Wisconsin won’t have a winter 2021 wolf hunt
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board heard more than four hours of testimony Friday on the state’s wolf hunting season… or lack of one this winter.
Tyler Wenzloff with Wisconsin Farm Bureau asked the board for immediate DNR action establishing a wolf season yet this winter. “This is the same request we made to the agency with a coalition of other state agriculture groups back in October of 2020. We remain confused as to why the department has not moved more quickly to institute a season when it became clear the wolf was to be removed from the federal Endangered Species List.”
Wenzloff told the board DNR already has the guidelines and statutes needed. “It is the opinion of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau that the department has clear instructions within statutes in how to implement a wolf hunting season yet this winter. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 and subsequent 2019 Wisconsin Act 285 lays out the steps necessary to implement a wolf hunting season.”
Adrian Wydeven with the Timber Wolf Alliance is a former wildlife biologist with the DNR, and he opposes rushing into a wolf hunting season. “The Timber Wolf Alliance believes any wolf harvest should be based on sound science, be done in a representative and open fact process, and be sensitive to cultural concerns including those of Native Americans.”
Deputy DNR Secretary Todd Ambs told the board the wolf hunting issue is not an emergency and requires no action by the board. “Our livestock depredation program in partnership with USDA wildlife services is now fully operational including lethal wolf management options. In addition, there are ample authorities in statute and administrative code to allow people to take action to address wolves that are in the act of killing, wounding or biting a domestic animal including livestock or pets.”
The Natural Resources Board voted 4-3 against an immediate wolf hunt with Chairman Dr. Fred Prehn casting the deciding vote. Prehn says he wants the earlier hunt, but cannot support something that might be a violation of treaty rights since the DNR did not consult with tribes in a timely fashion and did not put the wolf committee back together yet. Prien says, “To say they (WI DNR) dragged their feet is an understatement.”
The wolf was officially removed from the endangered species list January 4th after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made its preliminary announcement last year that it would turn management back to the states.