Wisconsin DNR

Driving west out of Merrill on Highway 64 you’ll notice large breaks in the forest give way to farmlands.

Every couple of miles you come across big barns with tall silos. Cows and horses graze in large pens right along the highway.

One of those farms belongs to Ryan Klussendorf.

“I was born and raised on a dairy farm," said Klussendorf. 

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin wildlife officials estimate the number of wolves in the state has increased by about 13% from last year.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that surveys put the overwinter population between 1,034 to 1,057 wolves. The 2018-19 estimate was 914 to 978 wolves. The number of packs detected increased from 243 to 256.

The agency believes that based on modeling the actual wolf population is 1,195 wolves.

Wolf Pups Born on Isle Royale National Park

Sep 15, 2020
National Park Service

Wolf pups are roaming Isle Royale National Park for the first time in at least five years.

The park has been working to rebuild the wolf population after researchers found only two wolves in 2015.

“There was a lot of concern at that point that the wolves were not able to reproduce and that the top predator in the ecosystem would be gone from the land scape. That would be bad for the entire ecosystem,” said Isle Royale National Park Public Information Officer Liz Valencia.

In 2018 and 2019, the park brought in 19 wolves to island.

National Park Service

A bill to de-list the gray wolf from federal endangered species protection is likely to make it into a large spending bill before Congress.

During a town hall meeting in Rhinelander Friday, Congressman Sean Duffy was asked about the bill which he authored which would return wolf management to the states.

The bill passed the U.S. House, but Duffy said it is unlikely to make it through the Senate...

pixabay.com Wilda3

This week was a hearing in Madison on a bill to strip the DNR of funding to manage wolves, with the exception of paying out for wolf predation.

The developers of the legislation, including State Senator Tom Tiffany,(R-Hazelhurst) feel it's a way to prod the federal government into taking action to de-list the wolves from federal endangered species protections, returned to those protections by federal courts.

Martin Mecnarowski

Frustration with Congressional inactivity to delist timber wolves in this region from the federal Endangered Species List has led a group of state legislators to propose a bill that would end the state’s efforts to manage wolves. It would force law enforcement to ignore wolf killings, unless the federal government removes the animals from the list.

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst and Representative Mary Felzkowski of Irma are among the legislators circulating the bill.With the exception of paying out wolf damage payments, no other DNR enforcement action would be allowed.


A DNR wildlife biologist is asking trappers, who incidentally capture wolves, to contact department staff and participate in Wisconsin's wolf collaring and monitoring program.

The DNR's Nathan Libal says the capture will help the DNR....


Survey work over the winter by the DNR shows the wolf population has grown.

Monitoring efforts over the winter found a count of 925-956 wolves in 232 packs, a 6.8 percent increase from the previous winter.

DNR large carnivore specialist David MacFarland in Rhinelander says the wolf population fluctuates...


A spokesperson for the state chapter of the Humane Society of the United States says they're disappointed in last week's action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about wolf classification.

Wolf Population Increases By Thirteen Percent

Jun 11, 2015
Brooks Tracy / USFWS

Despite about a hundred and fifty wolves taken in a wolf hunt last winter, Wisconsin’s wolf population has increased. 

Preliminary numbers from the state DNR have put last winter’s population between 746 and 771 wolves.

That’s a thirteen percent increase from the year before, when numbers were as low as 660.    

Carnivore Specialist Dave Macfarland says the number is on the upper end of what biologists expected when they set a hunting quota last year. 


U.P. Wolf Group Questions Michigan DNR Motives

Mar 2, 2015

Michigan has joined the federal government in appealing a judge's ruling that re-classified grey wolves as an endangered species. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled in December that wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan should not have been removed from the endangered list. Michigan's D-N-R said residents who have to live with the wolves deserve a full range of tools to manage them, while keeping the population sustainable.

Derek Bakken

In his continuing series, "Wildlife Matters", DNR biologist Jeremy Holtz says sometimes good intentions don't always end up with the best results.

Next time, Jeremy will be talking about turkeys surviving our long, cold winter.


A new report finds that female coyotes can give birth to mixed wolf-coyote pups. The study could have implications in the debate regarding placing wolves on the endangered species according to one researcher.

Three groups, including the U.S. Geological Society did the research.

U.S. G. S.'s Dr. David Mech says the study adds a bit of information to an on-going debate among geneticists about whether eastern gray wolves are a unique species from it's western U.S. counterpart....

Wolves, Cougars and Bears, Oh My

Jan 7, 2014

Dave MacFarland is a large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin DNR.  He coordinates the state’s wolf and bear management plan, plus its cougar response team.  

He’s also the guest at this week’s Science on Tap discussion at the Minocqua Brewing Company.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with him about what carnivore management looks like in the state.  


20 hunting dogs have been killed since July as they come into contact with wolves.

Typically, the dogs are trained to hunt bear in July and August. During that time, the dogs are in the woods and come into contact with wolves who have young, especially near what are called rendezvous sites.

DNR Large Carnivore Specialist David MacFarland says the depredation numbers are up...