Wisconsin Says ‘Yes’ to Science-Based Wolf Management

Gray wolves might once again be fair game for Wisconsin hunters as early as this fall.

Wisconsin Says ‘Yes’ to Science-Based Wolf Management

Wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List in January, opening the door for states such as Wisconsin to implement a hunting season to control their numbers. (Photo: istockphotos.com/KenCanning)

Wisconsin hunters might once again have the opportunity to set their sights on the state’s No. 1 apex predator thanks to legislation that recently removed the gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species List. The last time wolves were delisted in the Badger State and hunting seasons implemented was in 2014-15, when resident hunters and trappers harvested 154 wolves. Following that season, a federal judge banned the hunting of these surplus animals by returning them to endangered species protection. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there is a minimum of 914-978 individual wolves and 243 packs in Wisconsin — well above the quota set by the DNR management plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protection on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to state agencies. The Wisconsin DNR has successfully managed gray wolves for decades and will continue to do so in accordance with the laws of the state and the best science available, according to the Wisconsin DNR and is planning for a wolf harvest season in the fall of 2021 and working toward completing a 10 year wolf management plan that will guide future management decisions for wolves in Wisconsin.

The DNR will continue to partner with USDA-Wildlife Services to address wolf conflicts in Wisconsin. Anyone who suspects wolves in the depredation of livestock, pets or hunting dogs, or if wolves are exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior, they should contact USDA-Wildlife Services staff immediately. In northern Wisconsin, call 1-800-228-1368 or 715-369-5221. In southern Wisconsin, call (800) 433-0663 or (920) 324-4514.

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