Wisconsin Farm Bureau critical of DNR wolf season delays

Wisconsin’s largest farm organization is criticizing the state’s Department of Natural Resources for dragging its feet on wolf management. 

Tyler Wenzlaff with Wisconsin Farm Bureau tells Brownfield there is no reason to delay a wolf hunting season until next winter. “The DNR has had months of time to go through the process and it’s quite clear in state law that they can hold a wolf hunt yet this winter.”

Federal action to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List happened in October, and the wolf is no longer on that list since January 4th.  Wenzlaff says the DNR does not need additional time to develop a hunting season. “They’ve had plenty of time since last year to develop their outreach plan and execute it and we are of the opinion that that should have happened and can still happen yet this winter.”

And, Wenzlaff says not having a wolf hunt might mean more than a loss of livestock for farmers. “In Wisconsin, hunting fees pay for the depredation, so if you’re not going to have a wolf hunting season, you’re not going to have those fees until next fall or winter. There is a gray area here of what happens with those payments to farmers and ranchers.”

Farm Bureau is not alone in its criticism of the DNR.  State Representative Calvin Callahan of Tomahawk calls the agency’s actions “disgraceful” after delaying the hunting season and failing to participate in a joint legislative hearing Wednesday on the wolf hunt.   Callahan says Wisconsin still has a law establishing a wolf hunting season from October 15th until the last day of February, and he says Governor Tony Evers and his DNR are blatantly ignoring state statute.  The DNR plans to allow hunting and trapping starting November 6th.

The decision to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species List is being challenged in court again.  A coalition of animal rights groups filed suit Thursday to try to reverse the most recent delisting decision.  Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Kitty Block issued a statement calling the delisting illegal and says it puts wolves in the crosshairs of trophy hunters and abandons fragile populations where wolves have only begun to re-establish themselves.

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