Wisconsin’s three-day wolf season exceeds quota targets

Wisconsin’s February wolf hunting season lasted less than three days but surpassed the targeted quota by almost one hundred animals.

DNR Division Administrator Keith Warnke told reporters Thursday that hunters and trappers harvested 216 wolves from Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon. “The harvest breakdown was 86% taken by use of dogs, 5% taken by trappers, and 9% by other hunting methods.”

Carnivore Specialist Randy Johnson confirms most were adolescent wolves and not the older breeding stock.  Johnson says going over the quota isn’t likely going to harm wolf populations. “A relatively small percentage over the total quota, and so I would say there’s low concern, you know, at the population level of any significant effects there.”

By law, DNR must give 24-hours’ notice before closing a wolf hunting zone.

2020 DNR statistics show wolves killed 40 calves and one cow, along with fifteen sheep, one horse, one alpaca, 31 dogs, and 40 hens.

The season started with a 200-wolf quota, 119 of which were allocated to hunters and trappers with 81 set aside for the Ojibwe tribes. 

Eric Lobner with the wildlife management program says there were nine wolves registered at the end of Monday, but overnight online registrations jumped to 48 by Tuesday morning, so DNR immediately moved to close three of the six hunting zones.  Later Tuesday, they had to begin closing the remaining zones.  Lobner says unlike past seasons, they issued twenty times more permits than the quota target for the short season instead of the usual ten times the quota at the direction of the Natural Resources Board.  He says weather including fresh snow made for ideal wolf tracking conditions as well.

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