DNR Introduces New Plan For Evaluating Possible Dog-Wolf Interactions

Plan Involves Asking Hunters To Let Wildlife Specialists Watch Them Skin Wolf Carcasses

Wolf hunting season will begin in October. Photo: Eric Kilby (CC-BY-SA).

The Department of Natural Resources has released a new voluntary plan for evaluating whether illegal dog-wolf interactions occur during wolf hunting season.

The plan involves asking all wolf hunters to let a trained evaluator watch them skin any animals they kill before they submit the pelt to the DNR. The state would then evaluate the wolf pelt within five days of it being killed to look for any evidence of a fight with a dog.

The plan is a response to criticisms made of the evaluation process following last year’s wolf hunting season. After the DNR examined about 27 wolf carcasses and declared that results were inconclusive, some people complained about how the wolf pelts had been removed and that too much time had passed between the wolves dying and the examinations.

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The DNR’s David MacFarland told the Natural Resources board on Wednesday that some hunters would likely refuse to participate in the new voluntary plan.

“My expectation would be that participation would be relatively modest,” said McFarland. “Essentially, we’d be asking somebody to let a wildlife services staff person sit in their garage with them while they skin this animal.”

MacFarland nevertheless said the process could be a pilot for a process that may be included in permanent wolf hunting rules later on.

The voluntary plan does not sit well with wolf advocate Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County, Wisconsin.

“They’re derelict of duty,” said Tilseth. “There’s been no attempt by the DNR to hold these wolf hunters accountable, and I’m appalled. It’s exactly like they’re just asking the fox to guard the hen house.”

The next Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season is slated to start Oct. 15, with a kill quota of 150 wolves.