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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

If in fact the 8750 surveys mailed to Wisconsin residents truly represent an accurate cross-section of the population there, then the 55% response IN FAVOR OR KEEPING 660 OR MORE WOLVES(CURRENT ESTIMATE IS 660--PRE SETTLEMENT ESTIMATE OF 3-5000 WOLVES CALLING WISCONSIN HOME) ROAMING THE STATE IS A RESOUNDING WIN FOR THIS TROPHIC CANID........And with the Wisconsin survey weighted 87% residents living in Wolf country and 13% residents living outside of Wolf country, that 55% in favor of keeping the current Wolf population intact is a minimum IN FAVOR OF %(as most of the population of Wisconsin lives outside Wolf country).............As I often say to my colleagues at work after I complete my end of a project,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"BALL TO YOU" WISCONSIN DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES----NOW LETS SEE YOU REVISE A WOLF MANAGEMENT PLAN THAT IS IN TUNE WITH YOUR CONSITUENTS ARE CALLING FOR

Wolf survey finds support for animals

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Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
August 31, 2014
WAUSAU—The primary challenge of modern wildlife management is not related to wildlife. It has to do with people.
Aldo Leopold, one of our guiding lights in conservation, was wearied during the Wisconsin deer wars of the mid-20th century.
An aphorism from that era is often expressed as: “Deer management is easy. People management is tough.”

As the decades have proved, good resource management must take into account social and biological data.
Human dimensions of wildlife conservation is increasingly acknowledged as a leading field of science.
It’s a study of how people’s knowledge, values and behaviors influence and are affected by decisions about wildlife and natural resources.
But the social component can’t be just a selection of comments or opinions. If you listen only to the people who yell loudest or who turn up at a meeting or have privileged access to decision-makers, you’re not likely to get a true representation of public sentiment.
Social science must be just as rigorous and well-designed as any biological study.
The field of human dimensions of wildlife took center stage this week in Wisconsin—in a good way.
On Tuesday, the Department of Natural Resources released “Public Attitudes towards Wolves and Wolf Management in Wisconsin.”
The report detailed results of a 2014 mail survey of Wisconsin residents.
The survey was designed and conducted by DNR social scientists Bob Holsman, Natalie Kaner and Jordan Petchenik.
The DNR sent 7,150 surveys to residents in wolf range and 1,600 to households outside wolf range. Fifty-nine percent were returned.
The survey set out to measure public opinion about wolves and wolf management among state residents.

The information is available just in time as the agency works to update its wolf management plan. It is scheduled to have a draft plan available for public comment this fall and a final plan to the Natural Resources Board in early 2015.
What should be in the plan? How should wolves, which have recovered over the last four decades, be managed?
Perhaps no issue reveals as wide a range of opinions in Wisconsin as wolf management.
Since the Legislature quickly passed a 2012 law creating a hunting-and-trapping season for wolves, the DNR has worked to push wolf numbers down. The target: a 350-animal goal listed in a 1999 management plan.
Is that what the public wants?
The public-attitudes survey provides the DNR with the best wolf information it has ever had at its disposal.
Among survey respondents in wolf range, 53 percent wanted wolf numbers maintained at current levels or increased in their county of residence, while 18 percent wanted wolves decreased and 15 percent wanted them eliminated.
This portion of the survey is critical since residents of wolf range live with depredation issues. When more than half of local residents want wolf numbers held steady or even increased in their county, the level of support for wolves is high.
Outside of wolf range, 56 percent wanted wolf numbers maintained or increased statewide.
At the time the survey was administered, Wisconsin had a minimum of 660 wolves, according to the DNR.
If the DNR produces a wolf plan that sticks to the old goal of 350, it can expect—and it will deserve—a public outcry.
Another aspect of the survey is notable: Most state residents support a “public wolf harvest.”
Forty percent supported a hunting-and-trapping season as a tool for reducing the wolf population, 26 percent supported the season as long as it can be sustainable, 21 percent opposed the season and 17 percent were undecided.
The agency deserves credit for taking on such a large-scale, sophisticated survey. If you don’t think 59 percent response rate on 8,750 surveys is high, check the next political poll you hear quoted. Its sample size will likely be less than 1,000.

The DNR budgeted about $70,000 for the work, said Holsman, whom the DNR hired in 2013. He previously worked for UW-Stevens Point.
The agency gets a tip-of-the-cap also for doing work that could have—and did—produce a rebuke to its plan to reduce wolves to 350.
Wisconsin residents have apparently adjusted to wolves in the post-delisting era. A majority of the public supports a regulated wolf harvest and a wolf population at least as large as it has this year.
Armed with perhaps the best human dimensions research ever conducted in Wisconsin, it is now the DNR’s job to make the updated wolf management plan reflect the public’s views.
- See more at:
History, Population Growth, and Management
of Wolves in Wisconsin
Adrian P. Wydeven, Jane E. Wiedenhoeft, Ronald N. Schultz ,
Richard P. Thiel , Randy L. Jurewicz , Bruce E. Kohn , and

Timothy R. Van Deelen

The gray wolf has exhibited a remarkable recovery in Wisconsin during the late
twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, despite a common belief during the
mid-1900s that the state was no longer wild enough to support populations of large
predators such as gray wolves.

 In some ways, Wisconsin seems like an unlikely
place for wolves to have recovered. The state’s nickname, “America’s Dairyland,”
reflects the abundance of livestock farming. Wisconsin has over 3.3 million cattle and
over 5.5 million people in a land area of 140,663 km 2 . Roughly half the state is forest,
and in 2002, 46% was classified as farmland (Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
2003) . Public lands include 16.4% of the state, with major land ownership in county
forests, national forests, national wildlife refuges, state forests, and state wildlife areas
(Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau 2003) . Wisconsin’s largest federal or state
designated wilderness area covers 73 km 2 .

Despite few large wild areas, wolves were able to recolonize and again become
important elements of forest ecosystems in northern and central Wisconsin. Legal
protection, public education and outreach, and sound scientific management of
public forest lands enabled wolves to recover and demonstrated that wolves can
recover without extensive wilderness, provided there is adequate habitat, prey, legal

protection, and public acceptance.

Early History and Initial Recolonization
of Wolves in Wisconsin
Gray wolves probably have occupied Wisconsin since the last glacier receded about
10,000 years ago, and perhaps earlier in portions of southwestern Wisconsin that
were not glaciated. Populations of wolves probably fluctuated with the size of
ungulate populations. When the first European exploration began in 1634, wolves
coexisted with herds of bison ( Bison bison ), elk ( Cervus elaphus , and white-tailed
deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) in prairies, savannas, and oak ( Quercus ) and maple
( Acer ) forests of southern Wisconsin, and with moose ( Alces alces ), white-tailed
deer, and small numbers of caribou ( Rangifier tarandus ) in the hemlock-maple
( Tsuga-Acer ), pine ( Pinus ), swamp conifers, and boreal forests and bogs of northern

 Beavers ( Castor canadensis ) also were abundant throughout the state,
but probably more so in the streams and glacial lakes of northern Wisconsin.
When European settlement started in earnest during the 1830s, beavers were nearly
eliminated due to unregulated trapping during the fur trade, and bison were
extirpated by Native Americans after acquiring horses and firearms (Thiel 1993) 


Other prey such as deer, elk, and moose were probably still relatively abundant.
Jackson (1961) speculated that there were 20,000–25,000 wolves in Wisconsin
at the beginning of European settlement. This would have represented an unlikely
density of 142–177 wolves per 1,000 km 2 . Wolf densities this high have not been
documented in modern research on wolves in North America (Fuller et al. 2003) .
Wydeven (1993) speculated that perhaps 3,000–5,000 wolves existed at the
beginning of European settlement, or about 20–35 wolves per 1,000 km 2 .
This estimate appears more compatible with likely prey abundance and agrees with
recent research on wolf densities.

A bounty for the killing of wolves was offered by the Wisconsin Territory from
1839 through 1847, and following statehood (1848), a state bounty ran nearly
continuously from 1865 to 1957 (Thiel 1993) . Bounties were paid to private trappers
and hunters for killing wolves and coyotes ( Canis latrans ), and both species were
listed as wolves in bounty records. After 1947, when wolves had declined to very
low numbers, wolves were distinguished from coyotes in the bounty records (Thiel
1993) . Unlike western states, federal and state governments made no concerted
effort to eliminate wolves in Wisconsin. Rangeland grazing of livestock was not
practiced across northern Wisconsin, and livestock were normally kept in small
fenced pastures near farmsteads. Nonetheless, unregulated hunting and trapping, as
well as the incentive of bounty payments, caused the eventual collapse of the wolf

population in Wisconsin.

Recolonization of Wisconsin by wolves began by 1975, and by 1979, five wolf
packs were established in two Wisconsin counties. A wolf pack was detected in
Minnesota along the Wisconsin border during winter 1974–1975, and between
1975 and 1979, five wolves were found dead in Douglas County, Wisconsin, just
east of the Minnesota border (Mech and Nowak 1981 ; Thiel 1993) . Thiel and
Welch (1981) documented breeding packs of wolves in the state by 1977 and 1978.
In 1979, two wolves were also found dead in Lincoln County, about 200 km southeast
of the Douglas County packs (Thiel 1993) . The source of colonizing wolves was
likely the large Minnesota population to the west, although the appearance of a
pack in Lincoln County in north-central Wisconsin in 1979 may indicate that some
wolves had persisted in parts of Wisconsin. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) also maintained a 
list of state endangered and threatened species, and with their return, gray wolves
were listed as endangered species under state law in 1975. In 1979, the WDNR began
a program of formal monitoring of the wolf population (Wydeven et al. 1995) .

The late-winter wolf population grew from 25 wolves in 1979–1980 to 540
wolves in 2006–2007. During this period the range occupied by territorial wolves
grew from <1 2="" km="" to="">14,000 km 2 . Mean pack size has generally averaged
slightly less than 4, survival rates of pups to the end of the first winter averaged
29%, and about 32% of packs were unsuccessful raising pups

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