For the 2021 Fall hunting season, Wisconsin wildlife authorities approved the slaughter of 300 wolves, more than tripling biologists' proposal of a 130-wolf kill quota.
After a four-day hunting season in February saw hunters kill nearly twice as many wolves as allotted during the wolves' breeding season, scientists with the state department of natural resources (DNR) recommended the 130 limits, raising concerns about potential long-term ramifications for the population.
During a contentious public hearing with environmentalists and the DNR's policy board, Keith Warnke, the fish, wildlife, and parks division administrator, remarked, "We're unclear of the consequences of that February hunt." He went on to say, "The circumstance... merits caution."
"What is being termed wolf management in our state is a revenge-driven attack performed by legal dog-fighters, trophy murderers, dishonest special interests, and their anti-wolf friends in the state legislature," said Paul Collins, state director of Animal Wellness Action.
The DNR's June assessment of "wolf abundance" was used by conservative-leaning board members as evidence that the autumn hunt would not endanger the wolf population.
"I'm not particularly concerned about, you know, being frightened that if we put that number too high, we'll risk them being relisted [as endangered]," said board member William Bruins.
Some hunters even asked that the board double the fall limit to 500 animals, claiming that the DNR had grossly overestimated the wolf population. However, other board members argued that it was their job to keep the pack under control and safeguard the cattle in the area from wolf attacks.
Rejecting New Hunting Quota
The board eventually voted 5-2 to reject the proposed 130-wolf slaughter quota. The decision is the latest chapter in Wisconsin's tumultuous wolf management dispute.
Last October, the Trump administration revoked endangered species protections from the gray wolf, causing outrage among conservationists. Gray wolves were given government protection for 45 years when the species was on the verge of extinction in the United States.
Wisconsin's Gray Wolf Population
Wisconsin's gray wolf population surpassed 1,000 animals, according to the DNR's most recent estimates from the winter of 2019-2020. A population objective of 350 is outlined in the department's management plan developed in 1999.
Since the species ' resurgence, local people and conservationists have been involved in a heated discussion about how to manage the population.
Hunting as a Solution
Many farmers in northern Wisconsin believe that hunting is the only way to manage the creatures that threaten their cattle and pets. But, according to conservationists, the wolf population is still too tiny to support hunting, and the wolves are too magnificent to be murdered.
Importance of Wolves in Native Culture
Despite a total wolf kill quota of 300, the quota established for state-licensed hunters will almost probably be lower. Treaty rights dating back to the 1800s allow Wisconsin's Chippewa tribes to claim up to half of the quota. The Chippewa regard wolves as holy animals and refuse to hunt them. State-licensed hunters will only be permitted to kill 150 wolves if the tribes claim their entire portion of the quota.
According to John Johnson Jr, head of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, "the animosity against this entity is founded on myth." "You've already experienced the functional equivalent of two seasons this year. Nothing, however, can deter our brother's hunger for more blood.
"Respect is something that will be in short supply today," Johnson noted that respect for science, respect for the tribal community, and respect for the ma'iingan, the Chippewa word for wolf.
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