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DNR looks to scale back Wisconsin wolf hunt

By Andrew Beckett

The state Natural Resources Board will consider a plan this week that would reduce the size of Wisconsin’s fall wolf hunting season.

The board is expected to vote Wednesday on a proposal that would cap the upcoming wolf hunting and trapping season at 156 animals. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Program Director Tom Hauge says that’s down from the cap of 275 animals that was in place during the season last fall.

Hauge says the recommendation is the result of declines seen in the wolf population over the past two years, which are a direct result of hunting a hunting season for the animals. The state estimates the wolf population over the winter was between 660 and 689 animals. The eventual goal is 350 wolves, although Hauge says the state needs to bring the numbers down slowly to avoid having the animal placed back on the federal endangered species list. “Our number one objective is to maintain a healthy sustainable population of wolves in the state.”

Prior to 2012, the gray wolf was on the federal endangered species and Wisconsin has only held two wolf hunting and trapping seasons since the animal was delisted.

The Natural Resources Board meets Wednesday in Milwaukee.