After a wolf attacked a hunting dog in a non-residential area of Upper Michigan last week, the DNR is asking people to use more caution while enjoying the wooded parks in the area.
The situation happened on March 29th about 200 yards off the Holyoke Trail in Marquette. The dog was training with a Beagle at the time and was baying at a rabbit when the wolf charged and bit its hind leg. The animal should make a full recovery.
According to DNR deputy public information officer John Pepin, the behavior was normal for the wolf because it was protecting its territory.
“The trail is in a non-residential area, where wild animals are often encountered,” he said in a statement. “The wolves are part of nature living around us. The hunting dogs were actively baying a hare, which likely attracted the wolf.”
The DNR did not know about the incident until a post by the hunter made rounds on social media. Once the department was aware, it contacted the dog’s owner.
The DNR Will Take No Action Against the Wolf that Attacked a Michigan Hunting Dog
The owner originally claimed on Facebook that the wolf “carried away” the hunting dog as he was watching. And he also stressed how “unintimidated” the attacker was. But Pepin said that no one should assume an animal is a wolf before a proper investigation. And in all cases, people should always report a presumed wolf attack.
Furthermore, the story proves that the owner was allowing his dogs to run in the park off-leash, which is illegal according to the Commercial Forest Act. And NTN trails clearly mark the law.
“Skiers and hikers frequenting the area are advised to keep their dogs on leashes,” Pepin added. “DNR conservation officers have been made aware of the situation.”
Luckily, the wolf is protected. And in no case can anyone kill the animals unless they pose a threat to humans. So the DNR will take no action.
“At no time did the wolf act aggressively toward the hunter,” Pepin shared. “This was not a human safety issue, as was confirmed by an investigation conducted by one of our DNR wildlife biologists. Rather, it was likely a wolf-canine territorial conflict.”
Wolf attacks on humans or pets are rare in Michigan. Over the past few years, there have been “less than half a dozen” reported annually. And the attack on the hunting dog was the first in Marquette Country in a decade.
To help hunters keep their animals safe, the DNR has created a map of wolf-dog conflicts in the state on its website. And the department also asks everyone to immediately report wolf attacks to the DNR Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800.