December 21, 2014

Hunting wolves in Wisconsin

Wisconsin could soon have a hunting season for wolves.

Legislation from state Representative Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) would create a wolf hunting season running from October through February. The Abbotsford Republican says a hunt will allow the state to effectively manage the animals, preventing attacks on livestock and pets that have been reported around the state in recent years.

The move comes less than a week after gray wolves were removed from the list of federally endangered species. The state now has the power to manage the size of the population, which the DNR estimates at about 800 animals.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:12)

The removal of the federal protections means the state can now issue permits to landowners to remove animals that attack private property. Proponents of a wolf hunt argue that will not be enough to bring the population down to a more manageable number, which Suder says would be around 350 wolves.

Permitting would be set up similar to how the state currently handles bear hunting, where a preference system is used to determine who receives a license. Fees would be used to compensate the owners of animals attacked by wolves.

An Assembly committee will hold a hearing on the bill later this week.