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.
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.
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 .....
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.
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.