Study: Midwest Wolves Avoid Humans

A Wisconsin study demonstrates a model showing that wolves are least abundant where there are roads or agriculture.  Road density and ag land good predictor of wolf presence (or absence, as is the case).

[Wisconsin] Wolves are lying low JSOnline







  1. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    You can hunt bears with dogs in Wisc. and sometimes people get their underwear in knots because wolves kill very expensive bear hunting dogs. Justice is done?

    Sport hunting? Dogs wearing a radio collar tree bear. Hunter using electronic gear locate dog and shoot bear while bear sits on tree branch 10-35 yards away. Classic example of shooting a sitting duck.

    Don’t forget that practice runs for hunters & dogs are allowed in late summer/early fall when bears are trying to pack on the calories needed to survive winter, and cubs are still small and vulnerable. What great sport for the hunters!!!! Not so much fun for cubs that fall behind and get ripped apart alive by a pack of dogs.

  2. Mike Avatar

    Most of those guys follow their dogs via eletronic tracking while drinking beer and driving their trucks on the logging roads. I kid you not.

  3. Jim from Wisconsin Avatar
    Jim from Wisconsin

    It’s because of those lazy goons who hunt with dogs that many wolves get put down! Hunters who lose dogs in Wisconsin are putting up the most fuss just like the cattle people in the Rocky Mtn States. Plus, deer hunters who spend the whole time drinking – have to actually stumble around more because the deer are on the move and have changed some of their habits since the wolves have returned. The bear hunters lose dogs and blame the wolves – hopefully enough dogs will be killed where they rethink the laws and get rid of the practice of hunting with dogs. And they call that a sport?? I can’t wait for this year’s stats showing how many dogs were killed as well as how many of the drunken idiots fall out of their tree stands and/or shoot themselves or their friend!! Hunting in Wisconsin generates a lot of revenue and we’ve got all of these drunken fools lobbying for wolf hunts, etc. Most of them believe that the only good wolf is a dead wolf! At least many of the people who have cows have been educated on ways to prevent wolf depradations and there doesn’t seem to be as big of an outcry from them as there is from the lazy hunters. Plus, the northern parts of Wisconsin where the wolves are – don’t have as many cows as in the southern half of the state – there isn’t the cattle conflict like in the Rockies.

    I was just in the Northern Nicolet Forest this past week and heard wolves howling most nites. It is a great sound and enhances the feeling and spirit of being out in the “wild.” I just hope the drunken, lazy hunter “lobby” doesn’t interfere too much in the future of the wolves. Overall, I do think people here are a little more tolerant of the wolves than in the Rockies and the land of “Big Cattle.” Big difference between educating people for peaceful coexistance versus coexistance through extermination!!

    Mike…. I’ve seen hunters driving down logging roads with guns out the window trying to shoot squirrels in route to wherever they were going! I try to avoid the north woods during hunting season – it’s dangerous for anything that moves!!! Hunting in Wisconsin is just a good reason to get away from the wife and kids, get drunk with your buddies and get kicks from shooting anything from beer cans to tree limbs and the occasional fool that just got too close!!! HA!!!

  4. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Deer hunting season is holy week. I grew up in Wisconsin, and deer hunting is religion. The traditional deer hunt runs for 9 days during thanksgiving week. Weekend, Mon, Tues. Wed, Thanksgiving day, Fri, Sat. Sun. I’m so old I can remember that when I was a kid, some schools didn’t close during deer season. That was silly, because most people pulled their boys out of school to go deer hunting. Eventually, school boards gave up and just closed school during deer season. My sister taught elememtary ed. her whole adult life. Teachers call deer season “holy week.”

    I remember my father and I meeting the rest of our hunting party for a pre-dawn breakfast at a local tavern before going hunting. Sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, and a few boiler makers before heading out for a safe hunt.

  5. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Wow, lots of cliches being thrown around here. Yep, I’m sure there’s plenty of lazy drunken goons who “hunt” — with or without dogs.

    I’ve never been on a hound hunt myself, but I’ve had the fortune of meeting people who do it the old-fashioned, hard way. Even with electronic collars, you can’t be a drunken, lazy slob and keep up with a pack of hounds chasing a bear or cat through deadfall and snow — up and down steep slopes — for hours on end. Maybe in the Midwest, there are enough logging roads to allow of a beer-drinkin’, squirrel-blastin’ ride in da truck to da bear. But I met one guy in Colorado who followed his hounds for seven hours on foot in the snow to get to a treed cat — which he shot with a long bow. Then he had to hump it several miles back to town — because he’d gone so far, town was actually closer than his truck.

    The point is, don’t judge everything according to sterotypes. Sometimes, the sterotypes here remind me of how some guys on the more redneckish huntin’ forums say those who support wolves are just all latte-sipping pinkos from Chicago and places like that, who think nature looks like a Disney movie.

  6. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Hal 9000 it is hard for people to continue to support hunting when the hard working honest hunter is not the one who makes the news. Here in Washington State a 14 year old bear hunter just shot a woman hiker on a trail
    This will do more damage to hunters causes than anything. It won’t just be the latte-sipping pinkos who object. . . hey I think I saw a bear hunter ordering a triple mocha at the drive in espresso place just yesterday!!

  7. Peter Kiermeir Avatar
    Peter Kiermeir

    …….shot the treed cat with a long bow.
    Why? Does superhero eat cats?

  8. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Yes, I agree that hunters can be their own worst enemies. My point is, judging by some of the stereotypes, clichés and insults being dragged out here, enviros can be just as good at shooting themselves in the foot. I think the rift between hunters and enviros is ultimately quite silly, because we all have common roots and at least should have common goals. Aldo Leopold was a hunter, after all. I don’t see it as an “either/or” situation. I like to say about myself that I’m an environmentalist because I’m a hunter, and a hunter because I’m an environmentalist.
    I’m also familiar with the story about the tragedy in Washington state. From what I can tell, the one to blame is the irresponsible adult (I think it was a Grandpa) who dropped that kid off to hunt in an area known to have heavy public use and with nobody else to supervise him but another teenager. But again, you’re right, such carelessness and stupidity will do more to damage hunting than PETA ever could.

    I don’t know if the guy eats cougars. Some people actually do. I had cougar meat at a wild game dinner once. I thought it was hideous, but apparently some folks like it. My point is, I can respect a guy who puts the time into raising and training hounds, mastering a long bow and who is willing to hump it in the dead of winter through the roughest country in Colorado for seven hours straight in order to get a shot at a cat. Personally, I have no desire to hunt bears or cats myself. I’ll stick with deer, elk and birds, because I see no point in shooting something I’m not going to eat. But I’m also open-minded enough to respect people who do things the right way, the hard way – even if it’s something I don’t personally have an interest in doing. I think there is a place for honest, fair chase predator hunting – including wolf hunting. As a member of the hunting community, I agree that too many hunters are far too ignorant of, disrespectful toward and reactionary about large predators. But that does not mean every guy who hunts predators is some drunken jerk. Just because I have no personal interest in something doesn’t mean I’m going to make a bunch of nasty assumptions about the people who do it.

  9. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Hal 9000 you seem to be the kind of hunter who I sometimes agree to go track for. I don’t hunt myself because I just don’t like guns but I do eat meat and think wild meat is better. I do however, hunt all the time for photographs and just to see wildlife. For that reason I have studied old fashioned tracking for years and although I am a advocate for leaving predators alone I think we agree on most things. Vicki who posts here often is an advocate for consensus and bridging gaps between hunters and latte- sipping whatevers. (Correct me Vicki if I am wrong) and I feel she has a point. If hunters and the latte crowd don’t find some common ground the environment will suffer as we are the ones who care. If we can work together, we could do a great deal. . just need to keep people from splitting hairs over little personal preferences and look at the whole picture.

  10. Jon Way Avatar

    I think the big issue is what kind of hunting. Many people have an appreciation for people that hunt deer and rabbit and eat them. But then the extreme hunters who want to shoot and kill predators, like coyotes and wolves, sometimes just to kill them is where the divide often begins.
    Also, in current wildlife management, wildlife watchers (some being hunters) have no say in wildlife management and, for instance, I have to hope that the animal that I live watching doesn’t get shot. If wildlife watchers had more say and the extreme hunter (e.g., allowing an unlimited wolf hunting season in most of Wyoming, or coyotes in just about every state), who doesn’t value each species and their role in the environemnt, had less say, then I predict that gap would be closed (at least a little) between “enviros” and hunter…. But that won’t happen until state wildlife boards change their membership to include others besides extreme pro-hunting rednecks.

  11. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Jon that makes sense. Yesterday I found the US Fish and Wildlife national survey in 2006 that said there are 71 million people who consider themselves wildlife watchers, 12.5 hunters, and 21.5 who are fisherman. I am sure there is overlap in those people, for instance most fisherman also like to watch animals. I hope there is a way that 71 million people get their say soon.

  12. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Hunting issues aside, it’s worth noting that wolves are not much of a problem for dairy farmers with cows penned up on tiny plots of private land in Wisc., while cattle ranchers in the West want the world to believe that wolves are the end of the world for their Herefords roaming free on public land. If wolves eating cattle on public lands out west really is the problem, maybe the solution to the problem is to get cattle off public land and onto private (deeded) land.

    Without cattle destroying public land in Wisc. and the midwest, other wildlife thrives, and wolves have plenty to eat without going after cows on private land. Duh.

  13. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Public lands grazing is facing eroding support/tolerance in many quarters, including among hunters.

    Linda, I agree, it’s a rift that needs to be healed, because hunters and “enviros” have many common interests we might all stand to lose if we don’t work more together. I think there’s way more overlap between hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and environmentalists than many want to recognize.

    As for lattes, if I wasn’t so derned hyper-sensitive to caffine, I’d probably indulge in them myself.

  14. dave smith Avatar
    dave smith

    Hunters and conservationists do have common ground, but among other problems, hunters are anti-wolf, anti-grizzly, pro-ORV, and I’m not sure there’s really a way to work around that. Pick up any hook & bullet magazine, and the #1 advertising is from ORV pimps. You’d think it was impossible to go hunting or fishing without a $7999 ORV and $9573 worth of accessories. Funny, hunters and fishermen got along fine without ORVs until the 1970s/1980s. Now these toys for tots are seen as a necessity.

  15. HAL 9000 Avatar
    HAL 9000

    Not always so, Dave.
    I’m so dead set against ORV’s I even recognize my own sentiments as extreme. If I were king of the world, only ranchers who really used them for work would be allowed to own the blinkin’ things.

    I think you would be surprised at the number of hunters who don’t really like them, and who don’t think much of “road hunters” who can’t seem to live without them.

    As I recall, it was hunters who led the charge to have them scaled back in Idaho a few years ago. I recall one letter to the editor from a disgusted hunter who took his kid on his first hunt for elk.. pulled a long, hard stalk, only to have it blown at the last second by some Yayhoo buzzing over the ridge on a quad. I’ve heard similar sentiments from many hunters. They don’t like jerks on noisy toys blowing things for them.

  16. Peter Kiermeir Avatar
    Peter Kiermeir

    In my very own philosophy I fully accept hunting when you eat what you hunt. I myself, thus not a hunter, do enjoy delicious wild boar, deer, things like that. I buy from my favourite local forester. Quite many animals, the dogs, the cats, the bears featuring prominently amongst them, I consider not edible, maybe for ethical or cultural reasons only, I don´t know. This also, at least for me, disqualifies them for hunting, because I consider this “ego hunting” (blow the live out of a bear just because you can) arrogant and disgusting. And, I admit I, am quite intolerant in this case. If asked to what cultural area has cats on the menue (ok, not your average pet cat, cougar at least) I would have without hesitation quoted Asia, to be more precise “China”. I admit, I would never have guessed “America”, thus I already knew that some consider the paws and ham of bears a delicacy!

  17. JB Avatar

    The problem is that we use the term “hunter” to refer to a great variety of people. The stereotype simply doesn’t fit. For instance, I know people who ONLY hunt deer with a muzzleloader and others who ONLY hunt with a bow. These folks are vastly different from the stereotypical, lazy give-me-my-game-on-a-leash, road-hunter. For instance, the study I was involved with found that hunters were largely split on the issue of wolves: as many supported wolves as opposed them. The point is that hunters DO NOT speak with one voice, despite what SFW tries to tell us, and therefore should not be painted with a broad brush.

    Many of the lazy ‘cabela queen’ variety of hunters seem to believe that hunting is a “right.” In reality, hunting is a privilege granted by the state, who manages game for the benefit of all its citizens…well, theoretically anyway.

  18. Jim from Wisconsin Avatar
    Jim from Wisconsin

    I just heard this morning that “officials” are now working on establishing a wolf hunt in Wisconsin. That’s all I heard and will try to find out more. I just hope they all learned something from what went on in Wyoming, etc. recently. Maybe they will allow them to hunt with dogs!! At least then the wolves would have a good meal before they get shot. …. Depressing news!!

  19. Moose Avatar

    I thought folks here might find these words from the head of Mich.’s DNR interesting (she’s speaking of implementing Mich Wolf Management Plan):

    The plan shifts away from the old focus of recovering an endangered species to facilitating a safe coexistence between humans and a growing wolf population.

    DNR Director Rebecca Humphries says, “As you have wolf packs, we want to make sure that you’re keeping that hierarchy intact–family units–so that wolves that are having young wolves are teaching them in terms of prey species that are appropriate.”

    Here’s a link to the ‘article’

  20. JB Avatar


    What a difference in rhetoric between Michigan and the Western states! Maybe agencies in the Midwest learned something from watching western wildlife management agencies fall on their face using the “cowboy approach.”



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Brian Ertz