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State committee recommends fewer wolves be killed for this year’s hunt

Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio

A state committee is recommending hunters kill about 100 fewer wolves than they did last wolf hunting season.

People who oppose wolf hunting were worried the Wolf Advisory Committee – a group made up of people representing the Department of Natural Resources, Native American tribes and various stakeholder groups – would again recommend a wolf kill the size of last year's quota of about 250. Instead, the panel is suggesting this fall's quota be 156.

The recommendation pleases Melissa Tedrowe, the Wisconsin director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“The HSUS did recommend that the wolf hunt be suspended for the coming year, but if there is to be a hunt, we're pleased that the wolf advisory committee recommended a more modest approach to the harvest than they did last year,” she said.

Tedrowe says last season's record wolf kill may have damaged the state's wolf population, which is just a few years removed from being listed as an endangered species.

“The wolves were just delisted very recently and there was a significant decline in population – nearly 20 percent – based on a single year’s hunting season,” said Tedrowe. “And it's too soon to know really what the longer-term effects on the overall wolf population are going to be.”

Some hunting groups may be disappointed with the committee's recommendation, and may try to pressure DNR staff and the DNR Board to raise the planned quota during the next few weeks. Tedrowe says wolf advocates may do some outreach too.

The DNR Board vote on the wolf hunt plan is scheduled for June 25 in Milwaukee.

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