The "Y-pole" for handling difficult dogs and wild canids

Many people don’t like to see the use of snare poles on dogs, coyotes or wolves who are cornered but difficult to handle. Dr. Mark. R. Johnson, DVM has developed a more effective and humane device, the “Y-pole.”

This pole mimics the kind of force (mostly psychological) that influences a canid by others of its pack.

Dr. Johnson explained its use at the Chico Wolf Conference, and I thought it useful to bring to folks’ attention. He kindly gave us a pdf file on the new device.

The Y-pole





  1. sal Avatar

    Mark has developed, and helped develop, numerous techniques and devices for handling canids over the years. He always keeps the psychological well-being of the animals in mind.

    We should be so conscientious in our policies concerning wild things.

  2. JB Avatar

    They’ve been using similar devices at the Millville research station (run by WS) for years (at least since 2002) to handle coyotes. Not sure if they were produced by WS or ordered through some other manufacturer?

  3. Salle Avatar

    The likelihood of WS “developing” anything that takes consideration of the animal into account is pretty slim.

    Chances are, they got this tool from Mark. SOME ethical wildlife officers at WS, Rick Williamson for instance, have worked with Mark over the years, thus the remark about helping develop some of the tools and techniques.

    I believe Dr. Johnson was involved with the reintroduction, post-reintroduction monitoring and engaged in finding better ways to handle the wolves than the techniques in use at the time.

  4. Bego Avatar

    second to what sal wrote.

    I have worked with Dr. Johnson and used his y-poles and seen him use them. very effective and humane when done the way he’s done it and instructed others how to.

  5. Jay Avatar

    Yeah, and I invented the internet…JB is correct, the Y-pole is not a newly invented tool.

  6. Bego Avatar

    “Yeah, and I invented the internet…JB is correct, the Y-pole is not a newly invented tool.”

    don’t think anyone is seriously claiming Dr. J. invented the very first Y-pole.

  7. JB Avatar

    “The likelihood of WS “developing” anything that takes consideration of the animal into account is pretty slim.”

    This kind of statement reveals and extreme bias. You seem to be suggesting that WS is incapable of doing any good? I don’t agree with their all of their methods, but I separate the method endorsed by the agency from the people on the ground. There are a lot of good people that work for APHIS/WS.

  8. JB Avatar

    Sorry, meant to say, “…reveals an extreme bias.”

  9. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I watched a National Geographic movie on Siberian Tigers many years ago, where Russian hunters used Y-poles cut from aspens to pin down a young Siberian Tiger. Maybe the folks at WS watched the same movie.

  10. cowboy the cat Avatar
    cowboy the cat

    any videos on this products affectiveness with aggressive animals?

  11. Heard Enough Avatar
    Heard Enough

    Wildlife Services developed Radio-Activated Guard units- which have potential to reduce depredations. They also were trying fladry early on; though they obviously didn’t “invent” this techniqe. Unfortunate that they seemingly have gone away from these useful tools in favor of strictly lethal control. Hey Mack.

  12. Mark Avatar

    I am glad to see there is discussion on the Y pole and I thank Ralph and Salle for posting this information. I offer my comments to hopefully clear a few things up.

    I did not invent the Y pole. I learned about the Y pole from Peggy Callahan of the Wildlife Science Center who knows canid behavior and canids as much as anyone I have met. Up until recently, there was no manufacturer for the Y pole. It has only been “home-made” and over the years I provided specifications for people so they could make this valuable tool themselves.

    But whether it is new or not is not the important point. People who care about how animals, especially canids, are handled should readily promote this tool for animal shelters and wolf research programs for captive facilities. It replaces most uses of the snare pole and involves much less force upon the animal by using it’s instincts to submit. For those canids who do not submit, it can distract the animal long enough to use a syringe pole to anesthetize it. There are many more ways it can be used. It is also an essential tool for spay/neuter programs for feral dogs.

    Feel free to bring questions forward. And I hope that along the way we always strive to speak words that are kind and respectful of all people. If we are striving to make the world a better place, it must start with this.


    Ed. note. This is from Mark Johnson, DVM. Global Wildlife Resources.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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