Wisconsin judge orders DNR to hold wolf hunt this month, but appeal coming

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Wisconsin judge orders DNR to hold wolf hunt this month, but appeal coming

A Wisconsin judge has ordered the Department of Natural Resources to have a wolf hunting season yet this month.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bennett Brantmeier ruled Thursday the DNR violated existing state law by refusing to schedule a winter 2021 gray wolf hunt for this month after the predator was officially removed from the Endangered Species List January 4th.

The wolf population has been growing beyond DNR targeted population numbers since Wisconsin’s hunting season was halted in 2014, leading to increased livestock and pet kills.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Hunter Nation filed the suit, claiming the DNR had adequate time to prepare for a hunting season.  Attorney Anthony LoCoco says Judge Brantmeier’s decision solidifies the rule of law and gives clear direction to Governor Tony Evers’ administration to move full speed ahead with the state’s statutorily-required hunt.

Court documents say Wisconsin’s right to conduct a wolf hunt has a new challenge in President Joe Biden, who issued an executive order January 20th forcing all federal agencies to review every policy decision made during the Trump presidency, and that might mean a reversal of the Department of Interior’s delisting of the wolf.

Judge Brantmeier scheduled a February 16th review hearing to examine the DNR’s progress in establishing the hunt, but Assistant Attorney General Gabe Johnson-Karp says the state will appeal Brantmeier’s decision.