The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association is hoping the DNR’s plan to look into dog-wolf interactions will put the controversy to rest.
The DNR will ask wolf hunters this fall to let an expert examine a harvested wolf as its pelt is removed. The goal is to look for bite wounds that could be signs of fighting between dogs and wolves, a possibility which critics say makes wolf hunting with hounds unethical.
Al Lobner, President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, doesn’t think wolf hunting with hounds poses much risk for dogs. “I’d have to say that the opportunity for that is not there as much as during the July, August and September months when wolves eat hounds.”
Lobner says dogs are more at risk for getting killed by wolves when they’re focused on tracking bears and they won’t be on guard for potential predators.
DNR records show wolves have killed 22 dogs in Wisconsin this year, most of them bear hounds. Lobner says he’s hopeful that the registration option will clear up the controversy over wolf hunting with hounds, but he says he doubts it will convince all the skeptics.
Last year’s DNR analysis of 27 of the 35 wolves killed with the aid of dogs was inconclusive as to whether fighting had taken place.