Wisconsin wolf hunt not allowed, DNR announces after court ruling

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Friday announced that the state is not authorized to implement a wolf harvest season.

The announcement follows a U.S. District court’s ruling on Feb. 10 returning wolves in the lower 48 states – except the northern Rocky Mountains region – to the federal endangered species list.

The DNR said it is reviewing the ruling to determine how it impacts hunters and trappers who purchased licenses for the Fall 2021 wolf hunt.

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Wisconsin’s wolf population remains healthy and secure, the DNR said. The department will continue its wolf population monitoring program to ensure the population remains healthy and sustainable into the future.

The DNR will also continue working toward promoting rules and the completion of a wolf management plan to guide management decisions. The DNR is reviewing the decision to determine how it impacts Wisconsin’s wolf management program. 

Wisconsin DNR Department of Natural Resources

Other immediate implications of the ruling include:

  • Permits allowing lethal removal of wolves issued to landowners experiencing wolf conflicts are no longer valid. The department will contact permit holders directly.
  • The department is not authorized to use lethal control as part of its conflict management program. Non-lethal tools remain available.
  • The training of dogs to track and trail wolves is not allowed. Dog hunters may no longer pursue wolves for training purposes.

The DNR remains committed to assisting people who experience conflicts with wolves through an interagency cooperative agreement with USDA-Wildlife Services for abatement and control.

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If you suspect wolves in the depredation of livestock, pets or hunting dogs – or if wolves are exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior – contact USDA-Wildlife Services staff immediately. If in northern Wisconsin, call 1-800-228-1368 or 715-369-5221; if in southern Wisconsin, call 1-800-433-0663 or 920-324-4514.

For more on wolves in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website for additional information on wolf management and wolf conflict abatement.

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