Wisconsin Ag Connection
Wisconsin residents may soon be allowed to hunt grey wolves during certain times of the year under a bill being considered in the state legislature. On Tuesday, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will hold a public hearing to get people’s thoughts on a proposal that would create a hunting-and-trapping season for wolves from mid-October through late-February.
The measure would require the Department of Natural Resources to issue licenses for both the hunting and trapping of wolves. Both in-state and out of state residents would be allowed to participate in the hunt.
Supporters of the move say the DNR would limit the number of licenses issued and the number of wolves to be harvested within four wolf harvesting zones. The proposal also specifies that certain firearms may be used for hunting wolves, as well as bows and arrows and crossbows.
Hunters would be allowed to use bait and dogs and could hunt at night, as part of the current proposal.
In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota because their population levels have been restored to adequate levels. The same week, Governor Scott Walker ordered the DNR to begin implementing a wolf management plan to spell out the do’s-and-don’ts of hunting problem wolves. That gave the agency the go-ahead to establish depredation controls, via trapping and permits to landowners in depredation areas.
Meanwhile, figures show that 10 dogs have been killed this past summer by wolves and farmers have suffered intolerable livestock depredation from wolves–with 47 farms reporting nearly 75 livestock killings in 2010 alone.
Wildlife experts say about 1,000 wolves currently live in the state, with about 80 percent of those animals keeping habitat in northern Wisconsin.
Minnesota lawmakers are also considering legislation to allow wolf hunting in their state.