An effort last week by four Wisconsin legislators to make it illegal for the DNR to enforce state and federal law regarding management of wolves has been labeled "political theater" by the Endangered Species Coalition. Republican Representatives, including Mary Felzkowski of Irma, and State Senator Tom Tiffany circulated the bill.
Nancy Warren is Executive Director of National Wolfwatcher Coalition. She says the bill might not hold legal muster since it's an effort to upstage federal law on endangered species.
She called the action a publicity stunt and could lead to more poaching...
"....it would encourage poaching and it also prohibits DNR from expending any funds for managing the wolf population. I think it's more of a damaging publicity stunt just for the purpose to inflame and misinform the public about wolves...."
Warren says she understands the loss caused by wolves to farmers, but she says it needs to be put into perspective...
"....between dairy and beef, Wisconsin has over 24,000 cattle farms with over 1.5 million head of cattle In 2016, there were 30 confirmed livestock wolf depredations and 11 probable attacks. The risk to livestock is really low...."
Warren says producers are also reimbursed for their losses to wolves.
She also disputes the claims made about impact to the deer population...
"....most of the wolves are found in the northern part of our state. According to the DNR, population estimates increased 31 percent from 2015-2016 just in the northern forest zone. Research shows weather, and not wolves, have the greatest impact on deer populations..."
Earlier this year, Congressman Sean Duffy authored a bill to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act.