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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Recent wolf attacks raise concerns in Ely area

Keith Vandervort
Posted 2/25/21

ELY - A dog out for a run with its owner near Burntside Lake last Thursday had an encounter with a wolf after the dog ran into the woods. The dog sustained injuries that required surgery.The …

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Recent wolf attacks raise concerns in Ely area


ELY - A dog out for a run with its owner near Burntside Lake last Thursday had an encounter with a wolf after the dog ran into the woods. The dog sustained injuries that required surgery.
The dog’s owner reported the incident to the Department of Natural Resources according to Chad Richardson, communications director for the International Wolf Center.
A second encounter occurred last Friday around noon on Little Long Lake with what was believed to be the same pack of wolves, Richardson said. Local residents Russ and Cathy Vanderboom reported their dog was involved in the second encounter.
“Just before noon, I took our dog for a run on the lake,” Cathy Vanderboon said. “As I watched from the dock (and) our dog ran around the bay, I saw a large light-colored wolf coming off the point, about 100 yards from me and the same distance from our dog. A second black wolf was further south on the lake, several hundred yards away. I blew the dog whistle, and our dog came in. I continued blowing the whistle loud and long until the wolf moved off.”
Russ Vanderboom said he found two deer kill spots about 100 yards south of the couple’s house, and at least four sets of wolf tracks coming from the west across Little Long from Burntside Lake.
Lori Schmidt, Wolf Curator at the International Wolf Center, manages the wolf helpline, a resource for local residents to report wolf issues and receive advice and consultations with local wildlife management agencies.
“While wolves are typically territorial toward other canids, they may have an increased response to dogs during the breeding season in late February through early March, as well as after the pups are born later this spring while denning and in summer when raising pups,” she said.
“This winter may have an additional challenge due to snow depth.  A winter with limited snow can be good for deer as they have an easier time eluding wolves, but obviously, hungry wolves can be more bold in behavior,” Schmidt added.
“Wolves can be drawn to areas where people may be feeding deer or other wildlife because of the potential for concentrations of prey and increased opportunities to kill deer. Occasionally they’re attracted to the food source that people are providing other wildlife or pets as well,” Schmidt said. 
What to do
Although attacks of dogs may be rare it is easy for these situations to develop quickly and happen unexpectedly.
“It’s best to be cautious when recreating in areas where your dog may encounter wolves,” Schmidt advised.
She offered safety recommendations for dogs and people for living and recreating in wolf country.
• People with pets should avoid areas where wolves have been sighted until time passes or no additional wolf observations/incidents occur.
• Keep dogs on leash, so wolves are less likely to approach people.
• Don’t allow dogs to run loose or range away and keep them in close contact and control.
• Don’t try to intervene if a dog is actively being attacked.
• Carry bear/pepper spray. It can be used to deter an attack or if a wolf is actively attacking a dog.  


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We need a rational biological wolf season at least somehow to put the wild back into the population. We don't need town or local neighborhood wolves that are tame. Maybe a season that exists only close to roads or cities to start?

Monday, March 1