October 26, 2010
Wolf tracking training sessions and ecology courses set
MADISON -- People interested in volunteering to locate timber wolves and other forest carnivores in the coming year can learn how to track wolves during a series of upcoming training sessions.
Volunteer trackers are assigned survey blocks in forest portions of northern and central Wisconsin, and are asked to conduct three or more surveys in their assigned block each winter. Data volunteers gather can be compiled to help Department of Natural Resources biologists in evaluating wolf populations.
Wolf and Carnivore Tracker Training sessions are scheduled:
Training sessions at Ashland and Babcock will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Applicants should register as soon as possible because space is limited. There is a small fee for the classes. Training run at Treehaven near Tomahawk will be held on Dec. 11-12 will be presented by world renowned tracker, Dr. James Halfpenny. Cost of the workshop has yet to be determined.
People interested in the training should register at least two weeks before each session.
In late winter 2010 DNR biologists estimated there were between 690 and 733 wolves in the state, including 655 or more outside Indian reservations. About one-third of the state packs are monitored by radio-telemetry, the remaining packs are monitored by DNR and volunteer trackers.
In 2010, 140 volunteer trackers surveyed 78, 200-square-mile survey blocks covering 7,055 miles of snow-covered roads and trails. Volunteers averaged 4.2 surveys per block, and detected more than 363 different wolves.
The volunteer carnivore tracking program is critical for us to obtain accurate counts of the state wolf population," said Adrian Wydeven, DNR mammal ecologist who coordinates the state wolf program. "These surveys will continue to be important for long-term management of wolves and other forest carnivores in Wisconsin."
Volunteers are helpful in other ways, Wydeven said. Last fall, several volunteers conducted hunter outreach in the field and made contacts with deer hunters across several northern counties. During the spring volunteers helped with wolf trapping, radio collaring, donations of radio collars, and howl surveys as well as staffing educational booths at sport shows and other events.
Volunteers are also strongly encouraged to take a wolf ecology course if they have not done so already, and biologists recommend taking the ecology course before signing up for track training workshops. Wolf ecology courses will be offered next year on the following dates at the locations listed:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven - (715) 762-1363