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

Wolf Summit ll is a redundant effort of lurid sensationalism

Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany and Representative Adam Jarchow organized a Great Lakes Wolf Summit  to lobby for the delisting of wolves from protections under the Endangered Species Act last fall in an effort to return them to state management. 

Last Fall’s Great Lakes Wolf Summit was a half-baked apple pie. This Wolf Summit was missing vital scientific input. Even Patrick Durkin, a freelance outdoor writer stated the obvious,  in an article in The Green Bay Gazette,  “For those reasons and more, expect the Tiffany-Jarchow wolf summit to simply restate best guesses and half-baked assumptions. But shouting them more loudly won’t make them true.”

A second Wolf Summit is being organzied by Wisconsin Wolf Facts.  The summit takes place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sugar Camp Town Hall on April 8th. There is an entry charge of $15.00, which includes coffee and lunch.  Laurie Groskopf, spokesperson for the group Wisconsin Wolf Facts, “says there’s a possiblity that Congress will move this year to delist wolves again, putting them back into the state’s hands along with an appeal in the court system.” 

There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in four states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN)

Wolves were returned to the safe-keeping of the endangered species list on December 19, 2014 in a court ruling that stated; “At times, a court must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough,” Howell wrote in the decision. “This case is one of those times.”

Wisconsin allowed the barbaric use of wolf hounding during two (2013-2014) of its trophy hunts on wolves. It’s no wonder that judge Howell ordered wolves placed back on the ESL considering Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves.


One of the organizers of Wolf Summit ll, Laurie Groskopf sits on the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Advisory Committee defined in the WI DNR website as a diverse group representing agency, non-agency, tribal and stakeholder interests, meets to propose wolf quota recommendations. Department leadership considers proposed quotas in developing department recommendations for Natural Resources Board approval.

The following is a little history of just how slanted the WDNR’s Wolf Advisory Committee has been: DNR secretary confirms That Wolf Hunt Opponents Were Removed From Advisory Committee. Cathy Stepp Says Staunch Hunting Opponents Weren’t Being Productive Members Of Advisory Body Thursday, June 26, 2014, By Chuck Quirmbach. Stepp confirmed what her critics have alleged: that wolf hunting opponents were by and large kicked off the committee.

Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  Source

At the first Great Lakes Wolf Summit held last September 2016, “A few wolves are OK,” said Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and a speaker at the summit. “They’re part of the system.” Peay and most others at the summit wanted to manage the wolf population by killing some off. Roughly 4,000 wolves roam the Great Lakes region.

Wolf Summit ll will have less speakers than the first summit. 

Groskopf said, “The other summit had more speakers, this summit has less speakers so each has more time. So I think there will be more give-and-take at this summit, so I think it’s a good thing to have more participation.” Source  Among the topics will be depredation control, counting wolves, state management, and wolf impacts among other topics. A study completed by the DNR last year found that Wisconsin’s wolf population is at its highest level in recorded history.

Wolf Summit ll is a redundant effort of lurid sensationalism because it’s political backers use carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. Wolf Summit ll is playing on fear, in order to return wolves back over to state management; for the sole purpose of holding a trophy wolf hunt.

Wolf Summit ll doesn’t intend to educate Wisconsin residents about how to live with wolves. It intends to push for a state managed wolf hunt; because they believe wolves are decimating the deer herds, destroying the livelihoods of livestock owners and killing a record number of hound hunting dogs. 

But the facts prove otherwise.

Facts such as as;  a lack of bear hunting regulations caused the increase of wolf depredations on hunting dogs, the largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) and 52 livestock depredations out of 3.50 million head, proves; there’s no-big-bad-wolf here. 

Wolf Summit ll backers believe 866 wolves are too many, and want a population cap of 350 wolves; that means a total of 516 wolves will be killed off in a state managed trophy hunt. 

That is; if Wisconsin citizens buy into Wolf Summit ll’s redundant efforts of lurid sensationalism. 

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