Former member of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association’s board Introduced Legislation to Cap the WI Wolf Population


Photo credit Jad Davenport

Sen. Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond), one of the senate bill’s authors, told the Wisconsin Examiner he believes having a specific goal lets everyone on either side of the issue know where they stand.

The draft wolf management plan released moved to an adaptive management method which drops a specific target number for Wisconsin’s wolf population and instead breaks the state into regions in which the population will be annually assessed to determine if it needs to be allowed to grow, kept the same, or reduced. The DNR uses an adaptive management system for the state’s bear and deer populations.

But conservation interest groups say it’s strange for the Legislature to come over the top after the committee process already involved input from various views. Conservationists also argue that going without a specific number allows more flexibility in various areas of the state. Adrian Wydeven in an interview, told the Wisconsin Examiner.

“It seems like an odd way for the Legislature to try to regulate the wolf population, going around the process of using an extensive stakeholder committee that developed a rough plan with the DNR,” Wydeven says. “The current plan has better features by focusing control over smaller areas … having that flexibility was important, but you didn’t have to drastically decrease the wolf population. The DNR demonstrated then that having more flexible management was good so you could focus on the wolves in the areas causing problems.”

Wydeven says the last 20 years have shown that Wisconsin’s landscape can handle a lot more wolves than 350. In areas in which wolves are causing a lot of problems, the draft plan allows for more culling, while letting wolves in other parts of the state thrive. Plus, he says the increasing wolf population has had other ecological benefits, including a reduction in the spread of chronic wasting disease among the state’s deer and less overgrazing on tree saplings.

“If we need to control wolves, we should control them in the areas they’re causing problems,” he says. “The plan points out two areas of the state that have the most intense depredation. At the same time, it allows the areas where wolves aren’t causing problems to maintain more natural population levels.” Source

Watch the Husband and wife team, Adrian Wydeven and Sarah Boles, monitoring gray wolves.


People & Wolves

Tagline: A Wisconsin Story Mired in Political Intrigue

Logline: The film tells the story of Wisconsin’s gray wolves, the controversies surrounding them, and how people learn to coexist as these native predators are again fulfilling their ecological role after returning to the state about 45 years ago.

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Producer Director; Rachel Tilseth

Producer Ojibwe Culture; Michael Waasegiizhig Price

Associate Producer; Manish Bhatt

Science Advisor; Adrian Wydeven

Watch the trailer.

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