Animal had strayed from north before it was killed
By Bob Peryea
State wildlife officials have determined a hunter illegally shot a wolf in Spring Prairie Township during the deer gun hunting season in November.
The hunter, whose name was not released, received a citation.
According to Game Warden Juan Gomez of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the hunter shot the animal on land owned by someone else, a violation of state hunting laws.
A wolf in this part of the state is rare, but not unprecedented.
In explaining the presence of the wolf in Walworth County, Gomez said, “This is not traditional wolf range. This was a disperser from the northern part of the state.”
Dispersers, he explained, are generally young males who have left or been forced out of their pack and go out in search of their own territory and a mate.
“This is not the first one (this far south),” he said. “One was spotted in Black River Falls. Another – one with one of our radio collars on it – was found in Illinois.” Another wolf was found in Dane County.
Gomez said it was unlikely that there are many more wolves in the area.
Many of the illegal wolf shootings occur, according to Gomez, when people mistake a wolf for a coyote. Hunters are cautioned to learn the difference, as shooting the wrong animal may lead to a citation.
The wolf shot in Spring Prairie Township fit the profile of dispersed wolf: it was a young male that appeared to be searching for a range and a mate of his own.