Natural Resources Board Sets Wolf Quota After Judge Orders Wolf Hunt in February

Feb 15, 2021

Credit PIXABAY.COM

The National Resources board set a wolf harvest quota of 200 wolves for a hunt expected to happen this month.

That number is based on the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The agency said it considered several factors in coming up with that number.

They include the most recent population estimates, the public response to earlier harvests, the current management plan, and other research.

Credit Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin law requires the DNR to hold a wolf season from November through February if the species isn’t federally protected. Wolves were delisted in January. The DNR planned to hold a hunt in November after getting public input and creating a new wolf management plan.

Republican lawmakers demanded a start now citing state law and fear that recently filed lawsuits would put the species back on the Endangered Species List before the state could hold a hunt this fall.

The NRB held an emergency meeting in January to consider holding a wolf harvest this winter. The motion ultimately failed out of concern holding one without tribal input would violate treaty rights.

Last week, a Jefferson County Judge ordered the DNR to hold a hunt after Hunter Nation filed a lawsuit. This prompted a meeting of the NRB to set quotas for the hunt.

The NRB approved the wolf quota of 200 on non-reservation land split among the six zones with 20 times that number of permits issued . The motion passed with all board members voting in favor.

The permit application period opens on February 16 at 12:01 a.m. The season will start February 22nd and run through February 28th. No zones will close before February 28th unless the harvest quota in that zone has been met.

Before any licenses are issued, the DNR said it will take steps to honor the Ojibwe Tribes’ right to declare up to half of the harvestable surplus in the Ceded Territory, per the Tribes’ treaty rights and court rulings.

The DNR said will continue to plan for a wolf harvest season to open on Nov. 6, 2021, while simultaneously working towards completing a 10-year wolf management plan to guide management decisions beginning in 2022.