The state Department of Natural Resources Board held a meeting Monday to decide on a quota for the wolf hunting season, which is set to run from Feb. 22-28.
A Jefferson County judge ruled Thursday that the DNR must hold a wolf hunting and trapping season before the end of February because wolves were taken off of the endangered species list in January.
The decision came even after the DNR, represented by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, filed a motion Friday in state appeals court to put the court ruling on hold, according to the AP.
The wolf hunting season usually spans from late October through late December. The shortened time frame overlaps with the wolf mating season, which starts in January and ends in March.
Because of the new time frame, the board had to rule quickly on the wolf quota. The DNR recommended that the total quota for all of Wisconsin should be 200 non-reservation lands wolves.
The board considered multiple factors in deciding the quota, including the most recent wolf population estimate, the hunt in prior seasons, scientific literature, their current management plan and the estimated impacts of the hunt as resulting from population model projections.
DNR Secretary Preston Cole said tribal input was “very limited” and the wolf advisory committee was not able to meet on the quota that was proposed, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Tribal representatives and wildlife activists stood in opposition to a wolf hunting season when the board voted in late January against a motion for the hunt to begin.
Before any licenses are issued, the DNR must honor the Ojibwe Tribes’ right to declare up to half of fish and wildlife resources in Ceded Territory, per the Tribes’ treaty rights and court rulings, according to a DNR press release.
The DNR stated that their main objective is to keep the wolf population stable with their proposed quota. Two hundred wolves is less than the population stabilization rate, but takes into account other fatality means outside of hunting.
“The harvest is not the only form of human-caused mortality, there’s additional mortality associated with vehicle strikes, illegal kill and deprivation control actions,” Dave McFarland explained.
Four thousand permits will be available beginning Tuesday. That number came after board member Greg Kazmerski raised concerns over the proposed 10:1 permit to quota ratio and instead recommended a 20:1 ratio to ensure the quota is fulfilled by the end of the week-long season.
The board ended up agreeing on the 200 quota with a 20:1 ratio, where no hunting zone will be closed prior to the end of the season on Feb. 28, unless the full amount of wolves for that zone has been reached.