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Wisconsin Bear Hunters Call for 2020 Wolf Harvest Season

October 29, 2020

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) is today asking the Wisconsin DNR to take all actions necessary to quickly implement a 2020 harvest season for wolves in Wisconsin.

“Now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has delisted wolves in our state, we expect the department to follow state statute and put the season in place as soon as possible,” said WBHA President Carl Schoettel.

Under state statutes the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by Federal law. Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the populations of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin, from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

This designation has returned management to the state. The state assumed management of the species in 2012, with a hunting season the following fall, resulting in the harvesting of 117 animals. In 2013, hunters harvested 257, and 154 animals the following season in 2014.

Under the state wolf plan, Wisconsin has a population goal of 350 animals, yet information provided by the DNR’s new populations estimates put the wolf population over 1300 animals.

Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th. The DNR may close the different harvest zones once harvest goals have been met.

“We are asking the Department to immediately begin to take all the necessary steps to implement a season including: setting the harvest quotas and license numbers for each zone, opening applications for wolf licenses, selecting applicants from the at-random selection and the preference point selection, and establishing an opening day if these actions cannot be completed by the first Saturday in November,” said Schoettel.

Schoettel added, “Wisconsin’s management of the wolf population has been restrained for too long by the actions of an activist court not located in our state. We look forward to working with the DNR and state policymakers to return wolf management to the state.”