In less than four months, Wisconsin’s third wolf hunt will commence. The quota will be 156; nearly 100 less than last year’s.
DNR biologists say the reduced quota is designed to continue, but slow the pace of a planned reduction in the state’s wolf population.
At its meeting held in Milwaukee, the Natural Resources Board approved the plan Wednesday.
There was no shortage of public comment. Some testified long-distance, via a computer connection in Rhinelander.
Rachel Tilseth belongs to a group called Wolves of Douglas County. She urged the board to relist the wolf as endangered, insisting it has not yet adequately recovered from its endangered days.
Sturgeon Bay resident Laura Menefee traveled to the meeting on behalf of the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club.
“I urge the Natural Resources Board to consider our opposition to the proposed 2014-15 quota of 156 wolves," Menefee says. "The Sierra Club has serious reservations regarding an aggressive recreational and trophy harvest that has the potential to reduce Wisconsin’s wolf population from approximately 850 to 350."
Menefee was referring to the DNR’s goal of whittling the number of wolves to 350. That’s the goal the agency set in a wolf management plan laid out in 1999.
Bob Welch says the number would ensure a wolf density both the landscape and residents can support. Welch represents the Hunters Rights Coalition.
“The goal is 350, don’t change that goal, a lot of people are saying change that goal, the goal was set for a reason," Welch says."I want to say, we don’t hate wolves – we manage wildlife and we think it should be based on science."
After several hours of listening, the Natural Resources Board issued a speedy vote.
DNR biologists and its wolf advisory committee have busy times ahead. In eight months, they must return with a permanent wolf management plan in hand.