2/15 update: At an emergency meeting, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced it will issue 4,000 licenses the final week of February for up a 200-wolf quota.
A state judge ordered the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to comply with state law and implement an immediate wolf hunt, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board scheduled a meeting for February 15 to discuss the next steps.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the endangered species list in early January 2021. Wisconsin law states a wolf hunting and trapping season must take place from November to February if wolves fall under state management authority. The DNR previously announced a hunt would begin in November 2021 but rejected calls to do so any earlier.
Wisconsin has a wolf population ranging from 957 to 1,573 animals, with the most likely estimate of 1,195 animals or more than 300 percent above the DNR’s state management plan. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the DNR paid more than $1.8 million in wolf depreciation payments over the last decade.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that state agencies should manage wolves just as they manage elk, mountain lions, deer, bears and other wildlife species. RMEF recommends the board approve a quota for a February 2021 hunt.