Wisconsin’s Firekeeper Wolves Need Your Help Now!

In northern Forest County, Wisconsin all the pieces are in place for more deadly conflicts on our national forest lands between federally protected gray wolves and hunters baiting black bears and running hounds.

On Saturday July 13, 2019 the first bear hound was killed while running through the Alvin Creek Watershed within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, during Wisconsin’s two-month Summer bear hound training season.

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Location of the latest, but surely not the last deadly fight between a bear hound and federally protected gray wolves.

No license or permits are required to dump thousands of gallons of oil, grease and food waste to attract bears in Wisconsin, as long as your intent is to kill them during the Fall hunting season. Nor is any license required for residents AND nonresidents to bring as many dogs as you like into our national forests to learn how to chase bears.

Every year these unethical hunting practices result in the death and injury of many bear hounds as dogs running through wolf territory are attacked by gray wolves protecting their young. Last year, more bear hound/gray wolf depredations occurred in Forest County than anywhere else in the state.

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Red dots indicate wolf depredation of hunting hounds 2013-2019 Source: WDNR

This Summer, more bear hounds are sure to die unless U.S. Forest Service officials do something, anything to prevent these deadly conflicts on our forest lands. Already this year, Wolf Patrol has reported multiple non-compliant bear baits in Forest County to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for having exposed bait which attracts deer…as well as wolves.

The following video was taken on July 16, 2019 just three days after a bear hound was killed, less than a mile from this bear bait site. The wolves in the video are clearly checking on the bait site for food or prey. Many more wolves have been reported by bear hunters appearing at bait sites in the area.

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Two Forest County bear hunters Facebook comments in regards to 07/13/19 wolf depredation of bear hound in their hunting territory…and they wonder why Wolf Patrol is here?


On July 19, 2019 bear hunters will return to their Forest County bait sites to refill them for the weekend running of hounds, despite the knowledge that a bear hound was killed here. Understand, it is impossible to control the area a bear hound will run when the owner is sitting in his pickup truck miles away watching the progress of his dog on a handheld GPS receiver.

It’s time to end the deadly practice of allowing unregistered and unlimited bear baiting in our national forests. If you agree, please email US Forest officials now to let them the responsibility is on them to prevent this tragedy from continuing one more day.

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Two young members of the Firekeeper wolf family visiting a bear bait site in 07/13/19 WDNR Wolf Caution Area on July 16, 2019.





Phone: (608) 267-7556


Some Wisconsin Hound Hunters Are Practicing Caution in Wolf Areas

Not all bear hunters are bad apples. Wolf Patrol highlights the hunting practices that contribute to conflicts with federally protected wolves and other wildlife, and they are not hard to find. But what deserves mention is the “better hunting practices” exercised by hound hunters who we believe do truly love their dogs.

Let me restate, Wolf Patrol is adamantly opposed to all bear baiting and use of bear, bobcat and coyote hounds on our national forest lands. But we also understand that those practices are not ending anytime soon unfortunately. To be truly effective, Wolf Patrol must work incrementally towards ending the conflict between bear hunters and wolves. Towards that end, we welcome communication and feedback from hound hunters who are not willing to sacrifice their hounds for the sake of their enjoyment.

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The bear hunters who voluntarily moved a bear bait that Wolf Patrol believed was not compliant with WDNR regulations. Thank You gentlemen.

Last Summer Wolf Patrol monitors met a father and son in Forest County who wanted us to know that they have no interest in seeing their dogs put at risk by running them in wolf territory (video included of our conversation beginning 4:00). These gentlemen explained how difficult it was to find an area to bait in that wasn’t already being baited by other hunters or frequented by wolves.

This July, we’ve encountered the same bear hunters in our Forest County patrol area. When Wolf Patrol identified that these individuals were operating a bear bait that was questionably to close to a road, I contacted them to let them know our concerns about the bait. Rather than wait for WDNR conservation officers to investigate their bait, they voluntarily agreed to move it without question.

These are the kinds of interactions Wolf Patrol would prefer to have with Wisconsin bear hunters and anyone from out of state running hounds in wolf territory.


Ethical hound hunting? Anything is possible. The individual who wrote the letter below with his hound.

In April 2019, I was contacted by a hound hunter who also wanted Wolf Patrol to know that not all hounders are bad apples. Here is what he had to say, and what we liked to hear:

I have over the years switched bait locations to stumps, and have been making my own so they have a bottom. Hoping to limit animals from digging under. I have even went to less bait in the stump, when running dogs you do not always need the bear to get a full stomach, I just want them to stop for a snack. So I might even ration it, to check on the results, possible down to 1 gallon per site. Part of the reason I have been trying these things is to see how the bears react, which is better for my results, but to also limit the addition of other non-target animals at the bait. If there is no bait for them to get there is no reason to stop there.

I will start by stating I believe wolves should be managed, but I will also state I am not sure who the right person/department or whatever you want to call makes the decision. I did not and do not agree with chasing them. I do not want my dogs to even think of running them. Do I judge people for running them? No, but I do not think it was a good idea to push for that style of hunt (hunting wolves with hounds in Wisconsin).

Do I think it is a matter of time before a wolf attacks a human? I think this will be highly unlikely unless the animal is starving or very sick. Have I been howled out of the woods? Yes. Have wolves started howling when I have been running a bear across the road from them, yes. When that happens I catch my dogs as soon as possible and leave the area.

Does that affect how I hunt the area I hunt? Yes. When I find out where the (wolf) pack is summering the pups, I move to the other end of the area I hunt, giving them as much room as possible. I have had a dog killed by wolves 7 years ago. No it was not reported or claimed, and yes I can verify. I found the collar at the den. No I did not molest or harm the den. So please hold back on the hounder welfare comments. I am trying to figure out the best way to hunt around them due to the fact that they are going to be around from now on.

I will always run hounds as long as I can. For some of us, it is not about the kill but the interaction of the dog and the wilderness. I honestly just like being in the woods and listening to the dog work. The sounds of the hounds is music to my ears. With that being said, if people do not follow the rules that the DNR have given they should be prepared to pay the price. Is there good and bad with every sport yes. There are cheaters, people that are labeled extremist, possibly vandalize things. Do they ruin it for everyone? They definitely can. 

Enjoy the woods



Bear hound NOT put at risk in Wisconsin wolf territory!

July 16, 2019: Wolf Patrol Reports From WDNR Wolf Caution Area in Forest County…

Today while patrolling a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Wolf Caution Area, Wolf Patrol witnessed a young gray wolf leaving the area where a bear hound was killed just three days ago.

The conflux of gray wolves and bear hunters baiting and training dogs to chase bears in our national forest leads to an estimated 19 deadly conflicts between wolves and hounds annually. Despite the awareness of wolves in bear hunters area of operation, Wolf Patrol does not expect to see an end to bear baiting and hound training in these Wolf Caution Areas.

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Throughout Wisconsin’s two-month Summer bear hound training season, Wolf Patrol will be monitoring, documenting and reporting on continued bear hunting activity in WDNR designated Wolf Caution Areas.

If you agree that it’s time to reign in unregulated bear hunters on our national forests, please send an email to forest officials today at:


Wisconsin Bear Hound Killed by Wolves in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

On July 13, 2019, Wisconsin gray wolves killed a bear hound trespassing their territory in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Forest County. This is the first wolf depredation of a bear hound in the national forest since Wisconsin’s bear hound training season began on July 1st. Since then, two bear hounds have been killed by wolves.

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This poor bear hound was pulled from the tree he had chased a bear up into on July 13, 2019 and killed and eaten by wolves in the same area where a bear hound was killed in September 2018.

When the training season began, Wolf Patrol was monitoring bear baiting and hound training in the same area of Forest County where the most recent depredation occurred. Then as was the case last year, Wolf Patrol reported multiple bear baits that were out of compliance with regulations to WDNR conservation officers. In 2018, more bear hounds were killed or injured in Forest County than anywhere else in Wisconsin.


A non-compliant bear bait discovered in early July not far from where wolves killed a bear hound on July 13, 2019.

Wolf Patrol is asking Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials to end or restrict bear baiting & hound training on our national forest lands where every year multiple bear hounds are being killed by wolves defending territory and young pups. Allowing unregulated bear baiting and hound training to continue is also allowing more wolf depredations on bear hounds to continue.


Wisconsin hound hunters run their dogs after bear in temperatures approaching 90 degrees leading to heat stroke in many hunting dogs during Wisconsin’s summer-long bear hound training season.

Throughout the Summer bear hound training season, Wolf Patrol will be monitoring and reporting on continued bear baiting & hound training in Forest County national forest lands where it is expected that more depredations will occur.

Please let national forest officials know that you believe its time to end or restrict bear hunting activities in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where they are causing a deadly conflict between federally protected wolves and bear hounds.



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Bear treed by Wisconsin hound hunter Riley Zahn on July 14, 2019.


Every Hot Summer Day Wisconsin Bears Must Face Hound Hunters

This video was shot between the hours of 0600am and 0900am on July 13, 2019 in the Moquah Barrens of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. This is but one small area currently inundated with resident and non-resident bear hunters training young dogs during the state’s two-month summer hound training season.

Hounds as young as seven-months are set loose in Wisconsin wolf territory to learn how to chase bears and fend for themselves.

Each of these trucks is loaded with dogs released across our national forests in Wisconsin following the trail of bears from baits set to attract them some hounds can follow. Every year, over 4 million gallons of bait is dumped in Wisconsin to attract bears, including chocolate which is toxic to bears and other wildlife.

Wisconsin black bear treed on July 5, 2019.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources does not require a license to bait bears or train your dogs to chase them like other states. There is also no limit to the number of baits a bear hunter can use in our national forests to attract bears.

Let Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials know its time to get the bait and hounds out of our national forests!

Send Your Email Today:




No Escape for Bear Cubs During Wisconsin’s Bear Hound Training Season

In what can only be described as perfectly legal and sanctioned behavior in Wisconsin, hound hunters like Rats Nicks or anyone with a pack of bear hounds can chase bears of any size, sex or age during the summer bear hound training season that began July 1st and runs until September.


Cub treed by Ratt Nicks during Wisconsin’s 2018 bear hound training season.

In these videos shared on Facebook by Nicks, (who’s graphic videos of his hounds fighting coyotes Wolf Patrol has already uncovered) the hound hunter can be heard saying that the bear his hounds have treed is only 60 pounds. He then says, “A bear’s a bear!” which implies that hounders have no remorse for separating cubs from mothers during the two-month training season.


“Would you look at that big SOB!”–Ratt Nicks’ Facebook photo posted on opening day of the 2018 bear hound training season.

Wolf Patrol isn’t surprised. In Wisconsin’s bear hound training season, not only can cubs as young as seven-months be chased day AND night, seven days a week, but its also legal to dump hundreds of gallons of food waste as bait in our national forests to attract bears for hunters to chase.

It’s time to end the “business as usual” attitude towards bear hunters in Wisconsin’s national forests. No one should be allowed to feed the bears or chase young wildlife in the heat of summer. Yet, these practices continue unabated throughout the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.


Wisconsin hound hunter Ratt Nicks also trains his hounds in the off-season train on hogs in Georgia, February 2019.

If you’re as fed up as we are, please send an email to national forest officials asking that bear baiting and hound training be restricted or ended in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:


How Many Hounds Must Die Before Forest Officials Address Unregulated Bear Baiting in Our National Forests?

It’s only a matter of time before bear hounds and wolves begin their annual life and death battles in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where last year over a dozen dogs were killed during Wisconsin’s two-month bear hound training season.

Noncompliant bear baiting contributes to these deadly conflicts by attracting deer, not only bear to bait sites in Wisconsin wolf territory. When bear hunters put down their dogs at bait sites to chase the bears that have been visiting them, wolves take it as a territorial intrusion, and will defend the bait site as their own feeding area or their young pups which are just leaving dens for the first time.

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Where three bear hounds were killed by wolves in Wolf Patrol’s 2019 field of operation and where three noncompliant bear baits were reported to WDNR.

Every year, Wolf Patrol is in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest investigating and documenting the continuing use of bear baits to train hounds in Wolf Caution Areas where other dogs have already been killed. Why would bear hunters release their dogs in areas they know they might get killed? Because if they do, hound hunters can claim up to $2,500.00 per lost bear hound.

Paying careless and lazy hound hunters for their irresponsible bear hunting practices is no substitute for a real system that would require registration for all bear baits on public and national forest lands. In addition, such a system could be used to identify which baits might be contributing to bear hound depredations when they are in areas where hounds have already been killed.

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Bear hounds as young as 7 months (like this one offered for sale on July 6, 2019) are released in Wisconsin wolf territory to learn how to chase bears in Wisconsin’s two-month training season. 

Wolf Patrol is not being unreasonable, we are simply asking that Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service require a registration system that would allow public lands managers to get an accurate idea of just how many bear baits are in operation during bear hound training season when most bear hound depredations occur.

Send Your Email Asking Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Officials to Reign in Unregulated Bear Baiting & Hound Training in Your National Forests!



Black bear treed in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest by Gresham Bear Hunters on July 6, 2019.