Wisconsin sets wolf harvest quota at 275

Wisconsin wolf hunters and trappers will have a quota of 275 wolves this fall, up from a quota of 201 last year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced today.

The state’s Natural Resources Board approved the 2013 Wisconsin wolf season quota today. The quota was set with the intention of continuing to reduce the state’s wolf population, DNR officials said in a news release.

Hunters and trappers took 117 wolves during the 2012 season. Wisconsin American Indian bands were entitled to take 83 wolves last year but took none. Of this fall’s quota of 275, tribes may take 115, said Fred Strand, DNR wildlife manager at Brule.

The DNR Wolf Advisory Committee, comprised of DNR staff along with stakeholders and partners, proposed the 2013 quota.

The state’s current late-winter minimum wolf count is 809 to 834 wolves, DNR officials said. That’s down from a count of 815 to 880 wolves in the 2012 count. After pups are born in spring the wolf population approximately doubles then declines through the year.

State officials say the approved quota, if reached, would reduce the population by about 10 to 20 percent of the 2014 late-winter count. The state’s current wolf management plan calls for reducing the population to a late-winter count of 350.

The quota will be distributed across six hunting and trapping zones, identical to last year. The harvestable quota established for each zone concentrates hunting pressure more in areas with higher potential for agricultural conflicts, allowing for higher population densities in core wolf habitat where potential for conflict is lower.

The season will begin Oct. 15 and run until each zone is closed by the DNR, or by the last day of February, whichever is first.

Hunters and trappers must enter a lottery and be selected to take part in the wolf season. The DNR will maintain the 10-to-1 license-to-quota ratio from the 2012 season. One half of available permits will be issued randomly among all permit applications and the second half will be issued through a cumulative preference point drawing.

Deadline to apply for a license is Aug. 1. The application fee is $10. Applications can be purchased from license agents, over the Internet or toll-free at (877) 945-4236.

Minnesota DNR officials are expected to announce results of this past winter’s wolf population estimate soon. The state has set no quotas for wolf harvest this fall yet.

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