Bear Baiting & Hound Training Continues in Wisconsin Wolf Caution Areas

On July 27, 2019 Wolf Patrol monitors continued to witness and document bear baiting and hound training activities continuing in Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) designated Wolf Caution Areas (WCA), despite wolves having killed two bear hounds in the region since mid-July.

Over the weekend, multiple bear hunting parties were seen dropping and picking up dogs off of Windsor Dam & Fishel Roads in northern Forest County portions of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. In addition, multiple bear baits within the WCA’s that were not being used during the week, were once again loaded with bait so dogs could be run off of the baits during the weekend.

Wolf Patrol believes Wisconsin’s allowance of unregistered and unlimited numbers of bear baits in wolf territory is the cause of the deadly conflict between wolves and bear hounds that occurs every summer during that state bear hound training season.

If you agree that U.S. Forest Service and WDNR officials need to begin to register and limit bear baits in our national forest, please email:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:

WDNR Secretary:

Bear Hunters Continuing to Bait Bears and Run Dogs in New Wolf Caution Areas

Bear hunters are continuing to put their dogs at risk by running them in Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) designated Wolf Caution Areas (WCA), as was witnessed by Wolf Patrol members on July 26, 2019 in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
So far during Wisconsin’s 2019 summer bear hound training season there have been five reported attacks on bear hounds by wolves defending their young pups, three of the fights have occurred in Forest County where Wolf Patrol monitors the clash between bear hunters and federally protected gray wolves.
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Bear baiter & hound hunter operating in Wolf Caution Area July 26, 2019.

Since bear hound training season began on July 1st, Wolf Patrol has been reporting bear baits with exposed bait, which attracts wolves and other wildlife. Bear hunters are also reporting an increase in the presence of wolves at their national forest bait sites.
In Wisconsin there is no license required to bait for bears, even for nonresidents who are also allowed to run as many baits as they choose. There is no registration required for bear baiting in the national forest and its estimated that over 4 million gallons of food waste is dumped annually in Wisconsin to attract bears.
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Bear baiter & hound hunter seen picking up hounds in July WDNR designated Wolf Caution Area.

It’s time to get these unregistered and unlimited bear baits off of our national forests!

Send emails to USFS & WDNR officials today:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:

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Dumping bait and chasing bears through wolf territory does not require a license in Wisconsin.

WDNR Secretary:

5th Wolf/Bear Hound Fight Reported in Iron County Wisconsin Since Training Season Began in July

Since federally protected gray wolves killed a bear hound in a heavily bear-baited portion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) on July 13th, 2019, Wolf Patrol has been monitoring baiting in this and other Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) designated Wolf Caution Areas (WCA’s).

What our monitors are seeing is what’s come to be expected with the literally unknown number of unregistered bear baits allowed to be operated in Wisconsin, many in known wolf territory.


Conditioned to being fed to be later killed for fun. 

Despite much of the current baiting occurring on weekends, black bears across Wisconsin, especially in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, have become conditioned to accepting the predictable handouts from bear hunters, continually visiting bait sites throughout their now changed lives.

This might be why a 2018 WDNR study found that as much as 40% of a black bear’s diet in northeastern Wisconsin is comprised of human food dumped as bear bait. In Wisconsin, not only can anyone bait for bears without a license, they can even use chocolate which is toxic to bears and other wildlife. One bear hunter told Wolf Patrol that he believes the use of chocolate, even in small amounts in Wisconsin, is killing bear cubs.

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Bear bait material available from a Wisconsin distributor July 2019.

With no limit on bear baiting, truckloads of food waste is re-sold as bait which can be used beginning in April and dumped until bear hunting season ends in October, marking the longest bear baiting season in the nation. Even fryer grease and other oils can be dumped by the gallon on national forests in Wisconsin, if you’re a bear hunter.

And its not just the bears that are being conditioned to being fed by humans on our national forest lands, but recovering wolves too. On July 23, 2019, USDA-Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a Walker trailing hound in the Town of Oma, Iron County, where there’s a long history of conflict between bear hounds and wolves.

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This marks the fifth conflict between bear hounds and wolves since Wisconsin’s training season began on July 1st 2019. Because of the lack of any license requirement, hound hunters come from all over the country to bait for bears in Wisconsin,  Bear baits are placed where hound hunters can take their hounds to follow the scent of bears, after they have visited bait sites.

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Wolf depredations on bear hounds 2013-2019.

That is when the conflict between wild and domestic dogs occurs. Wolves that are especially territorial because of their young pups will identify bear bait sites as feeding grounds and defend them against what they believe is an intrusion. This is a conflict that has existed since recolonizing wolves, and a growing number of hound hunters have spread into Wisconsin.


Ain’t nothing but a hound dog…I don’t want to die!

This is a preventable conflict. But it’ll take your help! Email forest and WDNR officials now asking that the unregistered and unlimited use of bear baits be ended on our national forest lands before more wolves and hounds have to to die.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:

WDNR Secretary Preston Cole:

Unregistered Bear Baits in Wisconsin’s National Forests Also Attracting Wolves

This video documents the activity on just one weekend at one unregistered bear bait in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where wolves killed bear hounds on July 13th & 21st, 2019. When federally protected wolves depredate a hunting dog, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) establishes Wolf Caution Areas.

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However, it is still legal to bait for bear and run hounds in Wolf Caution Areas where hounds have previously been killed. It is also legal to operate as many bear baits as you like on national forest lands, using baits like chocolate that are known to be toxic to bears, wolves and other wildlife.

Bear baits in Wisconsin are not only attracting black bears, they’re attracting wolves and other wildlife as well. The parents of the wolf pups in this video have and will kill any bear hounds that threaten their pups, which they do be simply being loose in the area.

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Bear bait available for sale on Craigslist in Wisconsin. (Including chocolate which is toxic to bears and other wildlife.)

The best way to prevent deadly conflicts between bear hunters and federally protected gray wolves is to require registration, a limit, and a cessation to bear baiting in areas where hunting dogs have already been depredated by wolves.

Instead, by doing nothing the U.S. Forest Service & WDNR are allowing another bloody season of legalized dog fights as bear hounds continue to be released to learn how to chase bears across our national forest lands.


Exposed bear bait at 07/21/19 Forest County WDNR Wolf Caution Area.

If you think it’s time to end the deadly conflict, send your emails to USFS & WDNR officials now:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:

Wisconsin DNR Secretary:

Bear Baiting on National Forest Lands Contributing to Latest Hound Deaths

On July 21, 2019 two more bear hounds were killed in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest during Wisconsin’s bear hound training season. This makes three bear hounds that have been killed by federally protected gray wolves in Forest County alone, since the training season began on July 1st.


An exposed bear bait July 22, 2019 less than a mile from where a bear hound was killed the day before.

Wolf Patrol visited the site of one depredation off of Thrasher Road in northern Forest County and discovered this active bear bait less than a mile away. Its baits like these that not only attract black bears, but deer and in turn, wolves. When bear hunters release their hounds to trail bears from these baits, they are killed by wolves defending the area as a feeding site.


Waffle cone bait to attract bears…and deer…and wolves.

Its time for Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest & Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials to do something to prevent more hound deaths and wolf fights on our national forest lands. Addressing the 4 million gallons of bear bait being dumped annually to attract bears by hunters would be a good place to start.


Save the Woofs!

Send your emails to:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest:

WDNR Secretary Preston Cole:

Two More Bear Hounds Killed in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest



More wolves are being reported visiting Wisconsin bear baits this July than in years previously. Photo Credit: Brian Rusk

At least two more wolf depredations on bear hounds have been reported in northern Wisconsin over the weekend, one not far from where a bear hound was killed in northern Forest County on July 13, 2019, and the other north of the town of Laona, not far from where a bear hound was injured by wolves in September 2018. Wolf Patrol is awaiting more information and verification from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) on both of these depredations.

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07/22/19 UPDATE: On 7/21/19, USDA-Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves depredated a Plott trailing hound in the Town of Alvin, Forest County and a Walker trailing hound in the Town of Laona, Forest County.  These depredations occurred in separate incidents.

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July 21, 2019 Facebook post about bear hound death a mile north of Laona, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile in the Alvin Creek Watershed, home of the Firekeeper Wolves, a family of wolves Wolf Patrol has been tracking in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF) since 2016, no more depredations were reported. Much of northeastern Wisconsin was affected by a severe storm that left many roads blocked in the national forest, limiting the running of hounds.


Still, bear hunters operating in northern Vilas and Forest County, where the July 13, 2019 depredation of a bear hound took place did not run hounds through the WDNR Wolf Caution Area, but instead focused their training activities further north. Whether because of the weather or wolves, a few bear baits in the Wolf Caution Area also were not used over the weekend, including a bait site where Wolf Patrol documented wolf pups visiting the bait site on July 16th.  

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Wolf leaving a bear bait in WDNR Wolf Caution Areaon on July 20, 2019.

Wolf Patrol reminds bear hunters operating in and near WDNR Wolf Caution Areas to stay close to your dogs, use bells on their collars and do not run off of bear baits recently visited by wolves. Thanks to everyone exercising caution in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest!


Bear hunter’s hound truck smashed in July 20, 2019 storm.

To ask US Forest Service & WDNR officials to address the chronic problems associated with bear baiting and bear hound training in our national forests, please send an email to:

WDNR Secretary Preston Cole:

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials:

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Three bear hound depredations by wolves in Forest County…so far. How many more must die?


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.

07.13.19 DEP DOG

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.


RILEY ZAHN 07.14.19

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