UPDATE: Visitors return to wildlife area after wolf threat - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Visitors return to wildlife area after wolf threat

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ADAMS (WKOW) -- Visitors return to a state wildlife area near Adams Friday after officials say threatening encounters with wolves appear to be over.

Department of Natural Resources officials say on two separate occasions in recent weeks, wolves aggressively approached hunters in the Colburn Wildlife Area.

Officials say a hunter says he encountered three wolves Sept. 23 and when the animals appeared poised to attack, he shot and wounded one of the animals and they ran off.

Authorities say a father and son hunting deer Oct. 10 were approached by aggressive wolves, and fired warning shots, scaring off the animals.

A portion of the state preserve was then closed off as traps were set.

Wisconsin formerly had a wolf hunt, but a court decision last year restored the animal to the endangered species list, ending the hunt,  Officials say the trapping took place under an exception that allows capture and killing of animals if they are threats to human beings.


DNR carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland says no wolves were captured in traps.

MacFarland says signs of wolf activity in the wildlife area included tracks, scat and disturbed tree bark.  

MacFarland says the wolves used the area as a rendezvous point as part of pup rearing.  He says it's an activity that takes place in the summer, and the wolves have moved on to other habitat.

Officials say the wolves' aggression was likely a product of their proximity to activity in the state preserve.

DNR officials estimate the state's gray wolf population at approximately seven hundred animals.

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ADAMS (WKOW) -- Trapping for wolves in a state wildlife area in Adams County ends Friday, as wildlife specialists say the threat from the animals appears over, after hunters had two frightening encounters.

The gray wolf is an endangered species, but department of natural resources officials say threats to human beings allowed an exception to the federal protection. 

Officials say no wolves were trapped in the Colburn Wildlife Area.  They say signs of wolves were detected in a portion of the state preserve.  Officials say the wolves appear to have moved on after using the area to rear pups.

Officials say hunters in both September and October were confronted by aggressive wolves.  They say one hunter says he shot and wounded a wolf, while another hunter fired warning shots.

Wisconsin's wolf hunt was halted when a federal court last year restored the animal's protection as endangered.

Tony Galli is digging deeper and will have more on 27 News at 6.

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