Less than two months into a six month wolf hunting season, Wisconsin hunters have already surpassed half of their quota. That could mean the wolf hunt will end in some zones as early as December.
DNR Lands Administrator Kurt Thiede says with 59 wolves killed and a quota of 116, this is a faster pace than in other states that have been hunting wolves for years.
"The fact that we have reached the halfway point and we've done so safely, that our hunters and trappers are successful in helping us manage the population," he says.
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Biologist Peter David says he's not surprised so many wolves have been taken so fast.
"I know a lot of people believed there might be some problems harvesting wolves in the state but two things came into play here," he says. "One is the stat issued a relatively high number of permits, 10 for each animal they wanted harvested. Then the second part of it is, Wisconsin wolves are really accessible."
So David says this is proof the six month season is too long and that dogs aren't needed to hunt wolves.
"That provision has been put on hold for this year because of the lawsuit brought by the Humane Society and regardless how you might feel about that suit, I think it is pretty clear that there's really no need to have this methodology, a very controversial method in order to reach the quotas," he says.
Thiede says they're learning what works and what's needed. One is that 64% of the wolves harvested have been taken by trappers.
"This is our first year," he says. "It's always hard to kind of develop a trend or make any conclusions from one season so we'll learn a lot from this first year as to what techniques are most effective."
Most of the wolves have been trapped or shot in the two northern zones from Douglas to Marinette Counties. Once a zone's quota has been reached, wolf hunting will end there.