Wisconsin Wolf Hunting Update
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that following a U.S. District court’s ruling on Feb. 10 returning wolves in the lower 48 states (except the northern Rocky Mountains region) to the Federal Endangered Species List, Wisconsin is not authorized to implement a wolf harvest season. The DNR is reviewing the ruling to determine how it impacts hunters and trappers who purchased licenses for the Fall 2021 wolf hunt.
Wisconsin’s wolf population remains healthy and secure in the state. The department will continue its robust wolf population monitoring program to ensure the population remains healthy and sustainable into the future.
The DNR will also continue working towards promulgation of rules and the completion of a wolf management plan to guide management decisions. The DNR is reviewing the decision to determine how it impacts Wisconsin’s wolf management program.
Other immediate implications of this ruling include the following:
- Permits allowing lethal removal of wolves issued to landowners experiencing wolf conflicts are no longer valid. The department will contact permit holders directly.
- The department is not authorized to use lethal control as part of its conflict management program. Non-lethal tools remain available.
- The training of dogs to track and trail wolves is not allowed. Dog hunters may no longer pursue wolves for training purposes.
The DNR remains committed to assisting individuals that experience conflicts with wolves through an interagency cooperative agreement with USDA-Wildlife Services for abatement and control.
If you suspect wolves in the depredation of livestock, pets or hunting dogs, or if wolves are exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior, contact USDA-Wildlife Services staff immediately. If in northern Wisconsin, call 1-800-228-1368 or 715.369.5221; if in southern Wisconsin, call 1.800.433.0663 or 920.324.4514.
Final report of the Wolf Management Plan Committee
In Spring 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formed a Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) to provide the department input on an updated wolf management plan. The committee’s final report to the DNR is now available on the DNR’s wolf management plan webpage.
What Is The WMPC And What Is In Its Final Report?
The DNR’s Wolf Management Plan Committee met for a series of four meetings between July and October 2021. The committee’s purpose was to provide diverse and inclusive input for the DNR to consider while developing an updated wolf management plan.
Importantly, the WMPC was not asked or expected to come to a consensus on discussion items, nor to make specific recommendations.
The Wolf Management Plan Committee’s final report contains:
- Information on the process used to collect input from the WMPC
- All of the input and discussion provided by the WMPC on a variety of topics relevant to wolf management in Wisconsin
- Copies of associated documents in the spirit of transparency.
How Will The DNR Use The WMPC’s Final Report To Update The Wolf Management Plan?
Input included in the WMPC’s report will inform the first draft of an updated wolf management plan, which will also be informed by public input, wildlife science, social science and state law.
Once ready for public input, the draft management plan will be made public on the DNR website in February or March of this year.
More information on the wolf management plan update process and timeline, including the formation, membership and work of this committee, is available on the DNR’s wolf management plan webpage.