Friday, December 5, 2014

WI Wolf Hunt Is OVER, but Shame on WI officials for exceeding the limit-AGAIN!

With the closure of Wolf Harvest Zone 3 to hunting and trapping, effective Friday, Dec. 5 at noon - Wisconsin's 2014 wolf harvest season has ended

Published: December 4, 2014 by the Central Office

Contact(s): David MacFarland, DNR Large Carnivore Specialist, 715-365-8917; Tom Hauge, DNR Wildlife Management director, 608-266-2193

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has closed Wolf Harvest Zone 3 to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective Friday, Dec. 5 at noon. At that time, the zone is closed to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the 2014-2015 wolf harvest season.
With this closure, Wisconsin's 2014 wolf harvest season is closed statewide.

For more information, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "wolf." 


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Wisconsin wildlife officials set to end this season's wolf hunt

Madison — Wisconsin wildlife officials planned to shut down this season's wolf hunt on Friday after allowing hunters to exceed their kill limit for a third straight year, giving rise to complaints that the agency had violated the public's trust in how the hunt would be conducted.

State law allows the hunt to run from Oct. 15 through the last day of February or until hunters reach the statewide kill limit. Hunters had killed 151 wolves as of Thursday, one more than the statewide limit, prompting the state Department of Natural Resources to announce it would end the season at noon Friday. That raised the possibility that hunters could further exceed the quota.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh had no immediate comment when asked why the agency didn't make this year's closure announcements early enough to ensure that hunters wouldn't exceed the limit.
Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for a coalition of humane societies that opposes hunting wolves with dogs, said the DNR is failing to enforce its own quotas and violating the public's trust to maintain a sustainable wolf population.

"It really indicates a lack of accountability and control by the DNR and a commitment to a sustainable wolf harvest," Habush Sinykin said. "They chose not to be conservative. This is not how Wisconsin has managed other harvests."

The wolf season has been one of the most contentious hunting issues in Wisconsin in recent years. Wolf advocates maintain that the population is too fragile to support hunting; farmers counter that something must be done to curb wolf attacks on their livestock.

Hunters began this season on a torrid pace, killing nearly 70% of the state's 150-wolf limit by the end of October and prompting the DNR to close four of the state's six hunting zones where hunters were approaching or had reached or exceeded the zone-specific harvest limits.

The pace slowed considerably in November. As of last week, though, hunters had killed 146 wolves. State statutes require the DNR to give the public 24 hours' notice before closing zones; agency officials said they were monitoring the pace of the hunt, but they didn't issue any closure notices.

As of Thursday, hunters had killed 151 wolves, according to DNR data. Agency officials then announced they would close Zone 6, which includes the southern two-thirds of the state, early Friday morning and close Zone 3, a narrow swath of northwestern Wisconsin, at noon Friday.

That means hunters in Zone 6 could continue hunting Thursday afternoon and hunters in Zone 3 had all Thursday afternoon and Friday morning to stay in the woods.

Hunters have gone over their limit in each of the last two seasons as well. In 2013, they killed 257 wolves, six more than they were allowed. In 2012, they killed 116 wolves, one more than the limit.

The DNR's latest estimates put the wolf population at somewhere between 660 and 689 animals. The agency's goal is 350 wolves.

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