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Wisconsin Wolf Season Exceeds Quota with 216 Wolves Killed in Less Than Three Days

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Wisconsin DNR
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Hunters harvested 216 wolves during Wisconsin’s 2021 wolf season.

The season was set to last 7-days but was cut short as hunters quickly filled quotas.

The 216 wolves are nearly 100 more wolves than the 119 wolf quota issued the Natural Resources Board.  

DNR employees pointed to a couple different reasons for the number going so far over.

Hunters have 24 hours to report kills which can lead to delays in reporting. By state law, the DNR has to give 24 hours-notice before closing a zone.

“I watched the harvest information about every 15 minutes. As it picked up, it picked up in a hurry. We took registrations at all hours of the day and night. We have registrations at 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. Very difficult to project what the trajectory was going to be,” said DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Randy Johnson.

The DNR will be paying close attention during its wolf population count this winter to see what kind of impact the hunt has on the species.

While the number was over the quota set by the DNR, Johnson doesn’t think it will have too detrimental of an impact on the population.

He says wolves are resilient animals.

The DNR is still complying a lot of data from the hunt, like age and sex of the animals, as well as any hunting violations law enforcement wardens came across.

DNR Deputy Chief Warden Matt O’Brien says it was fairly typical for both a wolf season and any of the state’s hunting season.

“By and large voluntary compliance. Obviously, with the short season, a lot of folks were just trying to get out there and have an opportunity to harvest, but like with every season we’ve had a handful events that results in varying levels of enforcement action,” said O’Brien.

That includes no major conflicts between opposing groups.

In the days leading up to the hunt, some groups like Wolf Patrol put out calls on social media for volunteers to monitor hunters.

“When I said earlier that is a standard season, I think that’s by and large reflective of the fact that all the user groups seemed to be very respectful of one another. We certainly appreciate that,” said O’Brien.

Of the 216 wolves harvested, 86 percent were by hunters using hounds.

Five percent were trappers. The last nine percent are classified as other.

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