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Wolves from Wisconsin migrating towards Illinois


UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin wolves are moving southward to Illinois, where it might be a while before that state decides what to do about them. Wisconsin had an estimated 800-plus wolves before the recent hunt dropped that number by about 250. Only a few wolves have been spotted in Illinois, but officials there are starting to draft possible management plans in case a pack ever gets settled there.

Most of Wisconsin's wolves remain in the northern half of the Badger State, but Joe Kath of the Illinois D-N-R says one pack has settled close to the state line near Beloit. Also, lone wolves have been known to roam up to 500 miles in search of mates.

Illinois has had at least five wolf sightings in the last three years. It's a relative pittance compared to Wisconsin, which has had an active re-introduction program since the 1970's. Still, concerns get raised whenever someone's arrested for killing a wolf in Illinois. Several wolf shootings have occurred in Jo Daviess County in northwest Illinois along the Wisconsin border. One shooting drew attention from federal prosecutors. Another hunter thought he was shooting a coyote.