UW expert: Wolf could go back on endangered species list
Wolves, such as this one spotted in 2006 near Wisconsin Dells, are being seen more frequently in the state.
16 hours ago • RON SEELY | Wisconsin State Journal
A hunting season for wolves proposed by the
state Department of Natural Resources is likely to face a court
challenge and could land the animal back on the endangered species list,
according to a UW-Madison expert in predator-prey ecology who has spent
12 years studying wolf management in Wisconsin.
The DNR's wolf
hunting plan "increases the risk that wolves will be returned to
federally endangered status because it proposes untested methods in a
very long season in too broad an area of the state," warned Adrian
Treves, an associate professor of environmental studies who has surveyed
thousands of state residents on the issue.
The Natural Resources
Board, which sets policy for the DNR, unanimously approved beginning a
process that will lead to wolf hunting rules and a hunting and trapping
season on the animal beginning Oct. 15 and running through the end of
February, 2013. The board acted on the controversial proposal at its
monthly board meeting Wednesday in Madison.
A hunting season on
wolves was approved by the state Legislature during its last session.
The DNR is now charged with putting the season in place, including
determining such details as the number of wolves to be killed.
five month season would extend through the breeding season. Hunting
with dogs, trapping, and hunting at night would be allowed.
season has the support of many of the state's hunting groups, including
the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Bowhunters
Association as well as a number of farm groups such as the Wisconsin
Cattlemen's Association and Wisconsin Pork Association.
for a wolf season comes from such groups partly because of increasing
wolf predation on livestock as wolf numbers climbed toward 1,000 in the
"I can just see the wolf pups getting older and looking at
my livestock on the other side of the fence. There is an absolute need
for controlling the wolf population in this state," said board member
But Treves said rules being considered for the
hunt do not target areas where livestock depredations have been most
frequent. He said his surveys of thousands of Wisconsin residents have
shown that the public supports a wolf hunt only if it targets
depredation and if it is designed to sustain the wolf population.
short, although this act claims to address depredations, the proposed
rules for the hunt suggest that recreation or revenge is the goal,"
Treves said in a letter to the board.
Treves also said night-time hunting and the long season treat wolves without the respect due a trophy animal.
length of the season is similar to the season on rabbits, squirrels,
and beavers but longer than coyote trapping. These provisions could
generate unsustainable mortality and lead the Fish and Wildlife Service
to relist the wolf. Wolves are not an ordinary fur bearer or vermin and
should be accorded the status of grand trophy game to be hunted with
respect or not at all."