Wolf hunt

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. 


Wisconsin’s wolf hunt will go forward with a quota of 156 wolves this winter.  

The state’s Natural Resources Board has approved the Wolf Advisory Committee’s recommendation.  The board met in Milwaukee but took live video testimony from Rhinelander, where about a dozen people gathered to voice their opinions. 

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

Last week the state Wolf Advisory Committee met in Wausau to work out proposed details of this fall's wolf hunt. The state would like to have about 350 wolves as a stable population, with projections over the winter of around 600. That is down almost 20 percent from one year earlier. 

But Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional Director for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, is critical of the composition of the Advisory Committee and says they're not following the earlier intent of managing the state's wolf population.

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.


One Wisconsin wolf hunt zone remains open and a top DNR official says no incidents have been reported.

As of today, 213 wolves have been taken in six zones from a maximum quota of 251. Only Zone 3, which includes portions of Price and Taylor counties, is still open. In that zone, 31 animals were taken from a quota of 71.


DNR Northern District leader John Gozdzialski .....


Paul White

DNR officials are asking for volunteers to help with the state’s winter wolf count.  

  DNR Carnivore Biologist Jane Wiedenhoeft says those numbers go into determining the state’s wolf hunting quota. 

“It’s extremely important to us.  It’s not our only source of data for the winter count, but it is a major source of data.”

Wolves are the main counting target, but trackers will also note signs of other carnivores. 

At least two days of training required to get familiar with different animal tracks and the basics of wolf ecology.

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.


The DNR has closed Wolf Harvest Zone 2 to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective Wednesday, Oct. 23, 3 p.m. The zone is closed to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the 2013-2014 wolf harvest season. That zone includes most of Oneida, Forest and Vilas counties, and portions of Lincoln and Langlade counties.

Wolf Harvest Zone 2 is the first zone to be closed this season. The harvest of wolves currently remains open in all other zones.

Herbert Lange

Wolf hunting season opens Tuesday.  

About 2500 people have been awarded permits to harvest a wolf.  The DNR most recently reported fewer than half of those have actually purchased their licenses.  But DNR Carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland says that’s nothing unusual.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The state’s wolf hunting season begins next week.  People hoping to harvest a wolf have already applied for and received their permit.

About 2500 permits were awarded in mid-August based on a lottery system.  DNR Carnivore Specialist  David MacFarland says the number of applications dropped from 20,000 last year, to less than 17,000 this year. 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wisconsin’s gray wolf population is estimated at over 800 - high enough that the state Department of Natural Resources allows a certain number of wolves to be hunted each year.  

But in the 1970s the wolf population was a fraction of that number, leading to their protection under federal and state legislation.  Jennifer Steinglein studies wolf population dynamics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She says the recent population growth didn’t happen all at once.  Its strongest increase came within the last two decades.              

Herbert Lange / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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.

International Wolf Center

A new survey is helping opponents of a wolf hunt in Wisconsin before a vote next week in Wausau.

A poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and the Humane Society of the United States finds by a margin of 8 to 1, state residents oppose trophy hunting and trapping of wolves. By a 9 to 1 margin they also opposed using dogs to hunt wolves.

Howard Goldman is the Minnesota Director for the Humane Society of the U.S., and is a member of the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group for three years....