Wisconsin’s natural resources policy board will hold a special meeting Friday on a request from Republican lawmakers to establish a wolf-hunting season this winter.
A dozen lawmakers sent a letter last week asking the board to direct the Department of Natural Resources to “immediately” establish quotas and implement a wolf-hunting season in January.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal list of endangered species on Jan. 4, returning management to the states. State law says annual hunting and trapping seasons are to run from November through February if wolves lose federal protections.
The DNR previously announced the wolf season would begin Nov. 6, saying it would take time to develop science-based quotas and engage “public and tribal partners in the development of a season plan that adequately reflects the interests of diverse stakeholders throughout Wisconsin.”
But lawmakers held an informational hearing Jan. 13, when they said “the consensus was that wolves in Wisconsin need to be hunted now.” The letter notes that some groups are seeking to have wolves returned to the endangered species list.
Wisconsin last held a wolf hunt in 2014, although people are allowed to shoot wolves if they pose an immediate threat to human safety or if they are attacking domestic animals on private land.
The DNR estimates there are at least 1,034 wolves in Wisconsin, primarily across the northern third of the state and the Central Forest region.