Despite trapping 12, DNR offical says wolves not a danger in areaPublished 11:15am Thursday, November 1, 2012
Twelve timberwolves were trapped by Wildlife Services in eastern Otter Tail County this fall, but Department of Natural Resources officials say Fergus Falls area residents have nothing to worry about.
“Occasionally we will see one pass through, but there are not a lot of wolves around the Fergus Falls area,” said DNR area wildlife manager Don Schultz.
Wildlife Services trapped the wolves because of livestock depredation issues. Livestock are easy meals for hungry wolf packs, he said.
According to Schultz, Otter Tail County’s “wolf country” is the northeastern portion of the county around New York Mills and Butler. This desolate area is where resident breeding packs have been found, he said.
Some residents have expressed concern that livestock attacks might become a bigger problem when the deer population is thinned out after rifle hunting season, but Schultz said even though deer are a common source of food for wolves, hunting season probably won’t affect the livestock issue.
“I don’t think the livestock issue has anything to do with the deer,” he said.
Schultz said he doesn’t think residents have to worry about human attacks either.
“I’m only aware of two instances where a person has been attacked by a wolf, and one was in Alaska and the other was in Canada,” he said. “They are very very rare circumstances. Wolves are predators, but attacks are rare.”
Dogs are a different story. Almost every year, dogs are killed by wolves in Otter Tail County. Schultz cautions residents living in wolf country to keep dogs inside at night and not let them get too far from home because wolves are territorial and don’t like other canines around.