20 hunting dogs have been killed since July as they come into contact with wolves.
Typically, the dogs are trained to hunt bear in July and August. During that time, the dogs are in the woods and come into contact with wolves who have young, especially near what are called rendezvous sites.
DNR Large Carnivore Specialist David MacFarland says the depredation numbers are up...
"....more than last year. Last year was unusually low with 8 or 9 dogs killed. But it's a return to previous averages. In the last 5 or 6 years we've averaged in the high teens low twenties for hound depredations in the state...."
MacFarland says the timing of the bear hunting dogs in the woods...in July and August conflicts with the wolves pup rearing time...
"....that's during the bear hound training season when the (wolf)packs are very protective of these rendezvous sites and so we have heightened risk during that period of the year. That risk starts to tail off as we get later into September and into October...."
One hound was killed last Thursday in Iron County, two hounds were killed Sunday, including one in Lincoln county. The bear hunting season runs until October 20.