The University of Wisconsin Press

Natural History / Wisconsin


The Timber Wolf in Wisconsin
The Death and Life of a Majestic Predator
Richard P. Thiel
With a Foreword by L. David Mech

A North Coast Book

In early 1958, in the far northern town of Cornucopia, Wisconsin's "last" timber wolf was accidentally run over by an automobile. The "humane" intention to end the animal's suffering produced a grisly aftermath: the wolf survived the impact of the car, was bludgeoned with a tire iron twice but survived, and finally had its throat slit with a restaurant knife.

This horrifying scene is certainly an apt (if appalling) symbol of the timber wolf's early fate in Wisconsin. Feared, detested, hunted down for state-authorized bounties, the animal was systematically exterminated as an enemy of man and progress. Yet this bleak chapter in the history of conservation has a happier ending. Seventeen years later, in 1975, the timber wolf had officially reestablished itself and, as a protected species, is now flourishing under the care of Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources.

Few can be more caring than the author, a DNR educator in wildlife management. As an inquisitive teenager, Richard Thiel began his pursuit of the Wisconsin timber wolf's story in the mid-1960s and has been at it ever since. The result is this arresting, intensely readable book, a story of fear, mistrust, and misunderstanding that ends, thankfully, as one of hope and appreciation.

Richard P. Thiel is coordinator of the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center in Babcock, Wisconsin. He was chair of Wisconsin's wolf recovery plan team in the late 1980s. He is also the author of Keepers of the Wolves, published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

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cover of Thiel's book is an old sepia photo of a hunter holded a dead wolf aloft

January 1994

320 pp.  6 x 9
30 halftones, 5 figs., 2 maps

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Paper $24.95 t
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