A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in Dane County court to try to keep dogs out of the state's upcoming wolf hunt until additional safeguards for dogs are put in place.More >>
A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in Dane County court to try to keep dogs out of the state's upcoming wolf hunt until additional safeguards for dogs are put in place. More >>
MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's first organized wolf hunting season is set to begin Monday and state officials and hunters are gearing up for the controversial pilot season.
"I've pretty much been hunting my whole life," said Jim Downing of Edgerton. But now Downing will face a new challenge. He's one of 1,160 people that have been licensed to hunt wolves in the state. "Well, from what I hear from my buddies who hunt up there, it sounds pretty good in the area we're going to," Downing said about heading up north to hunt.
Gray wolves were taken off the endangered species list in January and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources calls the wolf hunt historic. Wisconsin joins only a handful of other states that allow it.
"I think it is a success story and I think this is an opportunity for us to manage wolves as we do other species in the state," DNR Land Division Administrator Kurt Thiede said. According to Thiede, the Wisconsin wolf population has surpassed the state's goal. The DNR has set a wolf hunting quota at 116 for this season.
For some that's too many. Wisconsin's wolf hunt has sparked outrage and a lawsuit that has temporarily blocked dogs from being used in the hunt.
Thiede said,"It takes one of the tools away, that's for sure. One of the things we've seen from the Western states is that success rates have been in the single digits."
For the moment, hunters can bait, shoot and trap wolves. They'll have to report any kills to the DNR. "As far as concerns, we're I think more just interested in learning. This will be our first opportunity to have a wolf hunt in the state, this will be a chance for us to gather data," Thiede said.
The wolf hunt is set to run through February 28. DNR officials say there will most likely be another wolf hunt next year.
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