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Changes in the Wisconsin wolf depredation payment program

Weekly News article by the Central Office

MADISON – Recently enacted legislation has changed the process and timeline and may impact the compensation schedule for livestock, hunting dogs and pets proven to have been killed or injured by gray wolves.

Act 169, signed into law in April 2, created a new wolf harvest season and shifted administration of wolf depredation payments to the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Wildlife Management with funds for payments coming from sale of wolf hunting and trapping licenses.

New guidelines for wolf depredation payments will be developed over the next few months. With the removal of the wolf from the federal endangered and threatened species list, the DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources will no longer be paying for wolf depredations.

“With license and application fees now funding the wolf depredation program, we will administer this program consistently with how we provide reimbursements for other species under the agricultural damage program,” said Brad Koele, DNR agricultural damage specialist. “As with deer, goose, turkey or bear, eligible reimbursements are paid all at the same time, following the season, once we know how much money we have available to reimburse claims.”

Several changes in wolf depredation payments will go into effect immediately including the following:

  • Reimbursement payments will be made only once a year, normally after December, when funds will be available in the wolf payment accounts.
  • If funds are not adequate DNR will pro-rate payment among all those with wolf depredation losses, including livestock producers, owners of hunting dogs not being used to actively hunt wolves, and pet owners.

Additional rules on the new wolf reimbursement program will be developed in upcoming months and may include changes in claim eligibility requirements and changes in maximum compensation amounts. Until new rules are finalized the department will continue to use existing claim eligibility requirements including:

  • Wolf depredations are verified or determined to be probable by DNR or USDA-Wildlife Services staff.
  • Depredation claims are submitted to the department within 14 days of the depredation being verified or determined to be probable.
  • Claims should be submitted to the department using the Wolf, Endangered or Threatened Species Damage Loss Reimbursement Request (from 1700-060).

Once depredation claims are received by the wildlife damage specialist in Madison the department will return a letter acknowledging it has received the request, and notifying the claimant whether they will be eligible for payments at the end of the year.