Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In the Field with Wolf Patrol...


...Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Deep in Wisconsin’s Wolf Caution Areas


A view of the Moquah Barrens Research Natural Area, 2015.

It truly was a beautiful weekend to be up in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. As Fall was making an appearance, WODCW accompanied Wolf Patrol on their final efforts to investigate Wisconsin’s black bear hunt. With our base camp set along the shore of Horseshoe Lake, we ventured out to monitor hound hunters running dogs on bears within wolf caution areas- known places where dogs have been killed by wolves as reported by DNR officials.
“Really the objective is to be seen.” Coronado stated.
And why is it necessary to monitor this legal form of hunting? It just so happens that 8 bear hounds have been killed by wolves while chasing bears within the national forest during this season’s bear hound hunt. Sadly, it’s not surprising these loose dogs cross paths with wolf packs that are raising pups, and naturally will protect their young.  These depredations make wolves a target of poaching by anti-wolf hunters in the area. It is hoped that the presence of Wolf Patrol deters any illegal activity from occurring, or that they may document any form of wrong-doing.

Rod Coronado checking a field camera while on patrol.
Rod Coronado checking a field camera while on patrol.

While patrolling the area surrounding Horseshoe Lake, we were also able to log numerous bear baits right within these wolf caution areas.  It’s easy to see how unregulated this hunting practice is, as Wolf Patrol has found over 30 bait sites strewn throughout these caution areas, filled with human junk foods.  Wolf Patrol will be including this data in a report requested by the U.S. Forest Service.

And remember, dogs are released on these bait sites that have been frequented by all types of wildlife- It’s no surprise the repercussions, for dogs and wolves alike.

The weekend revealed that while the bear hunt appeared to be winding down, hunters were still out and about with hounds and checking their baits.  Coronado explained that most bear hunters had probably tagged out, having gotten a bear in this year’s bear hunt.

In conclusion, Wolf Patrol has wrapped up their investigation of Wisconsin’s 2015 black bear hunt-

And don’t worry, they have more work to do.  Writers at Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin will be keeping you up to date as they continue forward.

If you missed the last interview with Wolf Patrol’s Rod Coronado, check it out here.

bear bait in wolf caution area
bear bait in wolf caution area
wolf track in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
wolf track in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

References
To learn more about Wolf Patrol, http://wolfpatrol.org
WI DNR Wolf Caution Areas, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/dogdeps.html

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