Dave Macfarland

Brooks Tracy / USFWS

Despite about a hundred and fifty wolves taken in a wolf hunt last winter, Wisconsin’s wolf population has increased. 

Preliminary numbers from the state DNR have put last winter’s population between 746 and 771 wolves.

That’s a thirteen percent increase from the year before, when numbers were as low as 660.    

Carnivore Specialist Dave Macfarland says the number is on the upper end of what biologists expected when they set a hunting quota last year. 

 

Brooks Tracy / USFWS

Wisconsin’s third wolf hunt is probably nearing its end as hunters approach the season’s quota.

As of Wednesday a hundred and forty two wolves have been taken out of the total licensed quota of 150. 

But some opponents are crying foul, saying the hunt is overly aggressive toward the state’s wolf population.

Wisconsin state Director of the Humane Society Melissa Tedrowe says the population can’t sustain the harvest.

Derek Bakken

Just a few days into the wolf hunting season and one zone is already set to close.

Zone 2 includes Oneida, Vilas and Forest Counties.  It’s expected to meet its quota in a matter of hours and will close at noon tomorrow.

As DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave Macfarland explains, the total quota for Zone 2 is just 15 wolves.    

Caninest via http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4029/4394675343_2e347e32c6.jpg

Wisconsin’s third wolf hunt begins Wednesday.

This season’s quota is 150 wolves, about a hundred fewer than the previous season.  That means 1500 people have been authorized to purchase a permit. 

DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says hunters and trappers that hope to harvest a wolf are likely to try and do so as soon as they can.    

Derek Bakken

Most Wisconsinites support a wolf hunt in the state, but only a minority of people want to see the wolf population decrease from its current level.  That's according to some of the draft findings of a recent DNR survey of how people feel about wolves. 

The DNR mailed out surveys to almost 9,000 residents, about half of which were returned and analyzed. 

Derek Bakken

State officials still want to shrink Wisconsin’s wolf population, but at a much slower rate.

The state’s Wolf Advisory Committee has recommended a harvest of 156 wolves this fall – more than a hundred fewer than last year.

DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says that’s because the population is shrinking.  Recent state counts put the wolf population at about 660, down from 809 the previous winter.

“A stable quota on a smaller population would represent a much higher rate and would result in accelerating population decline.” 

Retron en.wikipedia.org

Two seasons of wolf hunting have resulted in Wisconsin's first major decline in the grey-wolf population. 

The D-N-R issued a preliminary report this week, showing a drop in wolf numbers from a low number last year of 809 to a low number this year of 658. It's the first major decrease in the Wisconsin wolf numbers since the D-N-R started tracking the species' recovery about 35 years ago. The state had 25 wolves back then.

DNR wolf ecologist Dave MacFarland talked with Ken Krall about the numbers from a census done during the winter months.

Wisconsin’s rising wolf population has sparked controversy over the years.  It’s also sparked a one-of-a-kind program for keeping tabs on those wolves…a volunteer carnivore tracking program run by the DNR. 

These citizen trackers are quietly helping create one of the best tracking datasets on wolves in the world. 

"So the idea is, pattern on the ground, visualization in the mind, any questions on that?"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lazymonkey/348519518/

Dave MacFarland is a large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin DNR.  He coordinates the state’s wolf and bear management plan, plus its cougar response team.  

He’s also the guest at this week’s Science on Tap discussion at the Minocqua Brewing Company.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with him about what carnivore management looks like in the state.  

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Just over two weeks into Wisconsin’s wolf hunting season, and more than two thirds of the wolves have been taken.  

As of October 31st, 181 wolves have been killed.  That leaves just 70 before wolf hunting season closes statewide.   

Zones 1, 2 and 5 are closed, all in the northern part of the state.  DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says two other zones are nearing quotas as well.

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