Wisconsin’s DNR goes against Natural Resources Board, reducing wolf hunt quota

The battle over Wisconsin’s wolf management appears to be far from over.

This week, the Department of Natural Resources set the statewide fall wolf hunting quota at 130 wolves, which goes against the 300-wolf quota approved by the Natural Resources Board in August. 

The DNR developed a statewide wolf management plan in 1999 calling for a population goal of 350 wolves.  Wolves have since been back on the Endangered Species List until they were removed again last October. The agency estimates the state’s wolf population is between 695 and 751 this year after topping one thousand last year.

The DNR says they considered the best available information and scientific modeling, as well as the input from the Wolf Harvest Committee, the Natural Resources Board, and the many groups and members of the public.

The state will offer 371 wolf licenses, with 56 of the 130-wolf quota set aside under the Ojibwe Tribes’ treaty rights.  The tribes consider the wolf a brother, so they don’t usually hunt them.

Paul Collins with Animal Wellness Action says the reduced quota is an improvement but says, “The courts should shut down any more wolf killing this year and restore federal protections for wolves.”

State Senator Rob Stafsholt criticized the DNR and Governor Tony Evers’ administration saying, “Their latest stunt of ignoring and defying their own policy board is just another example of why changes need to be made in the Governor’s office and DNR. The lack of transparency with the entire wolf hunt process has gotten completely out of hand.”

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Director of Governmental Relations, Tyler Wenzlaff commented Thursday on the reduced quota saying, “Our members support the delisting of wolves to allow for a hunting and/or trapping season as wolves have had a long-lasting impact on farms across Wisconsin. While the Department of Natural Resources announcement ignores the Natural Resources Board recommendation for a 300-wolf quota, we hope to continue working towards a successful hunting season and continued effort to more closely align the Wisconsin wolf population with the current wolf management plan goal of 350 animals.” So far, Wisconsin’s other farm organizations that welcomed returning wolf management to the state have not commented on the reduced quota.

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