October 2, 2012
MADISON - Wisconsin's inaugural wolf hunt will commence on Oct. 15, marking the transition from wolf recovery to wolf management in the state.
"This is a landmark moment in conservation history," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Hunters and trappers engaging in Wisconsin's first state-managed season can hang their hats on being part of a pivotal chapter in wolf management, a story that can be shared with generations to come."
Between opening day and Feb. 28, 2013, up to 1,160 state licensed hunters and trappers will take to the field, aiming to harvest no more than 201 wolves from a population of more than 850. With wolf numbers and depredations at an all-time high, the goal of the closely managed hunt is to reduce the wolf population to a more biologically and socially acceptable level.
"The recovery of the wolf to being a harvestable species is a remarkable success story in wildlife conservation," Stepp said. "It's amazing to think that some of our hunters and trappers were children when the wolf was nearly eliminated from the landscape, and now will be part of hunting a solid population."
The species was listed for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. With wolf populations eight times higher than delisting goals and far exceeding the goal for hunting in accordance with DNR's state wolf management plan [PDF], wolves were delisted in Wisconsin this past January and management authority was returned to the state.
"This wouldn't have happened without the dedication of hunters, trappers, volunteers, agencies and research institutions that assisted with gray wolf recovery," said Stepp. "We are successfully out of species recovery mode and into species management mode. We look forward to working with these same partners as we continue to write the story of the wolf in Wisconsin."
For more information on the wolf hunt, regulations, and maps, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search "wolf."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt Thiede, DNR Land Division Administrator, 608-266-5833 or Bill Cosh, DNR Spokesperson, 608-267-2773