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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.

Caution area map

Sample of a caution area map

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, which 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 near 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 2015 (listed by date)
Depredation date County Dogs More information
1/9/2015 Oconto 1 dog killed (Plott, female, 3 years)
1 dog injured (Plott, female, 1 year)
Map/Information
1/10/2015 Sawyer 1 dog killed (Walker, male, 6 years)
1 dog killed (Bluetick, male, 7 years)
Map/Information
1/10/2015 Bayfield 1 dog injured (Walker, male, 5 years) Map/Information
1/23/2015 Oconto 1 dog killed (Beagle, female, 2 years) 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.

Oconto County
On January 9, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a hound and injured a hound that were running coyotes. The attack occurred in the Town of Brazeau, Oconto 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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Sawyer County
On January 10, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a 6 year old Walker and a 7 year old Bluetick bobcat hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Hunter, Sawyer 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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Bayfield County
On January 10, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves injured a 5 year old Walker bobcat hound. The attack occurred in the Town of Barnes, Bayfield 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

Oconto County
On January 23, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a 2 year old female Beagle. The attack occurred in the Town of Breed, Oconto 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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Last revised: Monday January 26 2015