July 30, 2014

Wolf hunt gets under way

The controversial wolf hunt begins today in the Badger State.

Kurt Thiede of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says, with regard to conservation history, this inaugural hunt is a “landmark moment.” It’s the state’s first wolf hunt in modern history. “I think what kind of gets lost in this occasionally is the testament to the recovery efforts that took place to see the wolves go from not existing in the state to now having a wolf population that we are able to manage through a public harvest.”

The wolves had been extirpated — completely vanished from Wisconsin. The animals began reappearing on the landscape in the early 1970s, and now it’s time to go from wolf recovery to wolf management. Hunting has a huge economic impact in Wisconsin. A license to hunt a wolf is $100 for a state resident, $500 for a nonresident. There’s also a $10 application fee, and the ripple effect. “In the grand scheme of things … the license is one of the less expensive items when you think about the gas, the equipment, lodging in some instances. It is a big impact on the state’s economy.

The DNR received over 20,000 applications — about the same as bobcat permit applications each year — and there are only 1,160 available non-tribal hunting and trapping permits. Wisconsin has an estimated wolf population of 800 animals, and only 200 can be killed in the five-month hunt beginning October 15th and going through February 28. The use of dogs for tracking and hunting wolves is not allowed.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:27