DNR Board approves wolf hunt rules


The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved a set of rules to govern the state’s first wolf hunt. It’s an effort to reduce the size of a population that now exceeds 800 animals.

The board approved a harvest of up to 201 wolves for this season in an effort to eventually reach a target of 350 animals. Some feel the quota should have been set higher. Annette Olson of Glenwood City spoke for livestock owners: “To walk upon the tortured carcass of a newborn calf, with its mother still circling it, nudging it, is a scene that infuriates the farmer.”

For some, the quota should have been set lower. Gary Besaw of the Menominee Tribe spoke about the sacred bond Native Americans have with the animal. “This is one of the reasons why the Menominee are opposed to wolf hunting. Because in effect, we’re saying we’re going to go out there and hunt our brothers and our sisters.”

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Howard Goldman of the Humane Society noted that wolves were only recently taken off the endangered list, “What’s the rush? Wolves are a public trust. They don’t belong to consumptive users. They belong to all the citizens of the state. In fact, they belong to themselves.”

But Bob Welch of the Hunter’s Rights Coalition predicted that the hunt will actually help the population, “Hunters are going to become, I believe, some of the strongest advocates for wolves in the state, because they’ll become a trophy species and they will want to see them continue. That is how it has worked with every other species.”

DNR Secretary Cathy Steppe said it wasn’t easy to reach the final compromise, “You know we had a very, very tall challenge here today and that was to balance the interests of all the different stakeholders which is always something that’s difficult at best.”

The hunt exempts Wisconsin’s tribal lands. About 2000 licenses may be issued in an effort to achieve the kill quota of 201 animals.