Wisconsin’s DNR confirms their harvest proposal for the state today: a “quota of 200 wolves.”
The state DNR is set to meet Monday to finalize the launching of Wisconsin’s wolf hunt “immediately,” the Associated Press confirms. The meeting comes after several high-profile lawsuits challenged the absence of a wolf hunt in the state for 2021, now that the grey wolf species is off the endangered species list.
As for the hunt, the W. DNR has set its proposal: a suggested cap of 200 wolves in total for the season’s harvest. Whether this cap will be set in stone, however, remains a matter for Monday’s meeting.
Several factors are said to be at play for the DNR in reaching this number. This includes “the most recent population estimate, the public response to earlier harvests, the current management plan, scientific literature and population model projections,” the Journal Sentinel reports alongside AP.
With the species no longer under protection, a 2012 Wisconsin law mandates that their DNR instate a wolf hunting season from November through February’s end. The state’s Republican lawmakers are demanding an “impromptu” and “immediate” start over fears that Democratic President Joe Biden will restore protection to grey wolves before November of 2021.
The Winding Road to Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt
Wisconsin’s current fixation on the hunt comes as a direct result of January’s removal of wolves from the federal endangered species. The action came as one of the previous Trump Administration’s final acts toward reversing Democratic conservation principles. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service no longer protects grey wolves in the lower 48 states.
So far, W. DNR has refused any orders for “immediate” hunts. Wisconsin must first address the Chippewa tribes as per treaty requirements for any wolf hunting to commence. As of Monday, this has yet to happen via Republican or Democratic lawmakers.
Last Thursday, a Jefferson County judge ordered the DNR to begin the hunt regardless after a string of lawsuits. Outsider’s Chris Haney reported on the case Thursday.
“Instead of waiting until fall, the judge has initiated an immediate wolf hunting season,” Haney begins. “The decision follows a recent lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc., which called for an immediate start to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt.”
“The hunting-rights group stated that the law is unambiguous. In addition, they said the DNR had violated hunters’ constitutional rights by not allowing wolf hunting and trapping right away,” Haney continues.
As a result, the DNR is rushing Monday to establish their harvest quota. In addition, they must now issue permits before the current season ends with February’s close.