Tribe to get 85 of 201 wolf hunting permitsThe state Department of Natural Resources told the Chippewa Indian tribe they can have 85 of the 201 wolf hunting permits the state plans to issue as part of a wolf hunt scheduled for this fall.
By: By Joe Knight, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis., Superior Telegram
The state Department of Natural Resources told the Chippewa Indian tribe they can have 85 of the 201 wolf hunting permits the state plans to issue as part of a wolf hunt scheduled for this fall.
But the wolf hunt will proceed as planned despite the tribe's request that it be halted in tribal territories in northern Wisconsin, DNR officials announced Thursday.
The wolf hunt, approved in March by the state Legislature, is set to begin Oct. 15 and extend through February.
The Voigt Intertribal Task Force, consisting of Chippewa tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, had asked the DNR to halt the wolf hunt in territories ceded to the Chippewa in the mid-1800s.
In a letter to DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, dated Aug. 2, Jim Zorn, executive administrator of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, wrote that the DNR goal of reducing the state's wolf population from 850 to 350 would "reduce the population to a level the tribes consider ecologically unsound, culturally inappropriate, violative of their rights and potentially unsustainable."
The DNR has no basis to set quotas or issue permits "to the detriment of the tribes' treaty reserved rights," Zorn wrote.
However, the DNR said the Voigt decision did not grant tribes authority to regulate and maintain the wolf population.
A letter issued by Stepp said the agency is in charge of managing the state's resources and is required to carry out the directives of the state Legislature.
"We deeply respect the religious and cultural beliefs and values of the Ojibwe bands and appreciate this is a difficult situation for many of their members," Stepp wrote.
The hunt is an attempt to reduce the state's wolf population to a more "socially tolerable level," Stepp wrote. Wisconsin farmers have complained about wolves attacking their livestock.
Reducing the state's wolf population to 350 is too low to protect the animals' continued health, tribe members and some non-Indian biologists say.
The earliest the tribes could respond to the DNR letter would be early September, Zorn said. The Voigt Intertribal Task Force is scheduled to meet Sept. 1 to discuss the DNR response to its request.
"The hope here is that we focus on where we go for the longer term, as opposed to this initial season," he said.
Zorn said he is unsure whether the DNR will subtract the 85 wolves the tribe would be permitted to kill from the 201 to be killed. Tribe members don't intend to kill any wolves, he said.
The state plans to issue 2,010 permits to achieve that kill total. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the DNR had received 11,448 applications for those permits, which are to be distributed through a lottery.
Humane societies have filed a lawsuit in Dane County seeking to block the hunt because of concerns hunting dogs used to hunt wolves would be killed. An injunction hearing has been set for Aug. 29.
Knight can be reached at 715-830-5835, 800-236-7077 or email@example.com.
(c)2012 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.)
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