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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:42 pm 
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An Editorial in the April 10 Tomahawk Leader:

Now that we have wolves in relative abundance (in excess of 500) across the Northwoods of Wisconsin, someone is going to have to come up with a plan to minimize the conflicts that have arisen recently between these large carnivores and the interests of people living in the area, whether those people are hunters using dogs to pursue game animals and birds, farmers with livestock or families with pets.

Saturday, Scott Daenicke, Tomahawk, took his four German shorthaired pointers for a romp down a snowmobile trail east of
Otter Lake in the Town of Harrison. As the three younger dogs played in front of Daenicke as he hiked the trail, his 11-year-old female, Packer, brought up the rear 50 yards distant. Out of nowhere two wolves were on Packer. She let out a cry, and Daenicke turned around to witness the attack.

He ran toward the wolves, yelling and waving his arms as he went. The animals paid little heed to Daenicke until he closed to within spitting distance. “I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t moved off,” said Daenicke. “I had no weapon.”

His other dogs followed the wolves deeper into the forest but came back when Daenicke frantically called to them as he held his dying Packer. The wolves also came back.

“They showed no fear, at all,” he remarked.

Wolves have killed several bear hounds, beagles and bird dogs during the past couple of years. Wolves attacked and killed these dogs even though there were people close by.

Wolves have victimized farmers across the northern third of the state with their slaughter of livestock. Once again, the theme that runs through these episodes is that wolves lack the fear (respect) of humans.

Ever since wolves were reintroduced into Wisconsin in the 1970s, state and federal laws have prevented citizens from using proactive measures in dealing with problem packs or individuals. Hence, generations of wolves have grown up with nothing to fear from humans. They have been treated like “sacred cows” by the feds and state biologists. Emboldened by the lack of a meaningful human physical threat, wolves now blatantly attack man’s domestic animals.

Otter Lake is a popular camping destination in Lincoln County. It is surrounded by thousands of acres of forestland. In about a month-and-a-half, the campground will open and scores of outdoor enthusiasts, including families with young children, will flock there each weekend of the summer to enjoy the “wilderness” atmosphere – fishing, hiking and getting close to nature.

Let’s hope that we never have to report on the unimaginable.

In the meantime, perhaps the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) should be lobbying for a limited hunting season on wolves in problem areas, especially since we are at least 150 animals over the DNR’s population goal of 350 wolves for the entire state. Once they have been shot at a few times, wolves will develop a healthy fear of humans, and the number of conflicts will fall dramatically.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:37 pm 
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With all due respect and sympathy to Mr. Daenicke and his dog Packer... Your claims that wolves will somehow develop a "healthy fear of humans" is without basis or supporting evidence. It is absurd to believe that firing a gun over a wolf's head will change its natural instincts, it is a "wild" animal. Quite possibly, the editor would rather have the average wolf hating citizen put a bullet in the animal (rather than over it's head) and send it down the river, as has happened to many of these much maligned animals. I understand that such biased claims are quite typical of many editorials written in this paper, but even so, making wild claims about the biological nature of wolves does little to help solve the problem. Suggesting that "young children" are somehow at risk does little more than stir the pot of hysteria that characterizes many citizens attitudes towards the wolf. Let's leave biological facts to the biologists, it's what they do.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:29 pm 
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First of all, I am sorry this happened to Scott and his dog. I am sure it was a horrible thing to go through. Still, I must agree with Yooper. In reading the editorial, the solutions read like a way we would deal with criminals or insurgents in Iraq, not wild animals that are simply following their instinct. Shooting bullets over the heads of wolves will do nothing. Wolves don't have electronic bulletin boards to spread the word that they need to be more, um, "respectful" toward humans.

Maybe we could drop leaflets into the area for the wolves to read instead???

<small>[ April 11, 2007, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: pupsgalore ]</small>


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:55 pm 
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Pepper spray works great against bears. It even comes in huge cans that can be targeted over 25 feet away. I think that there have even been some pavlov type studies done to show that bears that have been sprayed in similar scenarios begin to avoid such scenarios. K9's are very intelligent beings. A non-lethal deterrant could encourage human avoidance.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:43 pm 
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There is, of course, a rightful place for wolves in our environment. That place, however, is not in the middle of a hiking trail tearing your dog apart. The natural order of things is that wolves which do not either possess or learn sufficient fear/avoidance of humans will soon be removed from the gene pool. I live about a mile or so from the attack site and am very familiar with the wolves involved. I spend a lot of time roaming the sections of county forest where they live and have crossed paths with them on numerous occasions. So far so good. If they leave me alone I'll leave them alone. I am a realist, however, and if the day ever comes that they present an immediate threat to me or my dog, I'll put them both down on the spot with no regrets.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:24 pm 
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i live near the willow area and there is a huge wolf pack there. i have come in contact with the wolfs several times. i agree they are smart creatures but they have almost 0 fear for humans, and why should they? they are big powerful predators and if needed i will kill one without thinking twice. the population is well over necessary numbers and it is a matter of time before they attack a human, small child or full grown man.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 7:22 pm 
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I have to agree with Brian. With the number of Wolves and Bears in my area I never go out in the woods without a gun. Even when I am working or just walking in the woods behind my house I always carry my .357 and would not hesitate to use it to protect my dog or myself. I have had Bear come into my yard after my bird feeders and just stand there and look at me when I tried to scare them away. That is the problem when animals are overly protected.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:36 pm 
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The wolf population isn't limited to northern WI. Contrary to popular belief the Chippewa Valley is not northern Wisconsin. Check out this link http://www.chippewa.com/articles/2007/04/19/news/946x.txt

This is a semi-populated area.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:13 pm 
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Quote:
Originally posted by T-Hawk Yooper:
With all due respect and sympathy to Mr. Daenicke and his dog Packer... Your claims that wolves will somehow develop a "healthy fear of humans" is without basis or supporting evidence. It is absurd to believe that firing a gun over a wolf's head will change its natural instincts, it is a "wild" animal. Quite possibly, the editor would rather have the average wolf hating citizen put a bullet in the animal (rather than over it's head) and send it down the river, as has happened to many of these much maligned animals. I understand that such biased claims are quite typical of many editorials written in this paper, but even so, making wild claims about the biological nature of wolves does little to help solve the problem. Suggesting that "young children" are somehow at risk does little more than stir the pot of hysteria that characterizes many citizens attitudes towards the wolf. Let's leave biological facts to the biologists, it's what they do.
While I can't argue with your quite accurate critique of the majority of editorials in the leader, I must ask you:

What do you feel is an appropriate remedy in regards to the general lack of acknowledgement of humans by the local wolf population?
You say what doesn't solve the problem, but do you have any input on what can help solve it?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:55 pm 
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Good question... I realize that there will be a time when wolves will surpass their threshold level, yet I don't know if we have come to that point. As long as there are those that let there dogs run free when in wolf territory, then there are bound to be attacks. I just don't see the point in needless calls for retribution. Wolves know no consequence, they just follow a hunter's instinct. I guess that I call for more responsibility on the part of the animal owner to either avoid known wolf territory (check the WDNR for fairly detailed maps) while running their dogs, or keeping them on a tight leash if those are your favored recreation lands. I truly think that we can find a balance. The blame should not always be on that which cannot change its habits.

<small>[ April 23, 2007, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: T-Hawk Yooper ]</small>

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:00 am 
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If it's true that the DNR had a goal of 350 wolves for the state and we are now at 500 then I'd say we are already over the threshold... That's over 40% more than the population goal.

Much like the high bear population, low deer counts in some areas and the possible wolf counts (I like wolves by the way) if it isn't a problem in Madison the DNR doesn't seem to notice or care... (Remember that CWD was found near Madison, and look at the "response" we got to that)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:38 pm 
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It's true that the DNR set a "population goal" of 350 wolves, which the current population has surpassed. Yet, this "goal" isn't entirely based on what an ecosystem can support(public opinion certainly had its influence). Remember that deer populations, however low we may think them to be, are actually quite high when compared with historic levels. The deer population is a product of DNR management (or mis-management, if that's your belief). There was a time when people had to work for their deer, rather than wait by a bait pile, and it seems as though that time is coming again. Whether or not it has anything to do with wolf populations, I think that this is a good thing. There are too many hunters in the woods (or standing within a hundred feet of their vehicle/shack/4 wheeler)these days anyways.

<small>[ April 24, 2007, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: T-Hawk Yooper ]</small>

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:05 pm 
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I supppose the next thing some-one will be telling me that when I am out bird hunting I am supposed to keep my dog on a leash. Give me a break. When we can't go out and enjoy our time in the woods whether we are hunting or just out for a walk anymore without being in danger there is a problem. This isn't the wilds of Alaska or Canada. This is a populated area where up until a few years ago it was safe to go into the woods without having to carry a weapon to protect your self or your pets. That is not the case anymore. We got along for many years without Wolves. They have their place but not in a populated area.

<small>[ April 24, 2007, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: Old Scout ]</small>

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:06 am 
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I have a feeling that the problem will be solved quite soon. People are simply not going to put up with this. There is a reason why these animals were eliminated from the area long ago, and I suspect that the same reasons will cause them to be eliminated once again. It is great that the folks who don't live here feel that this is a wonderful place for a wolf pack. I think we should move the pack down into the Madison area so that these folks could keep a closer eye on things.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:38 pm 
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I believe the solution to this situation of wolves running at large on my eighty acres warrants, as Brian and Old Scout agree, to carry a pistol for protection. While the concealed carry law was shot down, we still can carry a weapon, not concealed, on our hip while walking in the woods. I really don't care if the animal is on the endangered list at all if it is attacking me, my wife, my kids, or my dog. Without hestation I will shoot to protect me and mine. If you watch Bonanza you see all of the citizen men carrying guns on their hip. They didn't play politics while walking in the woods.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 7:42 pm 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Catfish:
I believe the solution to this situation of wolves running at large on my eighty acres warrants, as Brian and Old Scout agree, to carry a pistol for protection. While the concealed carry law was shot down, we still can carry a weapon, not concealed, on our hip while walking in the woods. I really don't care if the animal is on the endangered list at all if it is attacking me, my wife, my kids, or my dog. Without hestation I will shoot to protect me and mine. If you watch Bonanza you see all of the citizen men carrying guns on their hip. They didn't play politics while walking in the woods.
I can't lie.. if anything validates a serious ecological conversation for me, it's Bonanza!! :D

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 11:18 pm 
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I was just alluding to the fact that things may be going back to the way things used to be by neccesity of safety. Bonanza being a mere example of the old used to be. Don't be a hater. ha ha


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:10 pm 
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A letter in the May 15, 2007, Tomahawk Leader

To the Editor:
Wolf rights. I’m tired of hearing about them.

Where was our Packer’s rights? Shouldn’t she have expected to feel safe on a walk? Before her death, on the DNR web site for the location of wolf packs in Wisconsin, there wasn’t any packs listed east of Hwy. 51. Are dogs safe anywhere? If we do go into the woods are we now the hunted not the hunters?

The week after Packer was killed the Wausau Daily Herald had an article about a child in New Jersey being attacked by a coyote in his own yard. A coyote is half the size of a wolf. Does the unthinkable have to happen before anything is done, so we are safe in the woods?

Years ago we didn’t have to be worried about the safety of ourselves or our dogs because there wasn’t the numbers of wolves there is today.

The public has to speak up or we will be calling public land “wolfland” and we will not be able to use it.

Our dogs are house pets but their purpose is bird hunting. Do we take the risk of losing one of our dogs when we go hunting? I never want to go through that again, especially since on that day I could have lost them all.

How would the wolf protectors have felt if it had been their dog?

As for warning the public, as of April 26 there wasn’t any signs up by Otter. It is on the Internet but not everyone has a computer or checks their computer for warnings.

Packer’s owner
Marcia Huehnerfuss
Irma


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