New Wisconsin Wolf Management (Draft) Plan is Seeking Public Comments

The WDNR Wolf Management Plan was just released and is up for public comment through January 10, 2023.  It’s recommended to “invest time reading the draft plan”  before completing the survey.

Photograph courtesy of http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

“The proposed draft Wolf Management Plan reflects the detailed and significant work done by DNR staff to ensure the health and stability of Wisconsin’s wolf population. Input from diverse and varied stakeholders was critical to the development of this proposal,” said Preston Cole, DNR secretary, in a statement released with the draft plan. “I encourage the public to review and provide robust, meaningful feedback on the plan to the DNR. Because this is such an important issue for all of Wisconsin, we are providing an extended 60-day review period to offer all interested parties the opportunity to digest, reflect and provide feedback.”

The DNR asks citizens to: “Please invest time in reading the draft plan before completing this survey.”

Submit comments via the Online Comment Tool. The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023.

The Department of Natural Resources noted in the plan that they want to increase public understanding of wolves within the state. The proposed plan was developed with input from Wisconsin’s tribal nations, which oppose wolf hunting and trapping, along with scientific literature reviews and the results of a new public opinion survey that found most Wisconsinites enjoy having wolves around and want to see about the same number or more wolves going forward.

The DNR asks citizens to: “Please invest time in reading the draft plan before completing this survey.” Submit comments via the Online Comment Tool. The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023.

A closer look at the DNR’s new wolf management plan airs on Wisconsin Public Radio on Monday, October 14, 2022, at 03:00 PM Central time with guest Adrian Wydeven. Click the following link to listen.

https://www.wpr.org/closer-look-dnrs-new-proposed-wolf-management-plan

The department further stated in their press release: In addition, the draft plan details proposals to increase public understanding of wolves, identify important scientific research to be conducted, and outline steps to ensure collaboration on science-based wolf management in Wisconsin.

More details about the plan’s objectives and metrics for evaluation are described in the implementation section of the management plan. The descriptions and metrics provided give a clearer understanding of the intent behind each objective, how the DNR plans to measure it and what conditions constitute satisfactory progress toward the objective.

What’s Staying The Same?

The draft plan provides that DNR staff will continue to monitor wolves each year and address wolf-related conflict (consistent with current law). The DNR will continue supporting and conducting scientific research and science-based decision-making. Collaboration with other agencies, tribal nations, stakeholder groups, and the public on items of mutual importance remains a department priority.

What’s Changing?

The plan proposes several changes to align the DNR’s wolf management strategy with the current state of the wolf population, the available science, and the perspectives of a diverse public, such as:

  • Moving away from a single numeric population goal and instead using an adaptive management process focused on balancing the three main objectives (above).
  • Reducing harvest registration times and issuing zone-specific wolf harvest permits to improve the department’s ability to effectively meet harvest quotas.
  • Adding mechanisms to address localized concerns, including wolf harvest concerns near tribal reservation boundaries and focused wolf harvest in areas with a history of wolf-livestock conflict.
  • Revising wolf management zone boundaries to better reflect current wolf distribution and habitat.

The public is encouraged to review the updated plan in detail to learn more.

It is vital that you read the plan for yourself.  The plan is comprehensive covering many topics regarding wolves in Wisconsin.  In the plan studies found that “extreme arguments and approaches are typically ineffective at attracting the attention of those who are unaware or undecided on wolf issues“.  

I’ve found that social media is full of extreme voices coming from both sides of the issue.  These voices may be the loudest or most visible in the media, but not the most accurate. If you want to understand the issue go to the scientific source.  I recommend these organizations in Wisconsin because they will help you understand the draft plan: Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin’s Green Fire

The following is a snippet of the draft plan under the category “Media Portrayals and Muddy Water”  where the plan states:  “Recent social science studies emphasize how internet media, including reputable news and social media coverage of gray wolves, influences how individuals gather information and form opinions about wolves and wolf management (Anthony and Tarr, 2019). Because media outlets both sensationalize violence and anthropomorphize wildlife, misinformation can affect stakeholders from across the value and identity group spectrum.

“Another side-effect of media portrayal of wolves at local and national levels is the intentional and unintentional creation of straw attitudes (i.e. stereotypes) in sensationalized communications on billboards, news articles, and websites. Walsh (2019) analyzed these communications and found that staunchly pro- and anti-wolf interest groups aligned or alienated people by implying that the opposing community was motivated more by politics than by evidence-based decision-making and public opinion. Some groups also employ strategic definitions of “public” trust management in order to include or exclude certain stakeholders depending on where they live, their use of wildlife, and the recreation fees and taxes that they may or may not pay (Treves et al., 2017; Walsh, 2019).”
“These approaches, however, are generally ineffective at garnering additional support for a specific viewpoint; not only are extreme arguments and approaches typically ineffective at attracting the attention of those who are unaware or undecided on wolf issues (Hoffmann et al., 2017; Niemiec et al., 2020), but they can also fuel the
sentiment that wolf management is a zero-sum game or that one side must lose for another to win.” WDNR Wolf Management Plan

The department further stated: “We want to hear your honest feedback on the draft plan. We encourage you to provide your thoughts on the draft plan’s content, as well as anything you believe is missing and should be included.”

Please invest time in reading the draft plan before completing this survey.

Submit comments via the Online Comment Tool. The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023.

Photograph courtesy of http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

A snippet from the new draft plan: An alternative to numeric population goals…

An alternative to numeric population goals is to prioritize management actions in response to existing conditions as observed in the field and scientific data. This approach strives to find an effective balance between potentially competing objectives associated with wolf management i.e., facilitating wolf-related benefits while minimizing wolf-related conflicts. Implementation of various management actions, including whether to maintain, increase or decrease a population in a specific management zone, would be based upon measurable criteria reflecting important biological and social factors in that zone. Benefits of this approach include the ability to tailor management regionally, increased focus on stated objectives and observed outcomes, and a greater ability to adapt management actions based on real-life conditions. Drawbacks include less defined target population levels and disagreement on the priority of metrics used to guide decision-making. However, this type of approach to wildlife management continues to grow in use across North America, adding rigor and transparency to decision-making processes and resulting in increased public confidence and buy-in to management actions (Fuller et al. 2020). Read further Wisconsin Wolf Management (Draft) Plan 

Read all 132 pages before commenting…

The DNR asks citizens to: “Please invest time in reading the draft plan before completing this survey.”

Submit comments via the Online Comment Tool. The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023.

Photograph courtesy of http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

 

 

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