This year's gun deer hunting season took a toll on Wisconsin's wolf population. The Department of Natural Resources says at least nine wolves were found shot after the gun deer season. Four of them were located because of radio collars used by the state to track parts of the population. The other five were reported to the DNR or found by wardens.
DNR mammal ecologist Adrian Wydeven says one hunter has turned himself in after shooting a wolf, while another hunter questioned by authorities believed they may have shot one. However, officials are trying to track down information on how the other wolves were shot.
Wydeven says a variety of circumstances lead to wolves being shot, but he believes most cases are accidental. The wolf population has been growing in the state, and that could lead to them turning up in areas where hunters aren't used to seeing them. Wydeven says at least one shooting may have been the result of a hunter accidentally shooting a wolf that was chasing a deer.
A reward fund has been set up to try and track down individuals who may have shot one of the protected animals. Hunters who kill a wolf face fines of up to $5,000, possible jail time, and a loss of hunting privileges. Those with information on a wolf killing are urged to contact the DNR.