Gray Wolves and White-tailed Deer are Coexisting Very Well in Wisconsin

“Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves and Deer

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs.

Producing a trophy White-tailed deer

Minnesota has developed one of the largest deer herds in the nation while simultaneously restoring the gray wolf to an estimated 3,000 animals. Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white-tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.
Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website

Wisconsin’s White-tailed doe with fawns photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Considering that all the data points to “wolves and deer are coexisting very well” why do we only hear negative news about the gray wolf? Case in point From a staunch anti wolf website. Wisconsin Wolf Facts claims that Gray wolves killed more deer than hunters. The cherry picked data claims wolves are killing more deer than the gun-deer hunters in the 2019 season:

“Gray wolves are now responsible for killing more white-tailed deer in four counties of one Great Lakes state than annual the number of deer killed by gun-hunters, according to data released this week by Wisconsin Wolf Facts.” The group is headed by Lauri Groskopf, a hunter that lost two dogs to wolves while bear hunting a few years back.

Wisconsin Gray wolves photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Misleading the public

The following table is being widely distributed to pro wolf hunting groups in the hopes that if gray wolves get delisted this cherry picked data will serve as proof that a wolf hunt is needed.

Table from Wisconsin Wolf Facts shows incomplete data from Wisconsin White -tailed deer hunt 2019

The above table only shows results from gun-harvest summarizes for 2019. This table conveniently scapegoats the gray wolf, proving it’s biased data. In reality when WDNR data of Deer Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000.

Deer Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests From WDNR 2019

Gray wolves in Wisconsin’s Northern and central forests are helping to keep white-tailed deer healthy by culling the weak, the sick and the old. Gray wolves are providing Wisconsin’s deer hunter with a stronger and healthier White-tailed deer.

Science versus anti wolf bias

A single gray wolf while hunting comes across an abandoned White-tailed deer bed, and gently blows upon it causing all the particles to flow up into the wolf’s olfactory sense. The wolf then can determine if the blood in the tick, that fell off the deer the night before, contains pus in it.

Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000. Photograph of black bear credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Perhaps White-tailed deer have become wise to deer baiting and may be eating at night while hunters are sleeping. Today’s white-tailed deer hunter sits in a tree stand waiting for an unsuspecting deer to approach and eat the corn or apples used for deer bait.

The baiting of White-tailed deer for hunting is allowed only in areas where there is no CWD present.
Wolves have a sense of smell 100 times greater than humans and they use this keen sense while hunting. Photo credit NPS

In summary

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs. “Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website