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DNR closes Zone 2 to wolf hunting

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The second year of Wisconsin's statewide wolf hunt is shaping up nothing like the first.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced the closure of Zone 2 just one week after the season opened.

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The zone was also the first to close in 2012, but in that case the hunting season had been open for an entire month before the zone neared its quota.

"The pace of this year's wolf harvest is higher than the beginning of last season," said Kurt Thiede, DNR land division administrator. "There could be a variety of factors contributing to this higher rate of harvest. Given that this is only our second year of wolf hunting and trapping in the state, it is difficult to say whether this year is an anomaly or whether this could become the norm moving forward.

"We won't fully know the factors involved until we've had an opportunity to take a closer look at the data following the season and survey hunters and trappers. This is our second season, and we continue to learn information about harvest success that will be valuable in future management decisions."

Zone 2, which covers northeastern Wisconsin, is closed to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The zone is closed to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the 2013-2014 season.

In 2012, Zone 2 closed on Nov. 6, along with Zone 4.

Quotas statewide increased this year, but hunters and trappers have been harvesting wolves at an incredible pace. Compared to 2012, the figures are startling.

In 2012, only 18 wolves were harvested in the opening week -- 10 by gun hunters and eight by trappers.

Hunters and trappers killed more than five times that number in this year's opening week.

As of Monday, the reported wolf harvest sat at 95. Trappers accounted for the majority of the kill, with 69 wolves. Hunters took 26 wolves.

This year's harvest quota for Zone 2 was set at 28 wolves, and the closure process was initiated when 26 wolves were reported as harvested.

Zones 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 remain open, but hunters and trappers are encouraged to check a zone's status daily. The DNR announces closures online (dnr.wi.gov) and through the wolf call-in number, 1-855-299-9653.

Wolf Harvest by Zone

Quota Harvest

Zone 1 76 38

Zone 2 28 24

Zone 3 71 2

Zone 4 12 2

Zone 5 34 19

Zone 6 30 10

Total: 251 95

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