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Wolves kill 17 prized sheep in Price County, leave farming couple to rebuildSubmitted: 06/24/2016
BUTTERNUT - When sheep farmers Paul and Judy Canik checked on their pasture on the morning of May 31, their curiosity soon turned to shock.

Wolves had killed 17 of the couple's most valuable sheep. They had slaughtered 17 bighorn ewes.

"It was terrible to see them laying there dead like that, torn apart and stuff," Paul said. "They killed them all and never ate [anything]. Just killed them for the fun of it."


"It's almost like they just played with them," added Judy.

The couple has been married for 56 years, and has farmed their land near Butternut for 52 years. They had never seen anything like what they experienced that morning.

"It was just sickening, when you think of how they suffered," Judy said.

Last week, the DNR reported that Wisconsin's wolf population was the highest on record. But since a judge's ruling in 2014, wolves have been on the federal endangered species list, meaning lethal force is off the table to control the wolf population.

Bob Willging, who works SDA Wildlife Services' Rhinelander office, confirmed that the killings on the Canik farm were due to wolves.

"These [were] some of our main breeding stock, right here, for the future," Paul Canik said.

All 17 were a variety of bighorn sheep, being raised to breed and give birth to more bighorns. The Caniks sell the bighorns to hunting clubs and game preserves across America, helping those organizations stock their lands for trophy hunters.

The Caniks' top rams sell for more than $5,000. The breeding ewes, killed by wolves, will cost more than $1,000 apiece to replace, according to Paul.

The DNR is in charge of determining the Caniks' compensation for the wolf killings. No matter what they get, they're still left with one feeling.

"[I'm] very angry, because we belong here, our sheep belong here, our guard dogs belong here," Judy said. "The wolves don't belong here."

"What I would like to see is if you got a group of wolves like is here, eliminate them," Paul added. "The others that stay where they belong and don't [create any] problems, I have no problem with them."

Now, the couple is left to rebuild what's left of its flock. And now, any time either Paul or Judy go to check on their sheep, they're wary.

"It's all of the time in your mind, because when we come down to check every morning, we're thinking, 'What are we going to find?" Judy said.

"It just makes our life miserable, is what it does," agreed Paul.

USDA Wildlife Services provided the Canik farm with electrified fencing to keep out wolves. Even so, Paul says he's far from completely confident it will work to prevent future attacks.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS

WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.

Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.

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Volunteers Document WildlifeSubmitted: 06/24/2016

MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.

"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.

"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.

The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.

"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.

Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.

"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.

Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.

The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.

"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.

Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.

The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.

Just two kids, bait, and their gear.

"I didn't expect to go anywhere," said Northland Pines Junior Mike John.

But in their first year the team is headed to nationals after getting second BASS Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament. It was the first tournament they've competed in together.

Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.

"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

A 7-year-old Rhinelander boy is being called a hero after rescuing his siblings from a house fire on Tuesday. We'll show you how the community is honoring him.

Northland Pines High School's first try at a fishing team was very successful as they finished 2nd in state and are now headed to nationals. You'll hear from team members on their success and what their looking forward to in the national tournament.

And we'll show you how they are cleaning up yesterday's diesel spill in Woodruff that closed a highway for about 5 hours.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WOODRUFF - Ellen Smith's golf game might not turn your head, but her golf cart certainly caught your eye.

"We're not very good golfers, but we have a good time," Smith said with a laugh.

Smith's foursome bedazzled their carts with pink bras, boas, and ball caps minutes before teeing off at Trout Lake Golf Course in Woodruff Thursday morning. For the two-time breast cancer survivor, her pink cart is a big source of pride.

"Last year, we were novices; this year, we got a little more elaborate," Smith said.  "By next year, we can be even more elaborate."

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THREE LAKES - Ed's Northwoods Petroleum Museum is located in Three Lakes. The owner, Ed Jacobsen, adores anything that involves petroleum.

"It's the lifeblood of American Industry," Jacobsen says.

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CRANDON - June in Crandon means one thing--the Brush Run.

Thousands of people flock from all over to the annual races, which start up again this weekend.

Local C-stores in Crandon know how they have to prepare. They double their orders for almost everything--especially ice and beer.

But sometimes even double isn't enough.

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