The Wolf Management Act of 2012 – Update
The passage of SB 411 – The Wolf Management Act from Representatives Suder and Rivard allows for a Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season to help keep our fast-growing wolf population in check. We’ve covered the reasons for the wolf delisting in previous Bear Tracks. Now we have hard details on what the actual hunt should look like. The act includes many details on how the DNR is to set up the season.
- The annual season will start October 15 and run through February 28 and be open to both residents and non-residents. License fees are set at $100 for a resident and $500 for a non-resident. The permit application fee is $10.
- Assuming there are more applicants than licenses, the DNR must issue 50% of the licenses at random and the remaining 50% based on a cumulative preference system.
- The DNR must divide the state up into wolf harvesting zones to be identified in the DNR’s wolf management plan. A wolf harvesting license will authorize hunting/trapping only in the specified zone.
- The DNR may close a wolf harvest zone to hunting and trapping if it decides closure is necessary to effectively manage the wolf population
- The DNR may close a wolf harvest zone to coyote hunting during deer season if it decides it is necessary to effectively manage the wolf population. The DNR can also reopen it when it decides it is no longer necessary.
- A person who kills a wolf must register the carcass with the DNR on a telephone registration system or through an electronic notification system established by the DNR. The bill also gives the DNR the right to require the showing of the entire wolf carcass.
- A license will authorize the hunting of wolves using a firearm, bow, or crossbow. Firearms allowed in the bill are rifles, muzzle-loaders, handguns, shotguns, and other firearm loaded with a single slug or ball. The license allows for the use of shot that is larger than size BB.
- Dogs to track and trail wolves will be permitted. Dogs are allowed beginning with the first Monday that follows the last day of gun deer season and ends the last day of February. No more than 6 dogs in a single pack may be used regardless of the number of hunters assisting the license holder. While hunting with dogs, the person must keep any tag required for the dog on their person.
- Also permitted will be the use of predator calls including electronic calls and bait that does not involve animal parts or byproduct other than liquid scents.
- Night hunting will allowed beginning the first Monday that follows the last day of gun deer season and ends the last day of February.
- The types of traps allowed by the department shall include cable restraints.
- If a wolf is harvested that has an attached or implanted radio telemetry device, the device must be returned to the DNR. The person who harvested the wolf can request any information that has been collected by the device or otherwise by the DNR that relates to the harvested wolf.
- The transferring of a wolf license will be allowed but must be requested at least 15 days before the start of the season. It can only be transferred to a person who is at least 18 and otherwise eligible to use the license.
- The DNR will be required to submit rules to implement the bill to the Legislative Council no later than the eighth month beginning after the effective date of the bill.
July NRB Hearing
On July 17th the DNR’s Natural Resources Board (NRB) held a public meeting to discuss the new rule implementing the Wolf Management Act. No surprise, but the anti-hunters showed up in strength. They are threatening a lawsuit to try to block the hunting/trapping season. Despite our position that there should have been a higher quota, WBHA and our Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition partners testified and aggressively defended the season.
The NRB voted unanimously to forward the rule. The new rule simply codifies out what was in the new law. It also designates no hunting lands on tribal land and creates zones which can be seen on the map below. The board also approved the quotas and number of tags for the season.
The total proposed harvest quota for the 2012-13 season is 201 wolves with a proposed 2,010 tags. Remember, due to the Voigt decision, tribes can claim up to half the quota in the ceded territory. The quota is broken down by zone as follows:
|Wolf Harvest Unit||2012 Winter Population||Proposed Quota|