Friday, September 02, 2016

Causes unclear as wolves kill a record number of Wisconsin hunting hounds

The number of hunting hounds killed by wolves hit a record high of 28 so far this year, the Department of Natural Resources confirmed Tuesday. The state’s wolf population has grown while regulation of hunting dogs has been relaxed, but it’s not clear what factored into the increased dog deaths, said DNR large carnivore specialist David MacFarland. “It’s too early to say what’s causing it, or if it’s really a significant difference or not,” MacFarland said. “It could be just one pack being more aggressive than in the past.” The wolf population estimate this year is the highest yet for the endangered species, but little growth has occurred in northern areas where almost all of the dogs were killed, MacFarland said. Eleven of the 28 dogs killed this year, including four since Aug. 21, died in Bayfield County, according to DNR data. After a wolf attacks a dog being trained for hunting, there is a high probability of further attacks involving its pack, MacFarland said. The DNR tells hunters the farther they keep dogs from those packs, the lower the risk to their dogs...more

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