Grey wolf hunt may return to stateIt’s been talked about for years. Now, Wisconsin has begun to study the idea of letting hunters shoot grey wolves.
It’s been talked about for years. Now, Wisconsin has begun to study the idea of letting hunters shoot grey wolves.
Their population has grown well above the state’s goal, and the Department of Natural Resources is giving thousands each year to farmers who lose livestock because the wolves attack them.
There used to be a wolf hunt but it ended in 1956 as the species vanished. It returned in the ‘70s.
Today, there are now up to 564 wolves, way up from the state’s management goal of 350.
Wisconsin has kept open the possibility of a wolf season since 1999. But it was not made possible until last year when the animal was taken off the federal endangered species’ list.
The nation’s Humane Society is challenging that move in federal court, so states are acting quickly to update their management plans while they can.
Many farmers support a wolf hunt. Last year, the DNR paid almost $70,000 to farmers who lost cattle, dogs and sheep to attacking wolves.
A record 30 farms reported such losses in 2007.
This spring, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, which advises the DNR, endorsed a wolf hunt.
No one knows how it would succeed because it has not been tried in neighboring Minnesota or Michigan.
Minnesota is in a five-year moratorium. Wisconsin risks a lawsuit from wolf advocates if it adopts a hunting season. But the DNR still plans to get input from interests on both sides.
The Natural Resources Board was told about the study Wednesday in Platteville. The Legislature must approve it, and it would take a couple years to adopt at the earliest.