The February 2021 Wisconsin Wolf Hunt: A Preliminary Assessment
WI Green Fire, April 27, 2021
April 28th, 2021,
Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) has released a preliminary assessment of the February 2021 Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season. Our report reviews impacts of the hunt on Wisconsin’s wolf population and provides recommendations to ensure that future wolf management is informed by science and best practice.
Key findings in our report include:
• During the February hunt wolves were removed primarily from core habitats on public lands where conflicts with pets, livestock or human safety are rare. Based on currently available information and our understanding of wolf populations and behavior, there is little evidence that the February 2021 wolf hunt will significantly reduce human – wolf conflicts.
• Based on loss of bred females and alpha males, it is reasonable to estimate that 60-100 of Wisconsin’s wolf packs may lose all pup production due to the February hunt. If this impact is realized it will represent 24-40% of the expected reproduction from 245 known wolf packs outside of Indian reservations in Wisconsin.
• The lack of consultation with Wisconsin Ojibwe Tribes over the February hunt failed to meet the state’s responsibilities for meaningful consultation to assure tribes maintain their longstanding rights to natural resources within Ceded Territories. The relations between the State and the Wisconsin Ojibwe Tribes have been damaged and will take time repair.
• Despite current law requiring annual wolf harvests, the WDNR retains authority to establish quotas and, within statutory limits, to regulate the form, timing, and methods of harvest. The WDNR should use its authority more fully to prevent the kind of unwanted outcomes experienced in February from being repeated.