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After federal court protected wolves, Wisconsin wolf hunters get their money back

The wolf license application fee of $10 will be returned in the mail.

People who applied for a Wisconsin wolf hunting license will get their $10 application fee back after those hunts have been prohbited by a federal court order restoring Endangered Species Act protections for the big canines across most of the U.S.
Contributed / U.S. National Park Service

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Thursday announced it will refund the $10 application fee to customers who applied for a wolf harvest permit or preference point for the fall 2021 wolf hunting and trapping season that was never held.

That planned wolf hunt was placed on hold temporarily by a state judge who said the DNR must first rewrite a new state wolf management plan before any hunt could be held.

But all wolf hunting and trapping plans were put more permanently on hold last week when a federal judge said wolves must regain full protection under the federal Endangered Species Act across most of the continental U.S., including Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

A federal judge ruled the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service moved wrongly to remove wolves from the federal endangered list.

As a result of the federal court decision, the DNR will be refunding the $10 application fee and updating wolf preference points on customer records. The $10 refund check will arrive by U.S. mail.

Other immediate implications of the federal court ruling include:


  • Permits allowing lethal removal of wolves issued to landowners experiencing wolf conflicts are no longer valid. The department has contacted permit holders directly.
  • The Wisconsin DNR is unauthorized to use lethal control as part of its conflict management program. Non-lethal tools remain available.
  • The training of dogs to track and trail wolves is not allowed. Dog hunters may no longer pursue wolves for training purposes.

The DNR said it will continue to assist farmers and others who have conflicts with wolves with help from the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services bureau. If you suspect wolves in the depredation of livestock, pets or hunting dogs, or if wolves are exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior, contact USDA-Wildlife Services staff immediately. In northern Wisconsin, call 800-228-1368 or 715-369-5221.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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