Login form

× How are some of the laws effecting your ability to hunt wolves in Wisconsin?
Maybe there's a law you'd like put into place.

Wisconsin DNR advocates increase in quota for wolf hunt

  • WWH Admin
  • WWH Admin's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
6 years 3 weeks ago #58 by WWH Admin
By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

Wolf hunters and trappers would be issued 37% more kill permits this year in Wisconsin under a plan recommended Thursday by the state’s wolf advisory committee.

The group, comprised of Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers and members of stakeholder groups, recommended a statewide wolf quota of 275 animals.

Last year, in the first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season in state history, the quota was 201.

Non-tribal hunters and trappers killed 117 wolves in the 2012-’13 season. Chippewa tribes elected not to use the 85 tags allotted to them in the ceded territory.

The DNR is working to reduce the wolf population in accordance with the Wisconsin wolf management plan established in 1999. The plan, which is scheduled to be updated over the next two years, sets a management goal of 350 wolves in the state.

“Our plan is to put downward pressure on the wolf population, but do so in a responsible way over a period of years,” said Dave MacFarland, DNR carnivore state specialist.

The state’s wolf population was estimated at between 809 and 831 animals in 216 packs over the winter of 2012-’13, according to a DNR report issued in April. The previous winter’s estimate was 815 to 880 wolves in 213 packs.

The late-winter estimates are derived from aerial counts, ground observations of radio-collared wolves and tracking surveys. The work is conducted in winter when wolves are easiest to track and count, but also at a time when the population is near its annual low.

Wolf populations typically double in late spring after pups are born and then decline through late winter because of various sources of mortality.

In addition to the wolves taken by hunters and trappers, 124 wolves were confirmed killed through other means in 2012, according to DNR records. The other sources of mortality include 57 killed by federal wildlife agents, 22 hit by vehicles, 18 killed by landowners and nine killed illegally.

Because the state’s wolf population was unchanged or declined only slightly over the last year, even with increased mortality from hunting and trapping and through depredation control efforts of state and federal agents, a higher quota had been anticipated this year.

MacFarland said research has shown a wolf population can sustain a 29% rate of human-caused mortality without showing a decrease. Last year in Wisconsin, the human-caused mortality rate on wolves was 30%.

The committee recommended the state issue 2,750 kill permits to hunters and trappers to reach the 275 harvest quota. MacFarland said there was a “strong consensus” among the group to use the same 10-fold formula of permits to quota that guided the hunt last year.

Chippewa tribes are entitled to 50% of the permits in the Wisconsin’s ceded territory, roughly the northern third of the state.

It’s unknown whether the tribes will elect to use any permits this year. It’s also not yet known how many kill tags will be offered this season to non-tribal hunters and trappers.

The committee’s recommendations are the first steps toward setting the 2013-’14 wolf hunting and trapping quota.

MacFarland said over the next week it will be reviewed by the DNR’s policy team, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress wolf committee. Then it will be presented to the Voigt Intertribal Task Force on June 5 and the Natural Resources Board on June 25-26.

The application deadline for wolf hunting and trapping permits is Aug. 31. The application fee is $10.

A proposal in the 2013-’15 state budget would lower the cost of a resident wolf hunting and trapping license to $49. It was $100 last year.

The state budget is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

Statewide trolling: The Natural Resources Board on Wednesday approved a rule to expand motor trolling to all waters in Wisconsin.

The rule would permit motor trolling with at least one line per angler on waters where it wasn’t previously allowed. Most waters of the state would be open to trolling with three lines.

The board’s action would allow motor trolling with one line in all waters of the following counties not previously open to motor trolling: Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Iron, Jackson, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oneida, Ozaukee, Sawyer, Sheboygan, Vilas and Waushara.

Motor trolling will be permitted with three lines per angler in all other counties, as well as in specific waters where it is currently legal.

The DNR had proposed a rule to allow statewide motor trolling with three lines per angler. However, the proposal failed to gain majority support in a vote at the 2013 spring hearings (2,775 to 2,391) and was opposed by some resort owners, fishing guides and anglers, particularly from northern Wisconsin.

The amended plan presented Wednesday was supported by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, said congress chairman Rob Bohmann.

Pending legislative review, the new trolling regulation will take effect April 1, 2014.

Free is the word: The DNR is offering free fishing and free access to state trails and parks next weekend in Wisconsin. Several fishing clinics are also scheduled.

In addition, ATVs and UTVs can be used without registration Saturday and next Sunday.

The license-free opportunities are part of the state’s annual promotion of outdoor recreation.

It includes free fishing and free access to DNR trails Saturday and next Sunday; free entry to state parks and forests next Sunday; and free ATV/UTV riding Saturday and next Sunday.

Events include free fishing clinics Saturday at Washington Park lagoon in Milwaukee, run by E.B. Garner Fishing Club, and at Memorial Park in Oconomowoc, sponsored by the City of Oconomowoc.

For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov.

Please Log in to join the conversation.