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National Geographic stops in Boyceville

By Kelsie Hoitomt

BOYCEVILLE – In August a film crew from National Geographic recently flew into the Boyceville Airport and made their way to the home of Rick and Andrea Hanestad to film and interview the couple and their children about a special member of their family; Wiley the Coyote.

The story of Wiley begins just over two and a half years ago when Rick heard about an abandoned den with baby coyote pups; upon finding the den Rick took in one of the palm sized critters.

Word spread of the wild coyote living at the Hanestads’ household so eventually the DNR was notified and they came to the residence to take the family pet and because he was too old to have him rehabilitated; have him euthanized.

In the meantime, Rick had been vigorously searching online for a way to make it legal for his family to obtain a permit in the state of Wisconsin to own a wild Coyote.

He contacted several animal rights groups to help him find a way.  When the DNR was notified Rick contacted Shelia Harsdorf, and John Murtha, who both assisted in the DNR taking a second look at the situation.

The DNR’s decision was to require him to apply for the proper permit and Wiley also needing the proper vaccination shots, and to be neutered.  To obtain the permit a fence has to be built to the DNR’s specification that he is in when outside.

Fast-forwarding a year after the DNR was notified, National Geographic caught wind of Wiley’s unusual kindness and made a call to the Hanestad’s household.

The film crew of three men set up their cameras, video-cameras and big lights to film Wiley at home in the Hanestads’ house.

The crew spent over ten hours filming Wiley as they watched him play in the nearby creek, getting a bath in the Hanestads’ bathtub, with other dogs and alongside Hanestads’ 8-year-old daughter Hailey.

Rick also took Wiley for a car ride into Boyceville where Wiley was filmed being walked on a leash through Main Street past some of the local businesses.

According to one of the men from National Geographic, Wiley appeared to be the friendliest coyote he had ever encountered on his filming journey throughout the world.

The film featuring Wylie looks to be available for the public to view within a year. However, more information about Wylie can be found online at the National Geographic website by years’ end.