Wisconsin Hunt Ends Earlier Than Planned after 216 Wolves Are Killed in 3 Days
The Wisconsin wolf hunt ended earlier than planned after 216 wolves were killed by hunters and trappers 3 days into the week-long hunt.
The Wisconsin wolf hunt opened on Monday, February 22, and was supposed to run till Sunday, February 28. However, it ended 3 days earlier as the hunting quota ran out.
The state's kill target had been set at 200. The state's Ojibwe tribes claimed rights to 81 of the animals as stated by treaty rights. The Ojibwe view wolves as sacred and were opposed to the hunt.
Nontribrial hunters and trappers had registered the kills of 216 wolves by Thursday afternoon, almost doubling the 119 set for the nontribal hunters by the Department of Natural Resources.
The hunt was initially called off on Wednesday afternoon. Hunters were given a 24 hour grace period to get out of the fields. Eric Lobner, the DNR Wildlife Management Director, said this about shutting down the season:
"It’s easy at this point in the game to say, yeah, maybe we should have closed it a little bit sooner."
The @WDNR announces three of the six wolf harvest zones will close tomorrow morning as hunters reach harvest limits. The one-week court-ordered wolf hunt started yesterday in Wisconsin. pic.twitter.com/jspHRFgAXh— Jeff Dahdah (@jeff_dahdah) February 23, 2021
Lobner explained that there had been so many unknowns going into the season. When 48 animals had been registered on Tuesday morning, the department announced the first management closure zones.
Unfortunately, the total climbed to 216 animals. It is unknown whether the Ojibwe killed any animals. The department had decided the population could sustain themselves if the number of kills were between 200-220.
Trump removed the protection in January, triggering the mandatory hunting season.
UPDATE: Wisconsin's wolf hunt will close for the season tomorrow afternoon. https://t.co/lg2dTkfFF8— WLUK-TV FOX 11 (@fox11news) February 23, 2021
February is breeding season for the wolves. So pregnant females are probably among the animals that hunters and trappers killed. 46% of the animals killed were females.
Megan Nicholson, the director of the Wisconsin chapter of the Humane Society of the United States, shared her thoughts about the situation in a statement and said:
"This is a deeply sad and shameful week for Wisconsin."
Wisconsin's wolf hunt ended early after the quota was exceeded in 3 days + 216 wolves killed for cruel, ruthless fun.— Wolf Conservation Center (@nywolforg) February 25, 2021
As other states now turn to Wisc. to justify their own killing seasons, we're reminded of what happens when wolves lose ESA protections.https://t.co/naucx6Ra8W
She said that the hunt shows that the gray wolf needs federal protections to be restored to protect them from lethal and short-sighted state management—the wolf's status of endangered changes depending on the government.
In 2012, republican Scott Walker signed a law that required the DNR to hold annual hunting seasons from November to February. Previously the hunt was held in November after the breeding and birth season.
Megan Nicholson, director of the WI chapter of the Humane Society of US, said in a statement. “This week’s hunt proves that now, more than ever, gray wolves need federal protections restored to protect them from short-sighted and lethal state management.” https://t.co/7hElJ1715X— Minnesota Wildlife (@MinnWildlife) February 27, 2021
The Obama administration removed the animal from the endangered list in 2012. However, protection was restored in 2014. Trump removed the protection in January, triggering the mandatory hunting season.
The season was shifted to the end of February as Republican legislators were worried that President Biden would place the wolves back in federal protection. So they rushed the season forward.
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