Wisconsin state authorities had a goal of 119 gray wolf (public) kills for this year in an effort to stabilize the growing wolf population, and let’s just say that their goal was easily obtained… and then some.
According to The Guardian, 216 gray wolves killed in Wisconsin during the state’s wolf hunting season, 82% higher than the authorities’ stated quota.
The DNR proposed a quota of 200 wolves for this season, or 20% of the current wolf population in Wisconsin. Native American tribes have the rights to 81 wolves, citing their treaty rights to claim 50% of the harvest on ceded land, leaving 119 wolves for the public.
DNR wildlife director Eric Lobner, had this to say about the number of kills:
“Should we, would we, could we have (closed the season) sooner? Yes. Did we go over? We did. Was that something we wanted to happen? Absolutely not.”
The wildest part about all this, the kills happened in a span of only 60 hours, blowing the state’s kill limit of 119 out of the water. The state’s Natural Resources department was forced to end wolf hunting season four days early (the season is only a week long). Hunting is extremely important for conservation and population control, but this is an example of what can happen when it’s mismanaged.
As expected, the animal lovers came out in full force, sparking an uproar due to the number of killings. It’s also expected that many of wolves killed could’ve been pregnant meaning the count is even higher. Megan Nicholson, director of the Humane Society of the United States responded to the wolf killings:
“This is a deeply sad and shameful week for Wisconsin… this week’s hunt proves that now, more than ever, gray wolves need federal protections restored to protect them from short-sighted and lethal state management.”
However, the state of Wisconsin isn’t worried. DNR officials called the wolf population “robust” and “resilient” and are confident that they’ll be able to properly manage the number going forward.
The gray wolf protection was put in place back in 2014, however, as the population saw an increase over time, federal protections were lifted last year and the gray wolf was removed from the Endangered Species List.
Announced today, the Wisconsin DNR is looking to form a Wolf Management Plan Committee to aid in managing their wolf population for the fall hunting season.
The DNR today announced the open application period for a newly formed Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC). Beginning this month, the DNR will begin recruitment for the WMPC with an open application period through March 19.