Wolf hunt


Trappers incidentally capturing wolves are encouraged to contact the DNR and participate in Wisconsin's wolf collaring and monitoring program. Dave MacFarland is a DNR large carnivore specialist...

"....we've recently started our fall trapping season and especially people who are out trapping coyotes may incidentally trap a wolf. We're asking folks to give us a call and let us put a radio collar on those animals...."

Wisconsin DNR

David MacFarland   received the Wisconsin DNR  Wildlife Management's 2014 Wildlife Conservation Excellence Award at their annual statewide meeting.

MacFarland was recognized for his dedication to wolf management in Wisconsin. Officials say  MacFarland's  grasp of the complexities of wolf biology, state and federal law, history, and sociology have contributed to the award.

From Rhinelander, MacFarland coordinates the department's efforts to update the Wolf Management Plan which will be used to help guide wolf conservation through the next decade.

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. 



A coalition of animal rights groups is pushing to downgrade federal protections for the gray wolf, hoping to compromise with opponents who want to remove protections altogether.

The groups are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the gray wolf as threatened rather than endangered.   

Wolves are currently endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan, thanks to a court ruling in late December that put the wolf back under federal protection. 

But some members of Congress are pushing to change that status through legislation.    


Hazelhurst Republican Tom Tiffany thinks Wisconsin's federal representatives should take action following a federal judge's decision to put wolves back on the federal endangered species list. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell  ruled that it was "arbitrary and capricious" to take gray wolves off the federal endangered species list. While Wisconsin's wolf hunt ended a few days prior to the ruling, it ended wolf hunts in the region for the future.

Brooks Tracy / USFWS

Wolves are once again considered an endangered species in Wisconsin.  

A federal judge Friday ruled in favor of the Humane Society, and called the 2012 delisting of wolves “arbitrary and capricious.” 

Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe says the Humane Society is happy that wolves are back under federal control. 


The public is expected to provide input on a  new DNR wolf management plan.

DNR carnivore specialist David MacFarland outlines what the agency will be doing...

"....the Department is in the process of developing a new wolf management plan that will serve as a guide to future management. We're at a point where we're going to be releasing a public draft. That will be done in early January...."

MacFarland says after that will be a public input period which will include written comments on the plan.

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.


Michigan voters Tuesday clearly backed not hunting wolves in Michigan, but wolf hunt supporters say the votes mean little, as a hunt has been authorized for March.

One measure removed the wolf from the state endangered list and classified it as a game species. The other empowered the appointed Natural Resources Commission to decide whether wolves should be hunted. The outcome of Tuesday's election voids both laws. But the Legislature passed yet another wolf hunt bill this summer that  remains in effect.

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

A total of four zones will be closed to wolf hunting by the end of the day Monday.

Zone 5 will be the latest to close at 6:30 Monday, as hunters continue to quickly hit harvest quotas in the northern and central parts of the state.

Zones 1, 2 and 4 closed over the weekend.

The wolf harvest quota in Wisconsin’s third wolf hunting season is lower than it’s been in the past.  The statewide limit is 150, and more than half that number of wolves have already been taken.

The wolf hunt began on Wednesday.

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

If you’re a trapper…the DNR wants to hear about it when you accidentally capture a wolf.

DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says if you trap a wolf without meaning to and without a wolf harvest permit, it can be a convenient time for the DNR to put a radio collar on that wolf. 

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association is hoping the DNR’s plan to look into dog-wolf interactions will put the controversy to rest. 

The DNR will ask wolf hunters this winter to let an expert examine a harvested wolf as its pelt is removed.  The goal is to look for bite wounds that could be signs of fighting between dogs and wolves…a possibility which critics say makes wolf hunting with hounds unethical.   

Al Lobner, President of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association, says he doesn’t think wolf hunting with hounds poses much risk for dogs.

Derek Bakken

The Wisconsin DNR wants to gather more information about wolves killed in the wolf hunt this winter.  The Natural Resources Board heard about a new voluntary plan for wolf registration Wednesday.

The DNR plans to ask hunters and trappers to register their wolves before they are skinned…so department experts can look for signs of bite wounds.

The state Natural Resources Board wants to see more analysis of whether wolf hunting with hounds can lead to illegal fighting between dogs and wolves.