DNR releases wolf hunt proposal

CASCO – Long-time Casco dairy farmer and hunter Ken Jeanquart says he often sees wolves around his farm – more every year.

“Predator control was good enough with the coyotes in the area, but now we got the influx of the wolves,” said Jeanquart. “There’s not much of a place for them around here. It’s a predator we don’t need.”

And Jeanquart just might get to do something about it.

According to the recent DNR’s wolf hunt proposal , people will be able to purchase a wolf trapping and hunting license as early as August.

“The season that is being proposed for this year is really a cautious first step, going forward and allowing the management of wolves,” said Tom Hauge, the wildlife management director with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

In a phone interview, Hauge tells FOX 11 one goal of the first wolf hunting and trapping season is to bring the population closer to 350.

The DNR says this year’s winter wolf count estimated the state population was at least 815 to 880.

The DNR’s initial proposal calls for the harvest of 142 to 233 wolves.

The agency also plans to issue five times more licenses than the harvest number, predicting that hunters will have a 20 percent success rate.

Hauge says as the wolf population has grown, so has the concern about the impact wolves can have on livestock, deer populations and people.

Potential harvest zones would be all across the state.

Some with only conservative harvests in heavily forested areas; moderate harvests in areas with both farmland and forests; heavier reduction in areas of the state with higher concentrations of people and farmland – like Jeanquart’s.

“It’s simply killing the wolf for sport,” said Howard Goldman in a phone interview with FOX 11.

Animal rights activists like Goldman, who is the Minnesota Senior State Director of the US Humane Society , understand the purpose of having wolf management.

However, they say there’s no basis for a hunt.

Goldman says the wolf population in Wisconsin is stable and small.

He says concerns about livestock depredation are minor as people already have the right to shoot wolves that harm their animals.

“The wolf was extricated – completely wiped out from the state back in the 1960s and in the mid-80s, there were only 15 animals in the entire state,” said Goldman, who has been active in battling Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. “We have to be very, very careful the way we manage the wolf.”

The DNR harvest proposal is just that – a proposal.

And Goldman hopes some minds will be changed before July 17, when the natural resources board is scheduled to rule on it.

“And we’re hoping that the department will take a second look at a hunting and trapping season,” said Goldman.

There are still two public meetings left to voice your opinion on the proposal.

You can also voice your opinion, online, here.

State lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year calling for a wolf hunt.

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