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WI – HUNTING – Don’t rush into a Wisconsin wolf hunt

Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a rule to return gray wolf management authority to the states and tribes in most of the Lower 48 states, including Wisconsin. The rule will be effective on Jan. 4, 2021. With a healthy wolf population in Wisconsin (at least 1,034 wolves), Michigan (about 700 wolves) and Minnesota (about 2,700 wolves), it is appropriate that management authority returns to the states and tribes in this region. While the Timber Wolf Alliance congratulates the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and tribal conservation departments on the recovery of the gray wolf population in Wisconsin, we are concerned about efforts to initiate a rushed wolf harvest in early January 2021. Recently, members of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board and a state legislator have suggested that the DNR should hold a state hunting and trapping season in January and February 2021. The Timber Wolf Alliance strongly recommends against rushing into a harvest. In 2012, the Wisconsin Legislature established a public wolf hunting and trapping season, which requires the DNR to hold a season every year, if wolves are not listed as threatened or endangered. According to state law the wolf season starts on the first Saturday of November and ends at the end of February, or earlier if the harvest quota were met earlier. To conduct a harvest, several steps need to be taken, including (1) establishing a committee to determine harvest quotas, (2) obtaining public and Wisconsin Natural Resource Board approval for harvest quotas, (3) providing a period for hunters and trappers to apply for permits, (4) selecting applicants who will receive harvest permits, (5) getting tags and approvals to successful applicants, and then (6) starting the season and carefully monitoring the harvest. Similar harvest preparation for bears or antlerless deer takes many months.  [full article]

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