Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has closed Wolf Harvest Zone 1 to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.
Zone 1 encompasses most of Sawyer County — the area north of Highway 70 and east of Highway 27. Zone 3 (including that portion of Sawyer County south of Highway 70 and west of Highway 27) remains open to wolf harvest; as of Dec. 1, 10 wolves had been taken out of a quota of 18 in Zone 3.
The state wolf harvest quota for Zone 1 was set at 32 wolves and the closure process was initiated when the 32nd wolf was harvested Dec. 1.
Wolf Harvest Zone 1 is the third zone to be closed this season. The harvest of wolves currently remains open in zones 3, 5 and 6. The department will continue to monitor the harvest in the remaining zones and expects zones 5 and 6 to close soon. Wolf hunters and trappers should check daily for additional zone closures.
“The harvest trend in Zone 1 has been steady prior to the deer season, but has slowed down since then. Now with the quota achieved we will close the zone to any additional harvest,” said Kurt Thiede, DNR Lands Division Administrator. “This is Wisconsin’s inaugural season. We are learning much about hunter and trapper success rates that will help us draft permanent rules that continue to move the wolf population down toward levels in line with social carrying capacity.”
“We will be considering harvest trends as we approach quotas in other zones as well. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the wolf population by 116 animals, distributed across the landscape,” Thiede said.
Wolf hunters and trappers are advised they can continue to pursue wolves in Zones 3, 5 and 6, but are urged to watch Zones 5 and 6 closely because both are within two wolves of their quotas.
When additional zones are closed, the DNR will announce the closures by news releases, notification on the DNR website and on the wolf call-in number, 1-855-299-9653. It is the hunter’s and trapper’s responsibility to check for and know about zone closures. DNR encourages hunters and trappers to check the website or the call-in number daily.