Wolf Committee To Recommend New Hunt Quotas

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Recommendations on how many wolves should be killed during this fall’s hunting and trapping season could emerge from a committee meeting this Thursday in Wausau.

Last fall, 117 wolves were killed during the state’s first wolf hunting and trapping season. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates this spring’s gray wolf population in Wisconsin has only slightly declined from a year ago. Some think the DNR is ready to push for raising the kill quota this coming fall. The DNR says it’s too early to say what recommendations will come out of a meeting of a wolf advisory committee meeting on Thursday. Howard Goldman, of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a critic of wolf hunting, says the DNR reorganized the committee to exclude him. He says he won’t be able to vote to block any pro-hunt recommendations.

“And as an observer at this point, of course, they can choose to listen or not, before, as an active member of course, our voices were counted amongst those of other members of the stakeholders group.”

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Goldman says his group fears the state will eventually try to reduce the wolf population to 350 compared to the current estimated population of more than 800. The DNR’s Bill Vander Zouwen says two wolf committees were combined and some slots were reduced.

“There’s a limited number of people or groups on the committee to make them workable, but everybody still has an opportunity for input.”

Zouwen also promises later public round tables that will bring in a wide variety of comments. The HSUS is keeping one key role in the wolf hunt debate: The group is still asking a federal judge to bring back endangered species protections for the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region, and block Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan from allowing wolf hunts.

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