Wolves Impacting Humans - A Farm Family's Story
Impacts of wolves on one Northern Wisconsin farm family. These are real human/wolf interactions as verified by the WI DNR and USDA Wildlife Services.

View the report below to see where wolves are attacking cattle, hunting dogs, pets, and "non-livestock" (Humans). 

Have you ever wondered how much wolf depredations cost the taxpayers? Check out the report below showing the over 2 million dollars that have been spent reimbursing the good citizens of Wisconsin for cows, dogs, sheep, etc. that wolves have killed, maimed, or eaten.  

Below is a sample of depredation investigative reports completed by State DNR and Federal Wildlife Investigators.  Current or specific depredation reports can be obtained by emailing the Wisconsin DNR staff at Helen.Hartman@Wisconsin.gov.

In 2017, 59 Confirmed or Probable wolf incidents were documented by investigators from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) Wildlife Services is the subcontractor for the WI DNR doing investigations. APHIS can be contacted at 1-800-228-1368 in the north or 1-800-433-0663 in southern WI.

Wolf incidents include attacks on farm animals, pets, and hunting dogs. They also include threats to human safety and the safety of pets or other animals, and harassment.

The breakdown of confirmed or probable wolf incidents in 2017: 7 harassments, 18 hunting dog depredations, 2 pet depredations, one threat to human safety, and 31 farm depredations. Depredations by wolves mostly involve the death of an animal or animals. A few involve injuries to animals.

Counties that have had at least one confirmed or probable wolf incident in 2017: Clark (3), Bayfield (5), Portage (2), Douglas (16), Taylor, Dunn, Wood (2), Price (6), Marathon (3), Rusk, Burnett (7), Vernon, Langlade, Sawyer (6), Ashland, Juneau, Washburn and Adams.

Twenty-six other complaints were determined to be unconfirmed complaints. This means that there was not enough evidence present at the location to determine the cause of the attack. Wolves often consume prey in short order, and weather conditions may also erase track or other evidence. It is likely that some of these 26 incidents were also due to wolves.

Twenty two complaints were determined to be non-wolf. The vast majority were caused by coyotes.

To sign up for the new Livestock Instant Depredation Alert, scroll to the bottom of the DNR home page and click on the red envelope at the bottom right. A long list of information materials and updates is available on this site, including the Livestock Instant Depredation alert for damage by wolves, coyotes, and bears.


On November 19, 2017, a 3 day old calf was killed by wolves in a pasture in Douglas Co., as verified by USDA Wildlife Services staff. There were 15 wolf related attacks or livestock harassment incidents and one threat to human safety in Douglas Co. in 2017.

10-19-2017 Depredation Report

On October 28, 2017, USDA Wildlife Services staff verified a pet dog killed by wolves in Clark Co. The dog was an 8 year old female Welsh Corgi mix.

10-28-2017 Depredation Report

A verified health and human safety threat in the City of Superior resulted in the death of that wolf. The wolf was after deer in the train yard. The deer were present because train cars transporting corn had spilled some, and the deer gathered to enjoy the feast.

While other wolves in the pack scattered when people attempted to scare them away, one wolf showed no fear of humans, and did not respond to other dispersal techniques (hazing) such as loud noises and lights.

Because wolves are currently listed by the federal government as endangered, lethal controls are not allowed. The state had to apply for a special permit from the federal government to dispatch this habituated wolf, which was granted.

This was the first verified threat to human safety on the DNR list in 2017. Nine human safety incidents were confirmed in 2015, three in 2014, six in 2013, and none in 2016.

When wolves are raised around humans, they can become “habituated” to human activity and can be a threat to safety. In WI, the large blocks of vacant land were occupied by wolves long ago, so they have no choice but to live in close proximity to humans, even in northern WI.

11-19-2017 Depredation Report


The graph below shows the disturbing trend of increasing number of wolf depredations over the last 5 years.

               source: WI DNR Progress Reports/Annual Reports to USFWS

How many wolves inhabit Wisconsin?  Currently the Wisconsin DNR estimates a minimum count of 232 packs that have 925 to 956 wolves living in our state. The count is up 6.8% over last year's minimum count. (Note:  This is a minimum count and many believe the number is much higher.)

How many deer do wolves eat?  Check out the link below to review an analysis of the 2015 deer season vs. wolf deer kill by county in the Northern Forest Land

Please click the link below to see the relationship between the White-tailed deer harvest decline and the increase in unmanaged wolf population.