Wolf hunt

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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. 

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. 

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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.” 

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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.

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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 .....

 

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