Circuit Court Judge Bennett J. Brantmeier also said the agency must hold a hunt immediately any time federal protections are lifted during the statutory hunting season, which runs from November through February.
The DNR reported Thursday morning that hunters have registered 213 wolves killed between Monday and Wednesday, or about 18% of the estimated state population.
The Department of Natural Resources reported at 4 p.m. Wednesday that hunters had registered 182 wolves since the hunt began Monday, or about 15% of the estimated population. The quota for non-native hunters was 119 wolves.
The Department of Natural Resources reported Tuesday that hunters had taken almost three quarters of the allotted quotas in three zones covering the lower two thirds of the state as well as a large portion along the Michigan border.
Acting on orders of a Jefferson County judge, the Natural Resources Board voted Monday to authorize a February hunting and trapping season for the gray wolf, which was removed last month from the federal endangered species list.
A Jefferson County judge on Thursday ordered the agency to hold a hunt this month after the head of a Kansas-based hunting organization sued, claiming it had violated hunters’ constitutional rights.
The DNR’s policy board voted 4-3 last month against opening the season in February amid concerns that the department had not consulted tribal nations as required by treaties and did not have time to set quotas.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the endangered species list on Jan. 4.
According to a complaint filed on behalf of the Kansas-based Hunter Nation Inc., the DNR lacks authority to cancel the classes after the state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order on May 13.