What’s the truth about U.P. wolves?

To the Journal editor:

In his letter to the editor published May 15, Richard P. Smith repeated old undocumented claims of two hunters he interviewed claiming to have been treed by wolves. Mr. Smith first reported these claims in the November 2010 issue of the Woods-n-Water News.

After reading his article I contacted DNR and then wrote the following response to Mr. Smith on Nov. 5 2010:

In your November issue Richard Smith reported as fact a story from Rory Mattson who claims he was treed by a growing big male wolf adding, “I’m guessing he would have weighed 140 to 150 pounds.”

Sorry, but here is another story that doesn’t pass the smell test.

First, as of a couple weeks ago, when this guy’s story was first aired on Marquette’s TV 6 Discovering, we contacted DNR to see if this “Bold Wolf” episode had ever been reported to them, for if true, DNR would likely kill this wolf.

Guess what? No, it was never reported to them. Thus no investigation, no kill site located, no wolf tracks, no handy spruce tree to climb and no bold wolf to chase berry pickers up trees next summer. Just this guy’s story meant to scare folks into believing in big bad wolves.

As volunteer Carnivore Trackers for Wisconsin DNR, my wife and I have tracked wolves for 15 years and have also met with dozens of biologists and researchers who have tracked, trapped, collared and handled hundreds (thousands) of wild wolves from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska (and Canada), and never has this or anything like it happened to any of them.

According to Michigan DNR, of the 347 Michigan wolves that have been captured and handled in Michigan, the heaviest was 114 pounds and the average weight was 72 pounds.

Also, the alleged “Jonet incident” was never reported to them either.

According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dogs are responsible for “more than 4.7 million” injuries per year and, on average, 16 human fatalities.

To report something as fact, Mr. Smith should be required to do a little more investigation. Did he ask Mr. Mattson why he never reported this incident to DNR?

Facts would indicate Mr. Mattson is far more likely to have been treed by a neighbor’s dog than a wild wolf (but that would not make as good a story).

AL WARREN

Ewen