The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved a harvest quota of 275 wolves for the next year. Meeting in Wausau Wednesday, the board unanimously approved the higher level. Last year, 201 animals were set as the limit.
The quota includes 115 wolves set aside for the Chippewa bands off-reservation treaty rights. That quota will likely never be used as the tribes see the wolf as a sacred animal.
Sarah Johnson from the Timber Wolf Alliance in Manitowish Waters thinks the idea of raising the number by nearly 40 percent in one year without more study might be hasty.
"We do have concerns about the 275 number. Primarily because the number appears to be somewhat arbitrary. In that as far as how much science you can get from one year in order to change a quota by 75 animals from one year to the next."
In testimony before the Natural Resources Board, Ralph Fritsch of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation supported the DNR's efforts to lower the sustainable number of wolves to 350.
“We’re way above goal. And in some areas of the state they have a very big problem with wolf populations. Not only to deprivation of livestock, but the people living in the areas are very uncomfortable with the high population of wolves.”
The price of a license has also been reduced to $49.
The Wisconsin wolf population is about 830 animals. Besides the 201 wolves taken last year, a number of animals died from car crashes, illegal takings, and because of predation.