The DNR’s draft wolf management plan will be presented to the Natural Resources Board in a reguest for approval.

The Natural Resources Board will meet in person on October 25 to request approval of the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan 2023, and the board adopt WM-03-21, proposed rules affecting chapters NR 10 and 12 related to gray wolf harvest regulations. 

Remote testimony from the public via Zoom may be accepted for this meeting. In-person public appearances are also welcome.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources got roughly 3,500 public comments on its new wolf management plan.

The revised draft plan retains several elements that received positive feedback from the public. Commitments to maintaining a healthy wolf population, being responsive to those negatively impacted by interactions with wolves and relying on scientific research and data to guide management decisions in the future. The emphasis on ongoing wolf population monitoring and collaboration with various stakeholders, agencies, and the public is also maintained.

“We heard opinions that run the full spectrum on this issue with much of the feedback, echoing previous inputs and previous public comments that we’ve heard earlier in this process. And there were certainly areas of contention and even misconception expressed in those comments,” said Randy Johnson, DNR’s Large Carnivore Expert and lead author of the plan.

Johnson says many of the changes made in the latest draft of the plan were part of what he calls “improving transparency”.

The population goal was a big one.

The new draft still does not set a numeric population goal. Instead, it focuses on six management goals that differ based on where you are in the state, the kind of wolf habitat, and human conflict.

However, the new draft does include some general guidance on what the state’s goal would be in terms of growing, stabilizing, and declining the wolf population based on population estimates.

The public is reminded that the WI DNR is legislatively mandated by the 2011 Wisconsin Act 169: If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.

Remote testimony from the public via Zoom may be accepted for this meeting. In-person public appearances are also welcome. Members of the public can submit their request to testify remotely, in person, or their written comments by the posted deadline date for Board consideration.

Open Forum – will be after items 1-4 or immediately following morning break at approximately 10:15 a.m. If you request to testify during the Open Forum, please be ready to speak when the Board takes up this item. Each speaker will have three minutes to give their testimony; however, the Board Chair has final discretion on a time limit.

The following is from the Board’s meeting guidelines: Only one speaker per organization. Testimony that threatens, intimidates, or includes disparaging comments about Board Members, department staff, and other members of the public will not be allowed. Those that do so may be removed from the meeting or remote location.

Please get in touch with Ashley Bystol, NRB Liaison, at 608-267-7420 or by email at with NRB-related questions, to request information, submit written comments or to register to testify at a meeting.

Public Participation Deadline:  NRB Liaison’s receipt of your request to testify and/or written comment is 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

The public is encouraged to watch the Board meeting via YouTube:


A Vermilion River pup is going into our “weigh bag” so we can see how big the pup is. Photo credit: Anthony Souffle.

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