Wisconsin Senate to Pass Bill on Setting Wolf Hunt Goal

         

Summary: The Wisconsin Senate is set to pass a bill that would require state wildlife managers to establish a specific target for the state’s wolf population. The bill comes after the Department of Natural Resources did not set a firm limit on the wolf population in its new management plan. Advocates for hunting support the bill, while animal rights advocates argue that the wolf population is too delicate for hunting. The bill will now be sent to the Assembly for consideration.

The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to pass a bill on Tuesday that would mandate state wildlife managers to set a numeric goal for the state’s wolf population. This comes after the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did not establish a hard cap on the wolf population in its new management plan, but instead recommended a population of around 1,000.

The state has been operating under a wolf management plan since 1999, which sets a limit of 350 wolves statewide. However, the new plan proposes that the DNR collaborate with advisory committees to monitor local populations and determine whether to decrease, maintain, or allow them to grow.

Wildlife officials argued that not having a specific limit allows for greater flexibility in managing the species, enables local wolf packs to fluctuate, and ensures the long-term preservation of wolf populations. On the other hand, proponents of the bill believe that setting a population goal is essential to protect both wolves and humans.

Wisconsin has been embroiled in a three-decade-long debate over wolf population levels. Farmers in the northern part of the state consistently raise concerns about wolf attacks on their livestock, while hunters are eager to hunt them. Animal rights advocates, however, argue that the wolf population is too delicate to support hunting.

Under Wisconsin law, the DNR is required to hold an annual wolf hunt. Currently, gray wolves are listed as endangered under federal law, making hunting illegal. Nevertheless, the DNR has been working on updating its management plan in anticipation of the potential delisting of wolves and the resumption of hunting in the state.

Tags: Wisconsin Senate, wolf hunt, wildlife management, population goal, Department of Natural Resources, hunting, animal rights advocates, gray wolves, endangered species list, management plan

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