Isiah Holmes

About That Wisconsin Wolf Hunt

‘Constitutional rights’ or ‘sad and shameful week’?

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Mar 3rd, 2021 10:28 am
Gray wolf. Photo by Derek Bakken / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Gray wolf. Photo by Derek Bakken / (CC BY)

As Wisconsin reflects on its February wolf hunt, opinion remains split regarding the impact of the hunt. Some 216 wolves are known to have been killed during that brief period, exceeding a quota of 119 wolves that was set by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) outside of reservation lands. By Feb. 24, the hunt was closed by the DNR, four days ahead of schedule.

Advocates for the hunt saw it as necessary species management, as well as an issue of constitutional rights for hunters. Conservationists, however, questioned several aspects of the hunt and how quickly it developed. In the last days of the Trump Administration, the gray wolf (Canis Lupus) was removed from the federal endangered species list. After a circuit court judge ruled in favor of a Kansas-based hunters’ organization, the DNR began preparing for the 2021 wolf hunt.

Several concerns over the hunt arose right away. The initial quota of 200 wolves accounted for some 16% of Wisconsin’s population, which, according to DNR numbers, stood at around 1,000 wolves. Researchers and biologists were also concerned about the hunt taking place during the wolf’s breeding season.

Due to the limited time frame between the court ruling and the hunt, public and tribal input in Wisconsin on the hunt was limited. Six zones were allocated in different parts of the state for hunting wolves, each with its own unique quota. Every single one of those quotas was exceeded.

A picture showing how Wisconsin was broken up into 6 zones for the wolf hunt. Picture from the Department of Natural Resources.

A picture showing how Wisconsin was broken up into 6 zones for the wolf hunt. Picture from the Department of Natural Resources.

In Zone 1, for example, a quota of 31 wolves was set, but 50 were taken. In Zone 2, a 18 wolf quota was set but 45 wolves were documented as taken. In Zone 6, a 17 wolf quota was set, yet, 40 wolves were killed. According to the DNR, a quota of 119 wolves was set on non-reservation lands in respect of tribal treaties. These numbers far exceeded the intended quotas set by the DNR.

The quota was exceeded even after the Ojibwe Bands opted to not hunt the wolves that were allocated to them out of the 200 wolf quota total. As Up North News reported, the wolf is spiritually and culturally significant for the tribes. Wisconsin’s native communities largely condemned what some described as not wildlife management, but trophy hunting.

“This is a deeply sad and shameful week for Wisconsin,” said Megan Nicholson, Wisconsin state director for the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “Trophy hunters and trappers drastically blew past the quota of 199 and killed over 200 wolves, using the most egregious methods imaginable and during the breeding season when wolves are pregnant.”

She added that, “entire wolf families were likely destroyed during this intense slaughter, highlighting how crucial it is that wolf management in Wisconsin immediately change before this heartbreaking situation repeats itself in November.”

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

3 thoughts on “About That Wisconsin Wolf Hunt”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    Hunting wolves is barbaric.

  2. Barbara Richards says:

    What is barbaric is the DNR caving in to pressure. They needed to say we are planning a hunt in the fall and there will be strict guidelines. Now that this has happened they need to slap hands and say no hunt this fall. We will revaluate when the next FALL Hunt will be.

    Or perhaps they will realize the only need is to monitor when wolves and humans are too close as in some incidents on cranberry farms. Those need to be taken. How can we live with these relatives?

  3. Thomas Martinsen says:

    Wolves deserve to live.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us