Wisconsin sets quota at 200 wolves for this month’s hunt
Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board has set a quota of 200 wolves for the rapidly-organized winter hunting season. The board met online Monday, unanimously supporting the Department of Natural Resources recommendations.
DNR Division Administrator Keith Warnke says application for permits will begin at the DNR’s Go Wild website at 12:01 am Tuesday, February 16th and close Saturday, February 20th at 11:59 pm. “Customers who win in the drawing will be able to review the results on February 22nd. Drawing winners can begin hunting and trapping when they have purchased their license and printed their carcass tag. The season will run through February 28th.”
Warnke says the online applications for the November hunt will open March 1st, and he says applicants can apply for preference points without seeking a harvest tag. Permits cost $10.00 and if applicants are drawn for a license, wolf harvest tags cost $49.00. Hunters and trappers can begin harvesting wolves Warnke also says DNR will forego carcass testing for the winter hunt.
DNR Program Supervisor and carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland told the board the 200 quota figure along with other human-caused wolf mortality figures is a figure that stabilizes the wolf population. Board member Greg Kazmierski asked if that is the goal. “I’m not sure that should be our objective, and maybe that’s what the biologists were asked to do is come up with a quota that stabilizes the population, but the current population is almost four times what our population goal is.”
Board Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn appreciated the efforts of DNR and the board since Thursday’s Jefferson County court ruling. “We have a job to do and I think we completed it, but we completed it with what we believe (is) good science from the department, all politics aside.”
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bennett Brantmeier ruled Thursday, February 11th the DNR violated existing state law by refusing to schedule a winter 2021 gray wolf hunt. He scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, February 16th to get DNR’s update on complying with his Thursday order.
Livestock growers have had increased depredation problems since the last wolf season in 2014 including nine confirmed and 36 unconfirmed wolf kills in 2020.