A Wisconson Judge has ordered the state’s Department of Natural Recourses to hold a wolf hunt starting in February instead of waiting until the fall.
According to The Wisconsin State Journal, a state law passed in 2012 requires the state to hold a wolf season from November through February as long as the wolves are not under federal protection granted by the Endangered Species Act.
On January 4th, the US Fish and wildlife service delisted the gray wolf in the lower 48 states, thus returning the wolves to state management. Individual states now have the choice to institute a hunting season if they see fit.
Because of the state law, Wisconsin is required to have a season. Initially, the season was postponed until fall by a 3-4 vote by the DNR’s policy board. They cited concerns that the department had not consulted tribal nations as required by treaties and did not have time to set quotas.
Hunt Nation sued the state after the vote. They contended that state law requires Wisconsin to have a wolf season if the species is not under federal protection and a judge agreed.
Online court records show Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bennett Brantmeier ordered the DNR to “implement and follow their duty to hold the gray wolf hunting season in February 2021” during a hearing Thursday.
The judge also denied the DNR’s request for a stay pending appeal, citing a low likelihood of success.
“Today’s ruling solidifies the rule of law and finally provides clear direction to the Evers administration to move full speed ahead with our statutorily required wolf hunt,” Luke Hilgemann, president of Hunter Nation said. “Any attempts by the Evers administration to overturn this ruling are a direct assault to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin hunters.”
Two days after the ruling requiring a wolf hunt the DNR set the quota of 200 wolves outside reservation lands for the season which will run February 22-28, 2021.
The agency said the department staff arrived at the number after considering several factors, including the most recent population estimate, the public response to earlier harvests, the current management plan, scientific literature, and population model projections, the Journal Sentinel reported.
All hunters and trappers interested in obtaining a wolf harvest permit or preference point must apply beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. The application period will close at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20. Customers may apply through their Go Wild account or by visiting a participating license agent. The application permit fee is $10 plus $49 ($251 non-resident) for a wolf license if selected.
Good luck to all the hunters and trappers. We are looking forward to seeing your harvests.