Citizen Science at Work
4:44 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

DNR: Calling All Wolf Trackers

DNR officials are asking for volunteers to help with the state’s winter wolf count.  

Volunteers must take a training course to learn to identify different animal tracks.
Credit Paul White

  DNR Carnivore Biologist Jane Wiedenhoeft says those numbers go into determining the state’s wolf hunting quota. 

“It’s extremely important to us.  It’s not our only source of data for the winter count, but it is a major source of data.”

Wolves are the main counting target, but trackers will also note signs of other carnivores. 

At least two days of training required to get familiar with different animal tracks and the basics of wolf ecology.

Wiedenhoeft says the program began in 1995, when DNR staffing wasn’t keeping pace with the state’s wolf population. 

“We did some statistical analysis, comparing the volunteers data to our staff tracker data, and found that once the volunteers were experienced enough, we really couldn’t tell the difference between the data they were collecting and our own data.”

Officials are looking for at least 150 people who will each complete three surveys in an area over the course of the winter.  Survey blocks focus on the northern and central parts of Wisconsin. 

Required classes are offered locally at Treehaven and Trees for Tomorrow, as well as in other parts of the state.