Hunters, on a quest to kill bears, are angry that their hunting dogs are dying as well – according to multiple sources, a record number of dogs were killed during bear hunts this season in Wisconsin.
The number of dead hunting dogs from this bear season stands at 40 – hunters are angry because they believe that high numbers of wolves in the area are to blame. Hunters are now pushing for wolf population management, fearing that the number of wolves roaming the area has climbed too high, reported WBAY News. Hunter Manny Elbe told WBAY, “It’s a terrible thing when your dog’s eaten alive, you know, and it hasn’t happened to me yet but a lot of guys that I know, they’ve lost a lot of good dogs.”
However, for the time being, wolves are off limits because they are protected in Wisconsin, where they are recognized as an endangered species.
As reported in WPR.org, not everyone believes that an increased wolf population is to blame for the spike in hunting dog deaths. Adrian Wydeven, a former wildlife biologist, thinks that a recent bear hunt permitting change, which now allows bait to be used during bear hunts, could be behind the increase in dog deaths. He explained, “When hunters release their dogs at the bear baits to go chase bears, there’s a chance if wolves have recently visited the site, they could be sending their dogs after wolves.”
Experts have noted that next year’s hunt will have to be examined to see if the high number of hunting dogs killed during the bear hunt season is repeated.