Wisconsin Wolf Hunters More Successful Than Anticipated: Culled 97 Over Quota

A total of 216 wolves were taken in the state’s three-day hunt (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Hunters in Wisconsin have been waiting seven years to target gray wolves, and they made the most of what ended up being a shortened, three-day hunting season.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported that non-Native American hunters took home 216 wolves, 97 more than the DNR had allotted to be harvested during this hunt.

Hunters didn’t break any rules. When 82 wolves were killed in the first two days after opening, the DNR immediately closed what should have been a week-long season. But they allowed hunters a 24-hour grace period to learn about the sudden season closure. In that time, hunters killed another 133 wolves.

“It’s easy at this point in the game to say, yeah, maybe we should have closed it a little bit sooner,” said DNR Wildlife Management Director Eric Lobner at a Thursday news conference. “There were so many unknowns about how the season was going to play out… How far we went over goal was not necessarily our objective.”

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After wolves were removed from the endangered species list by the Trump administration, the Wisconsin DNR announced it would schedule a hunt for November 2021. The hunt was moved up to February because Republican lawmakers feared the Biden administration would try to reverse Trump’s order, according to the Associated Press.

A hunter advocacy group called Hunter Nation sued the Wisconsin DNR this month and sought an order to start the season immediately. A judge agreed, and the DNR was forced to announce a February hunting season.

Animal-rights groups have opposed the move.

“Trophy hunters wasted no time in pushing for this wolf hunt in the middle of the wolf breeding season, against the advice of state experts, and without consultation with regional tribes,” Collette Adkins of the Center for Biological Diversity told the AP. “We will continue our fight to stop the hunt.”

Hunters targeted wolves using a variety of methods, but 90 percent of the successful hunters used dogs to track and chase wolves. A fresh snowfall also helped hunters locate wolf packs.

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The DNR received 27,151 applications but only issued 2,380 permits.

Even though hunters overshot the DNR’s allotment, it’s unlikely this season’s take will have a population-level effect. There are about 1,000 wolves in the state right now, but the DNR’s population goal is only 350, according to a separate story by the AP.

Lobner called Wisconsin wolves “very robust,” and assured residents that the population could sustain between 200 and 220 deaths and remain stable.

“The Wisconsin DNR has successfully managed gray wolves for decades and will continue to do so in accordance with the laws of our state and the best science available,” the department writes on its website.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Paul McKay March 9, 2021, 8:58 pm

    Killing animals for the fun of it unless it’s for food is just plain wrong! With all the deserted land in this country they should make a wolf sanctuary where these animals can live and flourish without fear of being hunted.

  • DANIEL BUCHMAN March 9, 2021, 7:46 am

    The harvest quota the DNR set was 200 wolves of which 81 went to the natives due to treaty rights. So the harvest was only 16 wolves over the DNR quota.

  • Dick Jones March 7, 2021, 11:13 am

    81 yrs. old, been a Wisconsin hunter for 69 years, small and large game and birds, firearms and archery. I am a proponent of the Wisconsin DNR, but like many Wisconsin citizens and hunters, have questioned some of their “reasonable decisions”. I have my own property in northern Wisconsin wolf territory and have many friends with property in more concentrated wolf areas. I believe the Wis. DNR was correct in culling certain wolf packs and areas, but they had to know that they weren’t going to control the kill the way they handled the issuing of kill permits. These Wisconsin wolves are in many ways just not that wild. They have adapted to the environment and lack of hunting pressure they were placed in and by personal observation they would be ridiculously easy to eliminate. Hence, the shortened, few day season and the high percentage over-kill in that short time frame. CONTROL, YES, BUT WITH COMMON SENSE.

  • Stan d. Upnow March 3, 2021, 1:15 pm

    Someone explain to me why anyone would want to kill a predator species, when it doesn’t pose a threat to humans or livestock. I seriously doubt anyone is going to eat a wolf, or coyote. To actively hunt such an animal that isn’t bothering you is wrong in my book. I’ve talked to coyote hunters who just kill them and leave them to rot in the field. That’s just killing for killing’s sake; just wrong! I’m a hunter, but I eat what I kill.

    • Homer Jarvis March 9, 2021, 7:15 am

      As a hunter you should know why predatory animals such as coyotes and wolves must be controlled, you wouldn’t be enjoying a venison meal or a pan of fried rabbits if someone hadn’t took the time and spend $$$ and endless hours to control the population predatory species, try spending more time in the field and you can see and understand why predatory animals must be controlled.

  • Colin Kyrolainen March 2, 2021, 11:49 am

    Why does your article say Trophy hunters wasted no time? Why not Hunters wasted no time. I know many people that applied and none of them are Trophy hunters.

  • joe jensen March 2, 2021, 10:25 am

    I applied for a resident WI. wolf permit unsuccessfully. I hunt the central forest zone, and the DNR says the population state wide is 1000. That number I think is way to low. I hear them howling, seen lots of tracks, found there deer kills, and seen 3 in central WI. and 1 up north. They have killed 13 sheep at one time, it was 1 wolf that was observed. Wi. dose need a season in order to control them.

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