Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Moving Forward
WI Green Fire, February 22, 2021
Originally posted Jan 20, 2021
Updated Feb 22, 2021 and Feb 26, 2021
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) held a special hearing on Friday January 22, 2021 to consider action to direct the Department of Natural Resources to immediately open a wolf hunt.
The recovery of wolves in the Great Lakes is a conservation success story. Wolves are always a controversial issue however and conservation organizations hold a variety of viewpoints for and against wolf hunting. Wisconsin’s Green Fire brings special expertise to this issue with our members who are career wolf biologists with long experience.
Wisconsin needs an updated Wolf Conservation Plan and the state has important work to do to update biological and social information on wolves before holding a hunt. Our WGF testimony to the Natural Resources Board lays out important reasons not to rush into a wolf hunt this season. On January 22, the NRB voted not to hold a wolf hunt during what would have been the remaining month of the statutorily mandated state wolf hunting season that would end on Feb 28.
Wisconsin’s Green Fire also submitted comments to the NRB on February 14, 2021 regarding harvest quotas.
On February 19, 2021 a Wisconsin state appeals court upheld an earlier decision from Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier ordering the WDNR to hold a hunt in the remaining days of the statutorily defined season. In response, the Department opened a hunting season beginning on February 22, 2021 that will run until February 28, 2021. After Wisconsin American Indian tribes exercised their rights to claim 50% of the quota within Ojibwe Tribal Ceded Territories, a state harvest quota of 119 wolves was established across all zones, and 2380 harvest licenses have been authorized. WGF supports the Department’s recognition of Tribal off reservation rights. The Department may use its existing authority to close any wolf zone before February 28 to assure the harvest quota is not exceeded.
Legal and policy battles around wolves began again almost immediately when the US Fish and Wildlife Service order to de-list went into effect. Wisconsin’s Green Fire has argued consistently in favor of de-listing, but also in favor of a conservative, science-based approach to managing our relations with wolves.
WGF members will serve on the Wisconsin Wolf Harvest Advisory Committee that will guide development of plans for a November 2021 harvest season.
Wolf Hunt Status: The wolf hunt closed February 24. As of February 26 at 8 am, 216 wolves were reported to be killed, exceeding the 119 quota. For updated information on the wolf hunt, visit the DNR website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/wolf/index.html.