Wisconsin’s wolf quota was half full after just one day of hunting and trapping, the the slaughter of pregnant gray wolves will close Wednesday afternoon.
Under a court order the Department of Natural Resources launched a one-week wolf hunt on Monday. The department reports that as of Tuesday morning hunter and trappers had killed 52 wolves, filling nearly 44% of the 119-animal statewide quota. Another 81 wolves are allocated to Ojibwe tribes, for a total of 200 this year.
The hunt was Controversial for several reasons. Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season, which means pregnant females will likely be killed. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reduced the wolf quote on opening day in recognition of the tribes’ off-reservation treaty rights. The wolf quota was reduced to 119, with tribes portion at 81 and they will not hunt their brother ma’iingan. The state divided the state into six management areas. The northern parts account for the largest percentages of wolves killed. The DNR is hoping to kill 31 wolves in zone 1, where Douglas County is located. This is the most of any of the six areas. In zone 2, which is the northeastern part of the state, the DNR hopes to kill 18 wolves. And in zone 3, which is situated just under zone 1, they expect to kill 20.
On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list. The DNR had filed an appeal but it was denied.
Wolf harvesting zone closures go into effect 24 hours after the department posts notice of the closure. It is the hunter or trapper’s responsibility to determine the closure status of a wolf zone prior to attempting to hunt or trap wolf in that zone. Zone status updates are also available by calling the telephone information system (855-299-9653).
The Public Access Lands atlas provides interactive, detailed views of tribal lands borders, inside which wolf harvest is not permitted.