Is there another wolf in Illinois?
The Illinois River has attracted a wolf before.
And now Chicago Sun-Times outdoor writer Dale Bowman reports that there may be another wolf sighting along the Illinois River.
Meanwhile in Moline, continued sightings of what some claim is a wolf had the city council pondering hiring a trapper to snare the animal. Click here to read more from the Quad City Times about the Moline canine. Click here to read an earlier story about the Quad Cities wolf.
According to the Quad City Times, “While officials have not been able to confirm that a wolf is in Moline, enough residents have voiced concern to get the attention of Mayor Don Welvaert and Moline aldermen.” Here’s more from the Feb. 5, 2008 story:
“Welvaert said he and council members have received reports from residents claiming to have spotted a wolf. Welvaert has received two reports.
‘We’ve had several citizens complain about seeing wolves and supposed damage by wolves that coyotes could not do, and the perception is wolves are out there,’ Welvaert said. ‘I think we owe it to the citizens of Moline to do something to at least calm the fears.’
But at last night’s meeting, Moline aldermen decided not to spend money to try to trap Moline’s mystery canine. According to a story in the Quad City Times:
“City administrator Lew Steinbrecher said wolves are an endangered species protected by the federal government. To get a permit, officials would have to provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed evidence that there actually are wolves in the city and prove the animals are a threat to the community.
Ald. Dorothy Armstrong, 6th Ward, said she had a conversation with a representative from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources who said it was “highly unlikely” it was a wolf that killed a deer found recently in a Moline neighborhood.”
Thankfully, fear and loathing is much less prevalent in regards to the Chicago area sighting. In today’s column, Bowman writes:
“A fishing friend put me in contact with a Chicago businessman who saw what he believed to be a wolf several weeks ago near his second home along the Upper Illinois River Valley.
That’s as specific as I can be because the businessman is worried that somebody might try to hunt it down.
‘I can’t tell you for sure it is [a wolf],’ he said Tuesday. ‘I don’t know if he lives here. I didn’t track him.’
But he mentioned it to neighbors the next day, and one of them said, ‘Thank God somebody else saw it.’
Two nearby residents reported seeing it.
The storyteller is an experienced outdoors person who has seen wild wolves in Yellowstone and regularly sees coyotes, gray foxes and red foxes.”
Click here to read Bowman’s entire column.
Was it a wolf? Is the Moline canine a wolf? Possibly. If so they would join at least five other wolves thought to passed through Illinois in the past decade. Here is the recent history of wild wolves that likely spent time in Illinois.
- 2001—There’s a good chance another timber wolf wandered through Illinois this year. That radio-tagged animal left Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and journeyed more than 500 miles to northeastern Missouri, where it was shot by a hunter who believed he was killing a coyote.
- 2002—The first confirmed wild wolf in Illinois was shot by Randy Worker on Dec. 29, 2002 in Marshall County near Henry (also along the Illinois River). Worker was coyote hunting when he shot the wolf, which was thought to have wandered south out of Wisconsin.
- 2003—A wolf was killed in Indiana that was wearing a radio collar placed on it by Wisconsin researchers. Most believe this wolf passed through Illinois, even though nobody reported seeing it.
- 2005—The last wild wolf in the Chicago area was killed by a car in Lake County near the Chain O’Lakes State Park on Feb. 17, 2005. That wolf, too, was thought to have wandered south out of Wisconsin.
- 2005—The last confirmed timber wolf in Illinois was killed in December of 2005 in Pike County by Seth Hall, who was hunting coyotes near New Canton. The wolf was confirmed as wild and part of the Great Lakes pack orginating in Minnesota, Wisconsin or Michigan.
Will we soon be able to add another entry to this list? Time will tell. But hunters should be aware that timber wolves are a protected species in Illinois.