Wisconsin Wolves

The Gray Wolf (Timber Wolf) in Wisconsin

The sound of a howling gray wolf is becoming a more common event in Wisconsin. A growing population of wolves now live in Wisconsin, one of about a dozen states in the country where gray wolves exist in the wild. Gray Wolves, also referred to as Timber Wolves, are the largest wild members of the dog family.

**Wisconsin DNR requests the gray wolf be removed from endangered species list. Read more…

Gray Wolves have been reinstated as a federally protected species. Read update….

Gray wolf in Iowa County, a few miles north of Yellowstone Lake.  Photo by Kate Cassidy.Photo of gray wolf in Iowa County, a few miles north of Yellowstone Lake.
Photo by Kate Cassidy.

Wolves are social animals, living in a family group, or pack. A wolf pack’s territory may cover 20-80 square miles, about one tenth the size of an average Wisconsin county. This species has been state delisted since 2004 and has been listed as a “Protected Wild Animal” by the Wisconsin DNR. They were federally delisted on March 12, 2007, but on September 29, 2008 were placed back on the federal endangered species list.

On May 4, 2009, wolves were again removed from the federal list of endangered species, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service addressed concerns raised by the lawsuit in September 2008. Wolves are thus again a state managed species under the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and tribal conservation departments on Indian lands.

ATTENTION: Gray wolves are once again a federally protected species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to reinstate federal protection of wolves in the upper Great Lakes region. All restrictions and requirements in place under the Endangered Species Act prior to the delisting are thus reinstated. This means that landowners are no longer permitted to shoot wolves. However, Wildlife Services can give advice and assist landowners who are experiencing problem wolves. Reimbursement for wolf loses are available, and USDA-Wildlife Services will be available to investigate depredations (1-800-228-1368 in N WI & 1-800-433-0663 in S & C. WI). Wildlife Services can give advice and assist in non lethal means to discourage wolves, as well as lethal removal of problem wolves. See Questions and Answers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service… (exit DNR)

General Information

History of Wolves in Wisconsin [PDF 265KB]
Wolves & Deer in Wisconsin [PDF 245KB]
Impacts of predators on white-tailed deer population in Wisconsin [PDF 163KB]
Wolf Factsheet
Canid Identification
Distribution Map
Screening Guidance [PDF 46KB]
Wolf Video Clips from Wisconsin Public Television (exit DNR)

Get Involved

Volunteer Carnivore Tracking Program
Rare Mammal Observation Form

Wolf News

New rules in place for wolf-dog hybrids
(July 1, 2010)
DNR requests federal permit for lethal and non-lethal wolf control (April 2010)
Federal protection reinstated for upper Great Lakes wolves (July 3, 2009)
WI Natural Resources Board updated on wolf management
(June 22, 2009)
Isle Royale Wolf/Moose Study

Depredations

Current Dog Depredations
Wolves & Hunting Dogs
Wolves in Farm Country
Annual Wolf Damage Payment Summary (as of June 2010)

Publications

Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes Region of the United States: An Endangered Species Success Story (exit DNR)
Wolf Progress Reports
Wolf Annual Status Reports
Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan
Effects of Wolves and Other Predators on Farms in Wisconsin: Beyond Verified Losses [PDF 134KB]
Final Environmental Assessment for the Management of Wolf Conflicts and Depredating Wolves in Wisconsin [PDF 982KB]
The State of the Wolf Project: Wisconsin Survey Findings 2003 [PDF 146KB]
Management of Wolf Conflicts and Depredating Wolves FONSI [PDF 3.3MB, exit DNR]

Last Revised: July 19, 2010