October 31, 2014

Judge says wolf hunt lawsuit will proceed

A Dane County judge has denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s upcoming wolf hunt. Judge Henry Anderson on Friday ruled that the coalition of animal rights groups behind the lawsuit have the right to bring the challenge, and rejected a motion from the state to drop the case.

A previous order from judge blocked the use of dogs to track or chase wolves during the upcoming season, after he ruled the animals are at risk because the DNR has not yet adopted rules to protect hounds. Anderson says the agency has the authority to write those rules, but failed to act when setting up the structure of the wolf hunt.

The decision came just as the DNR began notifying individuals who were awarded a wolf hunting and trapping license for the state’s inaugural season. On Friday, letters went out to 1,160 applicants who will be able to purchase a permit this year.

The DNR says the hunt will proceed as planned. However, hunters will not be able to train or use dogs in the second half of the season. A spokesman says the goal at this point is to resolve the matter before November 26; the first day when the use of dogs to hunt wolves would be allowed.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:07)