National Hunting Group Sues to Force Immediate Start of Wisconsin Wolf Hunt

by Katie Maloney
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Hunter Nation Inc., filed a lawsuit on Tuesday calling for an immediate start to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt.

Trump’s administration removed Great Lakes wolves from the federal endangered species list last month. This gave the states handing management rights for the hunting season. Wisconsin law requires that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allow a yearly wolf hunt between November and February.

“We have been of the opinion that once federal protections were removed from the wolf. Hunters have a role to play and manage the species like we do with many others in the state of Wisconsin,” said Luke Hilgemann, CEO of Hunter Nation.

However, the state has not yet granted hunters permission to begin hunting wolves. Republican legislators demanded that the DNR allow hunters to begin immediately. This would allow hunters to do some work before the permitted time window closes at the end of February. But the DNR board refused. They said that they must first consult with Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes as is required by treaty agreements. But they have yet to do so.

Wolf in the woods. (Photo by Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Why Won’t The DNR Allow Immediate Wolf Hunting?

On January 21, Biden signed an executive order. The order requires agency heads to review all existing regulations, orders, and policies that impede environmental justice. This includes the decision to delist wolves. Hunter Nation’s lawsuit urges an immediate start to wolf season before the Biden administration restores federal protections for wolves. The lawsuit argues that the DNR is violating statutes requiring them to implement a hunt. Hunter Nation also stressed the importance of starting now as wolves could regain federal protection at any moment. Deputy council Anthony LoCoco from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty shared his thoughts. He shared why this lawsuit is so important to Wisconsin hunters.

“The federal administration has announced that they will review the delisting made by the Trump administration. So every season counts with respect to our Wisconsin hunters,” said LoCoco.

Additionally, Hunter Nation pointed out that the wolf population has clearly surpassed the state’s goal of 350 animals. The latest DNR estimates show around 1,000 wolves in Wisconsin.

DNR Spokeswoman, Sarah Hoye, recently released a statement in regards to the lawsuit.

“We will be reviewing the complaint and have no further comment at this time. In December, the DNR announced the 2021 wolf season will begin on November 6, 2021. Although gray wolf management was returned to the lower 48 states and tribes in 2021. Implementing a wolf season requires adequate time not only to develop a science-based harvest quota but also to engage the public and tribal partners in the development of a season plan that adequately reflects the interests of diverse stakeholders throughout Wisconsin. We are continuing to take the steps necessary to implement a wolf hunt beginning in November 2021.”

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