Published July 30, 2009, 02:55 PM

Wisconsin bear-hunting hounds killed by wolves

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported today that the dogs were killed, and another injured, in separate incidents the past two weeks.

By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune

Four more bear-hunting hounds have been killed by wolves in northern Wisconsin while running free during bear-hunting training sessions.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported today that the dogs were killed, and another injured, in separate incidents the past two weeks in Bayfield, Burnett, Clark and Oneida Counties.

The latest dog deaths follow four deaths in Ashland, Clark, Oneida and Forest Counties earlier in July.

Each year in July and August, hunters are allowed to turn dogs loose to chase bear as part of training for the hound bear hunting season later in autumn. And each year several hunters’ hounds run into packs of wolves, often at rendezvous sites where wolf pups are located.

Wisconsin has more than 500 wolves that, under a court settlement, were last month returned to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. It remains illegal under federal law to kill a wolf in Wisconsin, except for federal trappers who kill wolves near where livestock or dogs have been killed. Dog owners also receive reimbursement from the state for the wolf-killed dogs.

The DNR is urging hunters to avoid areas where wolves are known to concentrate. The DNR lists areas to avoid at www.dnr.state.wi.us. Minnesota does not allow bear hunting with hounds.

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