DNR Asks Trappers to Report Wolves Caught By Mistake

Oct 5, 2014

If you’re a trapper…the DNR wants to hear about it when you accidentally capture a wolf.

Credit Derek Bakken

DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says if you trap a wolf without meaning to and without a wolf harvest permit, it can be a convenient time for the DNR to put a radio collar on that wolf. 

“We tend not to trap in the fall, because we don’t want to be competing with all the other people who are out doing recreational trapping. But this does provide us with an opportunity to cooperate with our trapping community, to get some collars out on those animals that they’re incidentally capturing.”

MacFarland says collaring wolves is expensive, but it’s an important method for monitoring wolves. 

He says most people who capture a wolf by accident will be hoping to trap coyote.

“The equipment that’s used and the technique that’s used are very similar between the two species, and the species themselves are very similar.  We will occasionally have individuals who are targeting bobcat or other species capture a wolf, but the vast majority are coyote trapping.” 

Coyote trappers largely use foothold traps.  They’re the same ones that department researchers use, and MacFarland says they’re designed to cause minimal injury. 

The DNR currently tracks between 35 and 40 wolves using radio collars. 

For those with a wolf hunting permit, the wolf hunting and trapping season opens October 15th.