Timber wolves have made a tremendous recovery in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Wolves in Wisconsin has gone from a population of 25 wolves in 1980 to over 500 today. Wolves in Michigan and Minnesota have been equally successful with Minnesota now having nearly 3,000 wolves. [FWS] But what many deer hunters want to know today is how many deer are being killed by wolves.
The data on the subject might be a bit disappointing to whitetail hunters looking to blame low deer population numbers on wolves.
A few hunters continue to kill wolves, believing that such actions will help the deer herd. It is important to place in perspective the impact of wolves feeding on deer. Each wolf kills about 18 deer per year. Multiply this by the number of wolves found in Wisconsin in recent years (330), and approximately 5940 deer may be consumed by wolves annually. This appears as a fairly low when compared to over 40,000 deer hit by cars each year, and about 450,000 deer shot annually by hunters. [WI DNR]
So next time you are in your stand and see a wolf, try to enjoy the view and watch a predator at work.
If you wish to discuss wolf depredations on dogs or livestock, please do so here.