DNR lowers wolf kill quota from NRB numbers

Posted at 1 p.m. on October 5, 2021

The Brillion News

MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on October 4 that the statewide quota for the Fall 2021 wolf season has been set at 130 wolves.

The state Natural Resources Board had earlier set the goal at 300 wolves, but the DNR staff changed that to 130 wolves. "The department is authorized by state statute and the department’s rules to make the final decision on the quota for the Fall 2021 wolf harvest," the department said in a press release.

"In determining the quota, the department 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 who provided comments to the department and the Board."a

State-licensed hunters and trappers will be authorized to harvest 74 wolves within the six zones established in the department’s regulations. The department will honor the Ojibwe Tribes’ treaty right within the Ceded Territory of 56 wolves.

Criticism

Although the Department of Natural Resources announced that the fall wolf hunt quota would be capped at 130, the state Natural Resources Board voted 5-2 in August to set the quota to 300.

“When the possibility of a wolf hunt opened up to Wisconsinites for the first time in almost a decade last year, farmers and families in the Northwoods were relieved. Northern Wisconsin was terrorized by wolves for too long - and the state finally had a way to help," said state Senator Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma. "A well-regulated hunt has always been a valuable instrument in the toolbox of resource management.”

She said that, after a successful February 2021 hunt, Wisconsin’s wolf population is estimated to be around 750 individuals, more than double the state’s goal of 350.

According to the new plan the DNR released yesterday, state-licensed hunters and trappers will be allotted only 74 wolves in total, with the other 56 going to the Ojibwe tribes as part of the federal treaty.

Come November

The DNR said it would use a license ratio of 5:1 to offer the opportunity to 370 successful applicants to purchase a state wolf hunting license. The department plans to notify successful applicants Oct. 25, at which point licenses will also go on sale. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal endangered species list in January of 2021, returning management authority to state agencies. As required by state statute, the DNR will continue to plan for a wolf harvest season to open on November 6, 2021. The DNR is currently updating Wisconsin’s wolf management plan with input from a Wolf Management Plan Committee.

The DNR plans to complete a 10-year wolf management plan to guide wolf population management decisions beginning in 2022.