Study looks at issue of wolf hunting
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
There’s lots of support for having a hunting season on wolves in Wisconsin — that according to a survey by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers released this month. But the study warns that some of the attitudes may lead to a crash of the wolf population.
Gray wolves are poised to come off the federal endangered species list next year in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies researcher Adrian Treves said that makes their findings of support for a wolf hunt all the more timely.
The six-year study, which ended in 2007, found hunters the least tolerant of wolves. Treves said that’s not a surprise with deer hunting numbers down.
“What we were surprised by was the strong support, even among non-hunters, for a regulated harvest of wolves,” Treves said. “Maybe we were surprised by the intensity of feelings among hunters.”
According to the results of the survey of 2,320 residents of Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Treves said attitudes show many believe a hunt would reduce the number of livestock and pets killed by wolves.
“There’s actually very little scientific evidence that supports the idea of public-regulated hunting as a way to reduce attacks on domestic animals,” he said. “We really don’t have a track record here in Wisconsin on which to base that assumption.”
Treves said that won’t happen until Wisconsin has a public wolf hunting season, which he said may be part of long-term pack management if there are compromises on limiting the hunt. Otherwise, Treves says a hunt may crash the wolf population.