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Terror in Wolf Country

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LAST NOVEMBER,MONTANA officials dispatched a regular serial killer of a wolf, a 106-poundmale that had killed an estimated 120 sheep in Dawson, Garfield and McConecounties. Ranchers were on edge, wondering if their livestock would be next;many speculated it had to be more than one wolf, since so many sheep had beenkilled. However, Carolyn Sime, head of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks'wolf program, told the Billings Gazette, "We do think it was a single animal, and this chapter is closed."

Janet McNallyraises sheep in Pine County, Minn., and expanding wolf populations invaded herarea in 1991. During one week in May 1999, wolves gobbled 40 of her lambs.McNally discovered that a pack of some 23 wolves lived nearby. "The areawas just saturated with wolves," McNally says. "Our deer populationtook quite a hit, too."

Since then,McNally has invested in more guard dogs, nine of which protect her pastures. Asa result, wolf kills are way down, but at a cost. "I estimate that since 1991, I've spent nearly $36,000 keeping my flock safe from wolves," shesays. "Preventing wolf depredation is now my second-largest budget item,after feeding the flock." Her big fear? The return of a 20-plus wolf pack,unafraid of her dogs. "As I found out, a mega-pack can arrive on shortnotice," she says.

A WOLF ATTACK ISNO PICNIC

TWO FAMILIES HAD THE SHOCK of their lives at Ontario's Lake Superior Provincial Park in Canadalast September, when they were attacked by a lone wolf. The incidents occurredat the park's Katherine Cove, a favorite picnic and swimming area. A male wolfsuddenly appeared, clamped its jaws onto the tiny arm of a 3-year-old girl andtried to drag her away. Luckily, the girl's grandparents chased off thewolf.

The wild canine then headed down the beach toward Brenda Wright and her two young children, whohad just finished their lunches. With no warning, the wolf lunged at Wright's12-year-old son, ripping into his buttocks. It then bloodied his sister's scalpand slashed into the hands and legs of Brenda Wright as she attempted to protect her children.

"I was trying to fight [the wolf] off, and he grabbed my finger," Wright told the Globeand Mail. "I thought he pulled it off. Honest to God, it looks likehamburger meat." Park superintendent Bob Elliott shot the wolf shortlythereafter. Elliott told OL that the 73-pound male was relatively young andtested negative for rabies.

The park has seena steadily growing number of wolves in recent years. Elliott, an experiencedoutdoorsman, has even seen a few while he was out hunting as well. However, headds, no one had reported any wolf problems until the beach attacks.

As for why thewolf did it? "I don't think anyone can ever answer that," Elliottsays.

TIME TO DELIST

WISCONSIN HUNTER ROB STAFSHOLT watched from afar as the black bear crossed the road, followedclosely by Stafsholt's two baying hounds. As soon as the hounds reached theother side and dove into the thick forest, the baying stopped. Stafsholt rushedover to see what had happened to his dogs, but it was too late. Hishounds—12-year-old Chuck and 5-year-old Sadie—lay torn and bloody, victims of anorthern Wisconsin wolf pack.

"It was a veryemotional time," remembers Stafsholt, 30, of New Richmond. "You put allkinds of time and effort into trying to develop a good dog, and to have it alltaken away by a timber wolf? That's unacceptable."

Stafsholt, whosehounds were killed in August 2004, near Clam Lake, has had a good deal ofcompany. From 1986 through fall of 2006, northern Wisconsin timber wolveskilled 95 bear-hunting hounds. According to Adrian Wydeven, Department ofNatural Resources endangered-species biologist, the state has paid hunters justunder $200,000 for wolf-killed hounds.

"It's our single biggest expense for the [endangered species] fund," says Wydeven.With a population of between 465 and 500 wolves, Wisconsin has far exceeded the federal recovery goal of 350 wolves. But delisting takes a while.

"It's beingheld up for political reasons and by lawsuits, basically," says Stafsholt,who is a board member of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, "and not because of good, sound scientific data and reasons."

Comments (12)

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from Unseenkiller 1/18/2011 at 06:30pm

There are alot of them that need to be killed.Being reintroduced into areas they have never been before has caused alot of game animals to be killed since, there is no natural fear of these predators. Its like shooting fish in a barrel for the wolves

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from Uncle John 6/29/2010 at 12:18pm

A lottery hunt for wolves would work in problem areas, that should control them enough to work.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hbandrew@aim.com 5/8/2010 at 02:01pm

well it was a sick ill wolf if it was alone and lets wait like 4 months before getting wolf hunting back

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Browning_300 3/9/2010 at 02:24pm

The problem with these wolves are that the government introduced wolves native in Canada that were never found in the United states. They have decimated game and livestock everywhere they have been introduced. They need to be delisted and the population put back under control.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from I Will Take the... 3/8/2010 at 08:03pm

Conserve don't preserve. It would be nice to see some states offer a set amount of special permits for hunting wolves. At least that way there could be some population control going on, and some lessons on why they should fear and stay away from people. If we cant hunt them they have no reason to fear us.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sisu 2/17/2010 at 02:39pm

Three years ago, I wrote a research paper on de-listing the wolves; even then they had exceeded their population targets. I'm not suggesting that they don't have a right to be where they are, just that they're not an endangered population anymore based on the targets set when they were first listed, and the law should recognize their improved status. The wild is wild, it is dangerous, and wolves are a part of that. I think we got used to the forest as a serene place to take a nice stroll through the woods after they were originally exterminated; we need to remember that we're not the only predators in the forest, but we should be able to protect ourselves when we're out in it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor Pommier 10/12/2009 at 09:19pm

i beleive the wolfs should be delisted here in b.c there are tons of them my grandpa has never seen a wolf in his life. and he was a faller wgo spent his whole life in the bush i am only 16 and now i have seen 4 of em. and many are being killed now

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ffelker 9/30/2009 at 03:16pm

I woke up one morning this summer camping in the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin to hear wolves howling in 4 or 5 different directions, a single here, a pack there. I've found wolf scat 100 yards from my house. They say our wolf population in Wisconsin is well over 600 now, and I think the DNR has sadly undercounted again, just like they did the black bears. I don't take my dog for a walk in the woods unarmed (even though it's not legal to protect him). Time to delist.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from crazyiceman 8/14/2009 at 02:04pm

if you ask me they shoulda left em were they were not reintroduce them.i can see from a ranchers view because when you are making rounds in your livestock during calving season you more than likley covered in blood and dont need to worry about wolves when you are trying to take care of your stock.personaly there are more than enough scavengers out there to clean up winter kill.if they are so important than spay and nuter them so they could be maintained not run rampid.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from purplehead 3/11/2009 at 05:56pm

I agree with bpolavin that if there was a wolf attack in my neighborhood, on someone I care for , or even someone I can't stand, I would be all over my local government bodies to take action. Why should the game commision drag it's feet at the expense of public safety? Wolves taking a few sheep or deer that's what they do. I'm not calling for a bounty but SAFETY FIRST.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bpolavin 2/26/2009 at 10:34pm

Like most outdoorsmen I applaude the government when it makes decisions to protect and provide for specices to prosper instead of slip into our memories. But there has to be a line and time when that responsible action turns into irresponsibility. I am not sure the arguements that I have heard so often are right. Although, I sympathize with ranchers and hunters who have lost stock and companions, since the beginning of time the wilderness has been an unsafe place for the people and animals that spend time there. Shepherds have been protecting animals from wild animals forever, and outdoorsmen have been losing dogs to accidents, wounded and cornered animals as long as we have been using dogs in the woods. The issue is just that the wolves are back, they are maintaining healthy numbers and the time has come to begin to control their numbers within conservational, scientific protocols. The excuse that it takes time to delist them is weak and doesn't have legs anymore. If these wolves habitat was around capitols or DC I guarantee that they would be off long ago. Okay so that is a bit ridiculous as well. But you get my point.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Aaron1991 2/26/2009 at 09:35am

take em out & mow em down

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Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from bpolavin 2/26/2009 at 10:34pm

Like most outdoorsmen I applaude the government when it makes decisions to protect and provide for specices to prosper instead of slip into our memories. But there has to be a line and time when that responsible action turns into irresponsibility. I am not sure the arguements that I have heard so often are right. Although, I sympathize with ranchers and hunters who have lost stock and companions, since the beginning of time the wilderness has been an unsafe place for the people and animals that spend time there. Shepherds have been protecting animals from wild animals forever, and outdoorsmen have been losing dogs to accidents, wounded and cornered animals as long as we have been using dogs in the woods. The issue is just that the wolves are back, they are maintaining healthy numbers and the time has come to begin to control their numbers within conservational, scientific protocols. The excuse that it takes time to delist them is weak and doesn't have legs anymore. If these wolves habitat was around capitols or DC I guarantee that they would be off long ago. Okay so that is a bit ridiculous as well. But you get my point.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor Pommier 10/12/2009 at 09:19pm

i beleive the wolfs should be delisted here in b.c there are tons of them my grandpa has never seen a wolf in his life. and he was a faller wgo spent his whole life in the bush i am only 16 and now i have seen 4 of em. and many are being killed now

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from purplehead 3/11/2009 at 05:56pm

I agree with bpolavin that if there was a wolf attack in my neighborhood, on someone I care for , or even someone I can't stand, I would be all over my local government bodies to take action. Why should the game commision drag it's feet at the expense of public safety? Wolves taking a few sheep or deer that's what they do. I'm not calling for a bounty but SAFETY FIRST.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crazyiceman 8/14/2009 at 02:04pm

if you ask me they shoulda left em were they were not reintroduce them.i can see from a ranchers view because when you are making rounds in your livestock during calving season you more than likley covered in blood and dont need to worry about wolves when you are trying to take care of your stock.personaly there are more than enough scavengers out there to clean up winter kill.if they are so important than spay and nuter them so they could be maintained not run rampid.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sisu 2/17/2010 at 02:39pm

Three years ago, I wrote a research paper on de-listing the wolves; even then they had exceeded their population targets. I'm not suggesting that they don't have a right to be where they are, just that they're not an endangered population anymore based on the targets set when they were first listed, and the law should recognize their improved status. The wild is wild, it is dangerous, and wolves are a part of that. I think we got used to the forest as a serene place to take a nice stroll through the woods after they were originally exterminated; we need to remember that we're not the only predators in the forest, but we should be able to protect ourselves when we're out in it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from I Will Take the... 3/8/2010 at 08:03pm

Conserve don't preserve. It would be nice to see some states offer a set amount of special permits for hunting wolves. At least that way there could be some population control going on, and some lessons on why they should fear and stay away from people. If we cant hunt them they have no reason to fear us.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Browning_300 3/9/2010 at 02:24pm

The problem with these wolves are that the government introduced wolves native in Canada that were never found in the United states. They have decimated game and livestock everywhere they have been introduced. They need to be delisted and the population put back under control.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ffelker 9/30/2009 at 03:16pm

I woke up one morning this summer camping in the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin to hear wolves howling in 4 or 5 different directions, a single here, a pack there. I've found wolf scat 100 yards from my house. They say our wolf population in Wisconsin is well over 600 now, and I think the DNR has sadly undercounted again, just like they did the black bears. I don't take my dog for a walk in the woods unarmed (even though it's not legal to protect him). Time to delist.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hbandrew@aim.com 5/8/2010 at 02:01pm

well it was a sick ill wolf if it was alone and lets wait like 4 months before getting wolf hunting back

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Uncle John 6/29/2010 at 12:18pm

A lottery hunt for wolves would work in problem areas, that should control them enough to work.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Aaron1991 2/26/2009 at 09:35am

take em out & mow em down

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Unseenkiller 1/18/2011 at 06:30pm

There are alot of them that need to be killed.Being reintroduced into areas they have never been before has caused alot of game animals to be killed since, there is no natural fear of these predators. Its like shooting fish in a barrel for the wolves

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

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