Leave the dogs at home. That’s what the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is telling hunters who plan to take part in Wisconsin’s inaugural wolf hunt. The season will begin in 11 days – but a Dane County judge has issued an injunction against the use of hunting dogs to help track down the wolves. The DNR will try to overturn that injunction, and a court hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 20th. The agency posted an advisory to prospective hunters on its web site.
A recent judicial ruling has temporarily prevented or enjoined the use of dogs for hunting wolves, and also the use of dogs to train to hunt wolves. As a result of this ruling, please be advised that the use of dogs for tracking and trailing of wolves is not authorized when hunting wolves under a wolf harvesting license. Also, the use of dogs for training to track or trail free ranging wolves is not authorized at this time. As this is a temporary injunction, the injunction on the use of dogs for wolf hunting and training could be lifted at a future date. Therefore, please contact the department for updates or changes later this fall.
Environmental and animal rights’ groups have claimed that there is a risk of violence by the wolves against the dogs – and it could result in animal deaths. The DNR had responded that it had no choice but to allow hunting dogs, because the legislation which created the wolf season did not ban them.