Badger State Wolf Season Launched

The Wisconsin DNR plans to issue 4,000 licenses for a February 2021 gray wolf hunt.

Badger State Wolf Season Launched

Wisconsin will hold a gray wolf hunting/trapping season in February to help control the number of this apex predator in the state. (Photo:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources didn’t waste any time in forging ahead with a gray wolf hunting/trapping season when the apex predator was recently removed from the federal endangered species list. In fact, a proposed season will allow hunters to kill 200 wolves during the last week of February this year, even as the state appeals a judge’s order requiring the winter hunting season. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board voted unanimously to authorize a February gray wolf hunting and trapping season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal endangered species list on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to state agencies and the Wisconsin DNR will issue up to 4,000 permits, based on a recommended quota of 200 wolves. That’s twice as many permits as recommended by staff, but board member Greg Kazmierski said that given the shortened season having more hunters in the field would make it more likely to hit the quota. It would result in about one hunter per 4 square miles, about 2.5 percent the density of deer hunters. Wolf numbers in the Badger State have exceeded the DNR management plan goal of 350 wolves living outside of tribal reservations, with an estimated resident population of 1,034 to 1,057 wolves in the 2019-20 count..

According to the Wisconsin DNR website, the wolf season will close no later than Sunday, February 28. The Department’s approved quota considered 2020 wolf population data, population response to previous harvest seasons, scientific literature and population model projections. The proposed quota’s objective is to allow for a sustainable harvest that neither increases nor decreases the state’s wolf population.

The application period closes February 22, and winners can begin hunting and trapping once they purchase a license. The season ends on February 28. The DNR will then begin accepting license applications for the November 2021 season on March 1.

Wisconsin last held a wolf hunt in 2014, but the law allows people to shoot wolves if there is an immediate threat to human safety or if wolves are attacking domestic animals on private land. For more information on hunting/trapping wolves in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website at


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