While wolves are better capable of hunting larger prey, their numbers in Iowa are so low that their presence is not likely to have a significant impact on the state's deer population. At the moment, we estimate that there are no more than five wolves in the entire state of Iowa at any given time. Wolves were once found across most of North America, but due to human activity they are now restricted to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Alaska.
Wolves are carnivores that belong to the canine family. They get their name from how they make their living: eating meat. Although they will eat other things when needed, like plants or animals, they are primarily meat-eaters.
Wolves are social animals that live in packs called clans. A pack can consist of one male and his several females plus their young. In the wild, wolves use scent, sound, and attack behavior to communicate with each other. They also use these methods to communicate with others such as other packs and humans.
Wolves range in size from about 40 pounds (18 kg) to over 100 pounds (45 kg). The average weight of a wolf is 50 to 70 pounds (23-33 kg). Males are usually bigger than females. Adults can live up to 12 years in the wild and 15 years in captivity. Wolves are naturally born deaf and blind, but they learn how to hunt and survive by watching their parents.
The coyote is Iowa's most prevalent big predator, yet they are not carnivores. Gray wolves have been observed in Iowa, although they are most likely from established breeding populations in northern Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin. They were recently removed from the federal list of endangered species.
The majority of animals that go missing are never found. If you lose an animal, please call or email us with as much information as possible. This includes where and when you last saw the animal, along with any details about its appearance or behavior that might help investigators find it.
Animals can be carried away by storms, torn apart by wild dogs, or lost forever by hunters' bullets. The possibility of your pet being run over by a vehicle, injured by a farm machine, or killed by a dog cannot be predicted. However, threats to pets exist in every part of the state. If you take measures to prevent one type of danger, others will arise. That's why it's important to keep your pet up-to-date on vaccinations and spay/neuter procedures.
Iowa has a low rate of pet ownership compared with other states. Only 50 percent of households in Iowa have a pet, which is lower than the national average of 60 percent. This means that there is a large population of pets that need protection outside of traditional family units.
These gray wolves are federally listed as an endangered species, which means there is no legal shooting season for them. Correct species identification is critical to avoiding legal issues if a hunter unintentionally shoots a wolf roaming in Iowa. Wolves often look like dogs or coyotes, so make sure that you have correctly identified your target before firing.
If you do shoot a wolf in Iowa, the best thing to do is report the incident immediately so that we can collect the carcass and try to identify it. Wolves travel in packs and have been known to attack humans. If you encounter a pack of wolves, stay away from them and let them go about their business.
Wolves were once found throughout most of North America, but due to loss of habitat and prey base, they are now restricted to small areas within northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Alaska. There are also isolated populations in western South Dakota, eastern Wyoming, and Utah.
The U.S. government currently classifies wolves as a "threatened species". This means that although they are not legally protected, federal agencies cannot destroy these animals outright. Rather, they can limit the activities of threatened species by prohibiting certain types of hunting and trapping on public lands.
Montana had around 60 wolves in the 1990s. Today, its wolf population is projected to be 800 to 1,200, owing to what has been dubbed "one of the most successful conservation reintroductions in U.S. history," according to Nick Gevock, conservation director of Montana Wildlife Federation. The federal government removed protections for wolves across most of Canada and America, allowing them to re-enter managed populations.
Wolves were eliminated from Montana during a decade-long battle over livestock damage. In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that Montana's wolf population was no longer viable and ordered managers to remove all wolves from the state, according to the National Wolf Center. At the time, there were about 350 wolves in seven western states.
The service reversed itself under political pressure but did not issue another ruling until 2012, when it determined that the population had again recovered enough to warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. That same year, Wyoming also declared its wolf population stable and entitled to protection under the act.
In Montana, where wolves had been eradicated, biologists tried to establish a new population by capturing animals outside the state and bringing them in. But only two of these transplants have survived more than six months, which is less than one percent survival rate, Gevock said.
So far, every wolf born in Montana has been captive-bred or smuggled in from other states.