Opinion: Moving Wisconsin Forward with Wolf Management

WI Green Fire, February 23, 2023


Wisconsin’s Green Fire Executive Director Fred Clark and Wildlife Work Group co-chair Adrian Wydeven bring a crucial voice of science in this opinion article on the recent 2022 Draft Wolf Management Plan. The piece emphasizes that wolf recovery in Wisconsin is a conservation success story, and despite many differing opinions voiced across the state, we can live with wolves if we are willing to do the work to balance competing interests and consider the needs of all stakeholders, using the best available science. 

One differing opinion the authors address in this article is the lack of numeric population goals in the draft plan. Critics of the plan claim incorrectly that WDNR’s previous 1999 wolf plan intended to limit the wolf population to 350 animals.  In fact, the goal of 350 wolves set in 1999 was established as a management goal to be achieved at a time when less than 200 wolves were in Wisconsin. With 24 additional years of new scientific knowledge and management experience, we know that Wisconsin can support a much larger wolf population, with an estimated potential carrying capacity of as many as 1,200 animals. 

Wolves in the Great Lakes region are substantially recovered and are no longer biologically endangered. However, federal de-listing of wolves and the full range of active management tools, including legal hunting, that de-listing will provide can only be successful if states like Wisconsin are able to act responsibly as stewards of this iconic and important wildlife species.  

The Wisconsin Draft Wolf Management Plan reflects a much smarter and balanced path forward with wolves in Wisconsin.  The plan is available and open for public comment until February 28, 2023 here: Wolf Management Plan | | Wisconsin DNR.

View the full opinion article here.

Fred Clark is a forester, conservationist, and the Executive Director of Wisconsin’s Green Fire, a statewide conservation policy organization.  fclark@wigreenfire.org

Adrian Wydeven is a wildlife biologist and co-chair of Wisconsin’s Green Fire’s Wildlife Work Group. adrianwydeven@cheqnet.net

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