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WI: State wildlife officials welcome upcoming wolf management control

By Jeff Alexander

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -State wildlife officials say it’s too early to know yet if there will be a wolf hunt in Wisconsin this winter.

Late last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list returning management authority to states.

It’s a decision the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources expected for months.

“From DNR’s perspective, we welcome wolf management back at the state level, we’ve done this before, we’ve been prepared to do this for years, and we look forward to scientifically-based, transparent and deliberative wolf management in Wisconsin,” says Keith Warnke, DNR Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division Administrator.

The last time the state managed wolves was in 2014, which marked the third straight year a hunt was held as required by state statute.

But with the current delisting not scheduled to take effect until early January, a hunt this winter remains up in the air.

“State statute right now has the wolf hunt beginning the first Saturday in November if they’re not on the endangered species list and the hunt ends either when the harvest quota has been met, or the last day in February, so as we go forward here over the next couple months reviewing this decision and doing our planning we’re going to be evaluating which direction to take,” says Warnke.

Warnke says the current wolf population estimate in Wisconsin is 1,034 wolves and 250 packs.

He says developing future population goals will involve a number of stakeholders.

“It’s a very important topic to a lot of people in Wisconsin and we receive views from all across the spectrum on what people think about wolves in Wisconsin. And it’s our responsibility to make sure we apply the best biological science and all the best possible social science and public input to that determination,” says Warnke.