (Beagle, female, 3 yrs) Map/Information
3/19/2014 Bayfield 1 dog killed (Walker, male, 2 yrs) Map/Information
6/23/2014 Bayfield 1 dog killed (Labrador, male, 7 yrs) Map/Information
7/13/2014 Iron 1 dog killed (Red Tick, female, 6 yrs) Map/Information
7/22/2014 Jackson 1 dog killed (Plott, female, 5 yrs) Map/Information
8/1/2014 Forest 1 dog killed (Plott, female, 4 yrs)
1 dog killed (Plott, female, 1 yrs)
1 dog injured (Plott, male, 4 yrs)
Map/Information
8/4/2014 Iron 1 dog killed (Plott, male, 6 yrs) Map/Information
8/9/2014 Iron 1 dog killed (Walker/Blue Tick, female, 4 yrs) Map/Information
8/15/2014 Price 1 dog killed (Plott, female, 1 yrs) Map/Information
8/17/2014 Price 1 dog killed (Black and Tan, male, 11 yrs) Map/Information

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Caution area maps and depredation information (in chronological order)

Caution areas are created to warn hunters and dog owners about wolf attacks that occur in hunting situations. Caution areas do not represent actual wolf territories but rather are delineated as a four-mile buffer surrounding the depredation site.

Clark County
On January 1, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a hound that was running coyotes in southern Clark County. The 8-year old Running Walker Cross was killed in Levis Township. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Price County
On January 18, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a three year old female beagle that was hunting snowshoe hares. The attack occurred southwest of Park Falls in Price County. The caution is a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Bayfield County
On March 19, Wildlife Services confirmed wolves killed a 2 year old Walker male hound that was pursuing coyotes. The attack occurred in the Town of Barnes, Bayfield County. The caution is a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Bayfield County
On June 23, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 7 year old black lab pet dog. The attack occurred in the Town of Cable in an area that is popular for hiking, mountain biking and dog walking. Dog owners are reminded that their dogs must be under their control and are not to allow them to pursue wildlife in northern Wisconsin from May 1 to June 30. This law, Ch. NR 10.07 [exit DNR], is intended to protect young wildlife in the woods at this time, but it also protects dogs from avoiding encounters with wolves, bears, or coyotes with young pups or cubs nearby.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Iron County
On July 13, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 6 year old Red Tick bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Anderson, Iron County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Jackson County
On July 22, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 5 year old Plott bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Knapp, Jackson County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Forest County
On August 1, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 4 year old Plott bear hound and a 1 year old Plott bear hound and injured a 4 year old Plott bear hound during the same training incident. The attack occurred in the Town of Popple River, Forest County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Iron County
On August 4, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 6 year old Plott bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Omro, Iron County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Iron County
On August 9, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 4 year old Walker/Blue Tick bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Mercer, Iron County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

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Price County
On August 15, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 1 year old Plott hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Ogema, Price County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

Back to Table

Price County
On August 17, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed an 11 year old Black and Tan bear hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Emery, Price County. The caution area shown on the map below is comprised of a four-mile buffer around the depredation site.

Click for a printable caution area map

Back to Table

Last revised: Monday August 18 2014