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Illinois hunting and fishing

Three wolves in Illinois in 2010?

March 18, 2010 at 10:44 AM

This has already been an unusually busy year for wolf watchers in Illinois.

Since January, at least three credible reports of large canines have surfaced out of northern Illinois.

Closest to home was a shiny-toothed rascal shot near Walnut in Bureau County last week by a coyote hunter. Though details are sketchy and genetic testing has not been conducted, that may well be the sixth wild wolf confirmed in Illinois and the second this year.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Another large, wolf-like canine was shot near Big Rock in northern Illinois in January according to Bob Bluett, furbearer biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. “It was taller than the guy when it was hanging from its hind feet,” Bluett said.

And just this week Bob Coine of Oregon came forward with a trail-camera picture taken on March 9 that appears to show a live wolf walking along the edge of a corn field.

“A picture doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s sure a whopping good candidate,” Bluett said.

Beyond reports that include some proof are a rash of recent sightings from near Tiskilwa, Toulon and elsewhere.

Is Illinois suddenly overrun with canis lupus? Will the soulful howls of timber wolves become commonplace in the Prairie State?

“It’s hard to tell a wolf from a coyote at 150 yards. If somebody comes clean, it’s been my perception that (federal investigators) can accept the fact a mistake was made,” Bluett said. “But it somebody starts shipping hides and doing other stuff, they get in a corner as to how much they can follow federal rules for endangered species and where that line is.”

Most biologists believe wolf numbers in Illinois are very low. That view may change if somebody turns in a female wolf or some young pups.

But late winter is prime time for young male wolves to get booted from their pack and to wander.  Those are the wolves we’ve seen in Illinois, whose wanderings prove the journey from Wisconsin is very doable for a four-legged canine looking for love.

The first confirmed wild wolf in Illinois was shot on Dec. 29, 2002 by Randy Worker in Marshall County. I still remember fielding that call and thinking, “No way is this a wolf.”

Since then we’ve had three other wolves killed in Illinois and a handful dispatched in neighboring states. That’s why I’m now quicker to believe callers who cry wolf. Actually, I’m surprised when a year passes without a dead wolf.

Then again, barring changes in federal status, wolf reports may dry up in the future. More hunters are aware it is illegal to shoot wolves in Illinois, since the canines are protected as both a federal and state endangered species. I bet a handful of timber wolves had already bit the dust in recent years without so much as a mention.

That’s true even though wolf shooters typically go unpunished in Illinois. “It’s hard to tell a wolf from a coyote at 150 yards,” Bluett said. “If somebody comes clean, it’s been my perception that (federal investigators) can accept the fact a mistake was made.”

Beyond concerns about repercussions, wolves are starting to create other worries.

Coine fears for personal safety. “I am genuinely concerned,” he said. “I’ve spent time in wolf country in Alaska, the Arctic and Canada. Wolves are predators and there are certain things that trigger them to attack.”

Others says top-line predators could put even more pressure on the Illinois deer herd.

Personally I see both concerns as an overreaction given the current status — even in the wake of news that a jogger was apparently killed by two wolves in Alaska this week.

In my mind, while there is limited suitable wolf habitat in parts of Illinois, there are too many people, cars and roads for the big predators to last very long.

Then again, as Bluett notes, “I think (wolves) have proven to be a lot more adaptable than people once thought.”

A lot more widespread in Illinois this year, too.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

HawgsNsonsTV, a few years back my oldest son did a science fair project called “The Scoop on Poop” and examined the diets of several mammals and birds (coyotes, racoons, deer, and falcons).
.........
One thing was abundantly clear (next to the all pervasive roundworms). Coyotes hunt and kill the apex nest raider in large quantities :^)
........
“Even found a scat pile that looked like it contained predominately coyote fur”
.........
What goes around comes around, and then it gets shat on the forest floor.

Posted by Henry Holt on 03/25 at 08:14 PM

Henrys holt ...PLEASE it’s HawgNSonsTV!!! apex nest raider? hmmmm… I had to Google that and am still not clear on what that is. Can you elaborate? And about the scat…that’s No shat!

Posted by HawgNSonsTV on 03/26 at 03:04 AM

AJ strawman arguments? I post information for an entire state less than a year old, done by and elk preservation orginization. You post for two zones one of which never had many elk originaly. Does it matter when the report I pulled that little bit of info on the area was written? Maybe I should look for a newer one perhaps Lewis and Clark have updated their original assesment? I doubt it.
..
Obviously you have no clue as to why an animal such as a deer yards up. You see there is a saying saftey in numbers, now add that most of the places they do yard up also gives them an edge for getting through winter i.e places with less snow, wind, more sun exposure and you get nothing near an elk caught in deep snow trying to escape a predator, so no even yarded up I doubt it would be a slaughter fest. In fact give it a shot some time try and sneak within 10 yards of yarded deer let me know how that works out for you. Should be easy for anything to sneak up on all those ears, noses and eyes.
..
My point is this, we should all be concerned about wildlife diversity and conservation, not just focus on one species. Now I’m not saying we need thousands, but I’m sure the state could handle a few packs with little overall impact, like I said before the number of deer they would take could be offset easily by selling a few less doe tags and don’t give me the money for the DNR excuse. They sold a lot less tags back in the days of the check stations and still did just fine. Not that it matters really, unless they come in on their own, (which to me would be the best way as would show something is working if they moved in)I just don’t see any reintroduction of any of the species talked about on here. Face it this state is just stagnant at this point.
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I agree Jeff this has been a great thread, I think in the past we just had a few bad seeds on here. Now at least we can all agree to disagree over things

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 07:03 AM

Bob Coine—The pictures you posted from the trail cam are awesome.  Really appreciated all the other information you posted and the commentary.  Good stuff…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 09:33 AM

I think anyone who shoots a Wolf should be “drawn and quartered”.  They ARE an Endangered species, and they are beautiful animals.  Native Americans, me being a decendent, lived in peace with the Wolf. We can as well.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 10:29 AM

Your straw man argument was the nonsense about eliminating vehicles.  Lots of straw man arguments on these posts – we kill lots of deer, so we need wolves.  Driving to my tree stand is dangerous, so we need wolves.  Cars kill deer, so we need wolves.  Straw man arguments are used when you have no good arguments to support your side of the debate.


OK fine – elk numbers in the entire state of Idaho are stable.  Please tell me why that is relevant?  The reason I posted those numbers is to demonstrate what having a relatively large concentration of wolves, in any given area, would do to the local population of deer, elk, moose, whatever.  My original point was – how would you like an 80% reduction of deer numbers in the area you hunt?  You might be fine with that, I am not and I suspect most deer hunters would agree with me.  The - ‘elk numbers are fine in the entire country’ argument, is another argument of the pro-wolf/anti-hunter crowd you are doing such a good job of supporting.


http://www.biggamehunt.net/sections/Politics/Rocky-Mtn-Elk-Foundation-Calls-Out-Wolf-Groups-03011012.html


I have no clue?  That is funny, because this statement is almost as ridiculous as your post about wolves generating revenue.


“Obviously you have no clue as to why an animal such as a deer yards up. You see there is a saying saftey in numbers”


Deer in Illinois ‘yard up’ so they can better tolerate the WINTER.  Are you suggesting they herd up to protect themselves from wolves?  Why aren’t they herded up all year long?  If ‘herding up’ is for protection they should be in herds at all times, with the only exception being a doe leaving the herd to have a fawn and returning when the fawn can run.  If a wolf pack comes across one deer they will kill that one deer.  If a wolf pack came across a herd of 30 deer it would be like sharks in bloody water.  Herding is detrimental to protection from wolves.  You’re the one with no clue and the 10 yard stuff is your typical nonsense.


Yes – the IDNR is in fine financial shape and I am sure loosing some revenue from lower tags sales will be no problem.  Add to that future ‘wolf management’ expenses that I am sure will also have no impact on our flush state game agency.


Everyone make note that Cougs is fine with the idea of - wolves taking away opportunities from human hunters.


One last point.  You said “one of which never had many elk originaly”  When is originally?  At what point in time is ‘originally.’  Should we use elk population and distribution at the time of lewis and clark as the base line for all future elk herds?  Elk numbers go up and down.  What is good elk habitat now, will be poor habitat in 30 years.  What is poor now might be great in the future.  So what?  For the sake of this debate all I am concerned about is the affect wolves have on elk/deer numbers.  They have a devastating affect and that is indisputable.  Unless of course you are in the “wolves actually result in an overall increase in game animal numbers because they kill the sick and the weak” camp?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 11:54 AM

AJ—Of course deer yard up for safety.  It’s just like schools of fish, flocks of birds, caribou, etc.  It’s like the old joke about two guys meeting a bear in the woods…the guy who escapes is faster then the guy that gets caught.  Same with deer…the slow, the old, the weak are the easy targets.

And I’ve seen changes in deer behavior over the last three years.  Use to be you’d see them in ones or two, maybe three at a time.  Now it almost always three or more, regardless of the time of year.  Maybe it’s because this place is so over-run with deer that it only seems like they are grouping, but it could also be because of predatory pressures.

And the comment about “taking away opportunities from human hunters”?  We humans have taken more out of the environment than most people can even begin to appreciate.  But since we gone this far without much regard or fore-thought, why stop now?  Is that it?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 12:15 PM

HawgNSonsTV you can’t google it ‘cause I made it up.
Just having a little fun :^) Anyway, the coyote scat when shat was full of racoon hair and bone.

Posted by Henry Holt on 03/26 at 12:29 PM

And the comment about “taking away opportunities from human hunters”?  We humans have taken more out of the environment than most people can even begin to appreciate.  But since we gone this far without much regard or fore-thought, why stop now?  Is that it?


I don’t disagree with that spoon.  But - in the context of this debate bringing back wolves is not the answer.  Good ol homo sapien is capable of managing the deer herd in IL.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 12:41 PM

AJ—You are correct…we are capable.  But isn’t there any room for the natural return of a native species…even if represents competition?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 12:48 PM

I am all for the return of: eagles, bobcats, otters, elk, etc. and have already stated that I would be more inclined to support the return of black bears and mountain lions (relative to wolves). 


Wolves are simply too destructive, create too many problems for too many people and are more inclined to be out of control from a population standpoint.  Once that toothpaste is out of the tube you can not get it back in.  Think long and hard about supporting wolves, you will likely regret it if we ever have a breeding population.


Unfortunately in the state of IL there is no room for wolves, but there are plenty of other places you can go see them anytime you want.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 01:28 PM

Henry Holt ... lol…great Scott, that was intellectually stimulating!

Posted by HawgNSonsTV on 03/26 at 02:59 PM

Hello to you all. I’m not a hunter bust I just read all the posts. Very cool. I saw Bob Coine’s article and had contacted him earlier this week. My wife an i have donea lot of Hiking and Camping in Northern, WI and the UP, specifically in Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. Living on the South Side of Chicago with a 5 and 6 yera old, we take them hiking in the Palos Forest Preserves alot since neither of us had that opportunity growing up and we believe it’s so important to show your children Nature!! So the day after Thanksgiving 2009 around 8:30 A.M. my wife and I were hiking in the Palos Forest Preserves (Cook County) and startled what I thought was a huge Coyote about 20 to 30 feet off the trail. It stared at us turned and started trtting into the woods and then I saw 3 to 5 other animals get up and trot in the woods, like we either woke them or came upon them eating?? Hands down the coolest experience I’v ever had in the woods. The first thing I said to my wife was that looked loke a wolf and she agreed. At the time we wrote it off as some Giant Coyotes thriving on all the deer in the Forest Preserevs, but now seeing Bob’s picture there’s no way we saw acoyote. Just curious what you all think of the possibility that there are wolves in the Palos Preserves?? It is 9,000 acres and is linked up with the canal’s and river’s that go to the Mississippi. Anyway for a non hunter and someone that uses the woods why wouldn’t we want wolves back. My kids should be more worried about some 17 year old texting while driving than getting attacked in the woods. Peace to you all and don’t forget the Good Ole Grateful Dead’s song, Dire Wolf!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 05:44 PM

If you want wolves…than it would be great…If you want deer, it’s not going to be good. I’ve said it many times…The Wolves WILL be here, It’s just a matter of time!!! It’s very probable you seen wolves ...and the HOGS will be here before long also…ONLY if when could genetically alter the wolf to eat only HOGS ....MAN there is ANOTHER GREAT Idea from HawgNSonsTV ....I really need to start getting PAID!!!!

Posted by HawgNSonsTV on 03/26 at 10:13 PM

Aj—I must disagree.  There’s plenty of room in Illinois for wolves.  Hell, they are already in the neighborhood, I’ve seen them.  Why would I want to leave home when they’ve come to me?

As for the hogs, it puzzles me as to why they are not here already.  Now there’s an animal I’d be happy to shoot on sight.  I don’t mind competing against a wolf, but hogs just tear hell out of everything.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 10:53 PM

Yesterday we went to download pictures off the trial cams.  Those pictures indicated that the deer are continuing to remained bunched up…day and night.  Riding around the farm, we saw two groups of deer…a group of seven and a group of eight.  To me, this seems abnormal from what I’ve seen in the past.  It looks like they are herding up for protection.

Is anyone else seeing this behavior?  Or are the deer in your area running in ones and twos?  Any explanations…I’d love to hear some opinions….

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 10:59 AM

Three quick points

I have never seen so much mis-information on one topic in my life, a lot from hunters, SCARY.

Point two. Like my Dad used to tell us, if you can’t figure out what you are shooting then you probably shouldn’t shoot it. “Wolves look a lot like Coyotes at 150 yds.” Hmmm So do dogs! Probably do the 3 S’s for a dog too. You give hunters a bad name.

Point three.
The wolves hunt coyotes because they are competitors. They don’t “kill them for fun”. Way too many Walt Disney movies being watched by folks. The wolves keep the coyote population in check.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/02 at 10:50 AM

“I have never seen so much mis-information on one topic in my life, a lot from hunters, SCARY.”

If this ‘point’ is in response to any of my post, please point out the misinformation.  The last thing I want to do is misinform.  Thanks…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/03 at 09:37 PM
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/09 at 09:36 AM

Yeah links work good, just wondering why bears are in between a couple of () when talking about fawn recruitment, when in fact they have been credited with killing more fawns than wolves and are increasing in numbers as well?
..
Not saying the wolves should not be manged and that is a good point brought up by those articles.
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My last question is how did elk keep from going extinct, man has lived and hunted these species before modern times, so man really isn’t new to the mix. So whats different now? Enviromental,over harvest, disease? Common sense says to me that no one factor can be the sole reason and I would like to see one study on a predator species other than man hunting its prey to extinction.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/11 at 01:56 PM

No reason that Illinois should be left out of the wolf fun!  Six states currently have over a million in predation, predation management, and unconfirmed predation costs per state per year.  All six states can give you examples where this killer have effected prey populations.  The pro-wolf lobby would love to add Maine, Colorado, Oregon & Washington into the fun!  The best part of the fun is when the Feds (& pro-wolf groups) give up management of this non-endangered animal they try to bow out of the annual cost to maintain them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/14 at 07:55 PM

Its ridculous that these hunters are trying to use these lame ass excuses to cover up killing protected wolfs in illinois an that they keep getting away with nothin more than a dont make the mistake again smile BULLSHIT ALL OF IT ya know what they s hould just ban coyote hunting so then you hunters cant use the lame ass excuse or better yet   just start slapping people with the fine an sticking them inprison wether they knew it was or not how about that? could happen ya know maybe if you stop an look at these wolfs as if they were human just like you an me you’d see they are only trying to surive to feed their familys just liek you an me to protect their loved ones just like we do an when a stranger with a gun comes walking on your land what you gunna do ? let him kill u ?  or fight back ?  this is how the wolfs see things they only try to surive nothing more i do not belive they kill for sport an i hope that on day maybe their will be a bill passed a no excuses bill for these wolfs an other animals an then maybe you’ll think twice before pulling a trigger !

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/27 at 06:57 AM

I believe there ARE wolves living in il. last year , nov 2010 we spotted a canine in the field behind our house in northern Il.too large for a coyote, very dark with whitish underbelly stickstraight tail with caudual mark on tail. for weeks after we watched it and took pictures. during the winter we tracked it singletracks, not dog tracks.measuring 3 1/2 by 3 ”  not huge, but way bigger than a coyote. we saw it again in may 2011, clearly shedding its winter coat. now a much lighter grey. but with same face. we took the pictures to wolf park in Ind. and monty sloan studied them and believes it is a wolf!maybe young or female, which would account for it being not as large.they said it was the first time in their history that someone from Il brought them pictures of a wolf living there!since then we have heard it howling at night. truely a beautiful sound. one night, my dog began howling along with it. this animal is deathly afraid of being seen bt people and would hide whenever it heard anything. we watched it, and noone knew it was even there, except us!we have multiple forest preserves around us and think it is living in them.we are waitin for enough snow to fall so we can track it again this winter. obvoiusely its keeping a low profile. I dont believe it is a danger to anyone, except small animals. I just hope it stays around. they are not bloodthirsty and only kill for food, the only animals that kill for sport are HUMANS!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/21 at 02:44 PM

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