The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Board has approved emergency rules which lay out the guidelines for Wisconsin’s first legal wolf hunt. The tumultuous debate concluded July 17th at a packed hotel conference room in Stevens Point. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, more than 100 people packed the room, and more than 40 registered to have their comments admitted to the public record.
Most of the debate was over the proposed quota of 201 wolves to be harvested in the first season. Proponents of the hunt claim that the managed populations of wolves have grown beyond desired levels, and thus have become a nuisance to everyone from farmers to small pet owners. Opponents of the hunt claim the populations are overestimated and that the proposed quota is too high. In the last survey available, from 2011, estimates put the wolf population at a low range of 782-824 wolves.
In addition to setting the quota, the WDNR Board also approved 3 proposed amendments to the emergency rule for the new wolf hunt. The approved amendments were:
Wolves caught in live traps will be put down in a humane manner.
The quota for the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Reservation shall be set a zero.
The WDNR Board is obligated to collect all data possible prior to enacting the permanent rules for the wolf hunt, as well as provide an updated timeline in September for the wolf management plan.
The season has been set from October 15th until February 28th per guidelines set by the bill authorizing the hunt signed into law by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Permit applications will be accepted beginning August 1st. Any hunter who applies will be eligible to receive a permit in the drawing during their first year, however obviously not all hunters will receive a permit. Those hunters who do not obtain a permit after they apply will receive a preference point for the following year, so it is important to apply as soon as possible to get your preference. The application fee is $10, and the fee for the license is $100 for state residents and $500 for non-state residents. The purchase of the license entitles hunters to either trap or shoot the wolves.
There are a few other things to keep in mind if you are considering taking part in the wolf hunt. Hunters may hunt wolves at night beginning the day after the November gun deer season. Hunters may also use a pack of up to 6 dogs to track the wolves, also only after the November gun deer season. All of these rules and guidelines are temporary, and permanent rules will be put in place next year so be sure to stay up to date on regulations from year to year.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources “Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approves 2012 wolf hunt quota, zones, and rules” http://www.dnr.wi.gov
Adrian P. Wydeven, Jane E. Wiedenhoeft, Ronald N. Schultz, Jean E. Bruner, Richard P. Thiel,
Sarah R. Boles, and Michele A. Windsor “Wisconsin Endangered Resources Report #141Status Of The Timber Wolf in Wisconsin” Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
Associated Press “Debate on rules for Wisconsin wolf hunt begins in jammed meeting room” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel