Department of Natural Resources officials prepare for a wolf hunt.
The state could hold a hunting season for gray wolves starting in October. DNR Land Division Administrator Kurt Thiede says some landowners already have permits to kill problems wolves, but that won’t bring their numbers down. “They’ve been adequate to slow the growth of the wolf population, but what we’ve also seen is the wolf population is in a steady state of growth.”
Wisconsin’s wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list late last year, giving back management to the state. Supporters of a hunt say it’s needed to keep the wolf population from exploding. Thiede says his office is waiting for population numbers to come out next month before they put any rules in place. “Obviously we’re gonna be very cautious in issuing permits or any harvest … we are going to be responsible and make sure that wolves stay off the federal list.”
The latest wolf population estimates are around 800 animals, and Thiede says the DNR’s goal is around 350. The Assembly gave final approval of the bill early Wednesday morning; it goes to the governor’s desk for his consideration. The legislation would allow a limited wolf hunt in the state, with a permit system similar to what’s currently used for bear hunting.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:36