Wolf depredation of livestock near Columbia County marked the southernmost verified conflict of its kind this year in Wisconsin.
A Marquette County livestock owner reported the attack occurred July 11 near Endeavor, where a wolf or wolves killed a 300-pound black angus calf valued at about $600, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources.
The incident is “not out of the ordinary,” considering reports of depredation as far south as Crawford County prior to 2018, said DNR Wildlife Biologist and wolf depredation expert Brad Koele, who is stationed in Minocqua.
“It is always unfortunate when livestock is depredated, but it is not really that telling when you look at our wolf distribution map,” he said. Three or four packs, for example, exist in Adams County and packs previously have been identified in Marquette and Columbia County, Koele said.
“Loners were identified even further south (than Columbia County) over the winter.”
“The main takeaway is to watch your cattle and other livestock,” Koele said. “If you see they’re agitated, take notice and keep an eye on them. The other thing to know is that there is help available.”
The Wisconsin DNR provides compensation for wolf damages and partners with the USDA Wildlife Service to provide nonlethal assistance such as electric fencing and radio-activated guarding systems that would alert livestock owners to the presence of a wolf or wolves, Koele said.
The DNR logs both verified and unverified wolf conflicts on its website, and provides maps that show where wolves have been detected, as well as an interactive map for verified depredations. The DNR also provides text and email alert messaging regarding wolf depredation.
The DNR counts wolves over the winter season, tracking them via aerial flights, radio collars and other methods, Koele said.
Koele is available to answer general questions about wolf depredation at 715-356-5211, ext. 234. To report depredation, people should contact the USDA Wildlife Services office based in Waupun at 800-433-0663.