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DNR report shows wolf harvest doubled in 2013 season

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7 years 2 months ago #110 by WWH Admin
Hunters and trappers killed more than twice as many wolves in the 2013 Wisconsin season, including 35 with the aid of dogs, but the harvest makeup was very similar to 2012, according to a Department of Natural Resources report.

And evaluations of the wolves killed by hunters using dogs showed no violation of state law, the agency said.

The DNR issued a wolf season summary report Tuesday. It showed 257 wolves were killed during the season, including 180 by trappers using foothold traps and 77 by hunters.

One wolf was reported taken with archery equipment; the rest were killed with firearms.

The 2013 season opened Oct. 15 and closed Dec. 23, the same closing date as 2012.

However, 117 wolves were killed during the 2012 season.

The higher kill in 2013 was due to a substantial increase in permits and the DNR’s goal of decreasing the state’s wolf population, said Dave MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist.

The Wisconsin wolf population was estimated at between 658 and 687 animals in late winter 2013, down from 809 to 834 the previous year.

The DNR is managing the wolf population toward the goal of 350 wolves expressed in the 1999 Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan. The plan is due to be updated this year.

Similar to the previous year, the 2013 wolf kill was 52% male and 48% female, and about 50% of the animals were young-of-the-year, 25% yearling and 25% age 2 and older.

The agency’s veterinarian evaluated 27 of the 35 wolves killed by hunters using dogs. One of the wolves had bite marks and hemorrhaging on its hindquarters and back, MacFarland said, but it could not be determined what species caused the injuries.

Humane societies, hunters and others have joined a lawsuit that seeks to prevent the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The groups have expressed concerns about deadly interactions between wolves and dogs amounting to “state sanctioned dog fighting.” A Dane County judge allowed the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The case is in state appeals court.

DNR wardens received 46 complaints, conducted 31 investigations and issued 21 citations during the season, according to the report. Eighteen of the citations were issued to trappers.

2014 wolf quota: The DNR’s Wolf Advisory Committee will meet Monday in Wausau to make its wolf harvest quota recommendation for the 2014-’15 wolf hunting and trapping season.

The recommendation is advisory only; DNR wildlife staff and upper-level administrators will make a final recommendation to the Natural Resources Board.

However, the committee’s work is being closely watched, especially since the DNR altered its membership last year to exclude wolf protection groups such as the Sierra Club and the Humane Society of the United States. Only two groups, the Timber Wolf Alliance and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, remain on the committee that will likely argue for low or no wolf kill quotas.

Other members of the committee include the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association. All have expressed a goal of 350 or fewer wolves in Wisconsin.

“Come Monday, a committee heavily stacked by the DNR with pro-hunting interests will be meeting to establish this season’s wolf hunting and trapping quotas,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin, an environmental attorney based in Milwaukee. “This is no way to sustain our Public Trust wildlife resources into the future.”

Twenty-one county boards in northern Wisconsin have signed resolutions seeking a statewide wolf population of 350 or fewer.

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