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Energy & Environment

DNR says wolf activity in western Oneida County constitutes human health and safety concern

DNR wolf incident map.PNG
Screenshot of the DNR's Interactive Wolf Depredation Threats Map. This resource shows locations of wolf depredation and threat conflicts verified between 2013 and the present.

Earlier this fall, a landowner reached out to USDA Wildlife Services with concerns about wolves near his property.

The person lives near a cranberry marsh, surrounded by forests.

He felt the wolves were getting a little to close and comfortable around his property.

DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Randy Johnson said the USDA told the man to put up trail cameras to document the wolves.

“[He] was able to document multiple wolves in close proximity to the residents to the outbuildings. There’s folks coming and going, working on the farm, in the marsh. Wildlife services were contacted again. Went out and conducted a site visit to verify this,” said Johnson.

Johnson said wildlife services documented numerous wolf tracks in view of the house and near the shop buildings.

It was enough evidence for the DNR to a human health and safety complaint.

“That’s what classifies this then as a confirmed human health safety complaint is essentially the repeated wolf activity that’s in close proximity to people and activity,” said Johnson. “We get a handful of these each year and the definition is rather broad.”

Johnson wanted to be clear that the wolves have not attacked anyone or anything of that nature.

Cases of wolves attacking humans is extremely rare.

“It’s never been recorded in modern history in Wisconsin. I believe there’s one account of it occurring in Minnesota,” he said.

A teen was bit by a wolf in 2013, he survived but needed 17 staples in his head.

For the incident in Cassian, Johnson said the landowner can now get a permit to lethally remove the wolves.

At the time of the interview, Johnson didn’t know if the person had applied or been approved for the permit yet.

“Each permit, there can be some specific conditions, there’s usually specific conditions, but generally speaking I would authorize the removal of a specific number of wolves from the specific property within whatever specified timeframe is on that,” he said.

Johnson said the landowner has done everything correct with this wolf interaction.

If you have wolves that you think are a problem on your property, you can report them to USDA wildlife services. In northern Wisconsin, you can call 1-800-228-1368 or 715-369-5221. In southern Wisconsin, call 1-800-433-0663 or 920-324-4514.

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