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DNR Asks Hunters to Register Wolves With Pelts On

Derek Bakken

The Wisconsin DNR wants to gather more information about wolves killed in the wolf hunt this winter.  The Natural Resources Board heard about a new voluntary plan for wolf registration Wednesday.

The DNR plans to ask hunters and trappers to register their wolves before they are skinned…so department experts can look for signs of bite wounds.

The state Natural Resources Board wants to see more analysis of whether wolf hunting with hounds can lead to illegal fighting between dogs and wolves. 

As DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland explains, telltale signs of potential fighting are lost when the pelt is removed. 

“Last year the board directed the department to evaluate the carcasses of wolves that were taken during the hound hunting portion of the season. And we did so – however the condition of the carcasses when we received them prevented thorough evaluation.”

After last winter’s wolf hunt the DNR examined 27 out of 35 wolves killed with the aid of dogs.  The agency found no clear evidence of wolves and dogs fighting, but said there wasn’t enough information to tell for sure.   

MacFarland says the department is interested in evaluating wolves killed both during and outside of the hound hunting season…in order to compare the incidence of bite marks. 

“Wolves and dogs are physiologically very similar. Wolves can be aggressive to one another. And so it’s possible that the wolf population outside of the hunting process has similar wounds.”

Registering wolves before the pelts are removed will be voluntary for hunters and trappers. 

MacFarland says those who agree to register their wolves in the new way will have the option of skinning the wolves themselves or using a taxidermist.  

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