MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that following a United States District Court ruling on February 10, the return of wolves to the lower 48 states (excluding the northern Rocky Mountain region) on the federal endangered species list, Wisconsin is not allowed to set up a wolf hunting season. MNR is reviewing the decision to determine its impact on hunters and trappers who purchased permits for the fall 2021 wolf hunt.
Wisconsin’s wolf population remains healthy and secure in the state. The ministry will continue its robust wolf population monitoring program to ensure the population remains healthy and sustainable in the future.
MNR will also continue to work towards the promulgation of rules and the completion of a wolf management plan to guide management decisions. The DNR is reviewing the decision to determine its impact on Wisconsin’s wolf management program.
The other immediate implications of this decision are:
- Permits authorizing the lethal removal of wolves issued to landowners facing conflict with wolves are no longer valid. The ministry will communicate directly with licensees.
- The ministry is not allowed to use lethal control as part of its conflict management program. Non-lethal tools remain available.
- The training of dogs to follow and track wolves is not permitted. Dog hunters can no longer chase wolves for training purposes.
DNR remains committed to helping people who experience conflict with wolves through an interagency cooperative agreement with USDA-Wildlife Services for mitigation and control.
If you suspect wolves are preying upon livestock, pets, or hunting dogs, or if wolves are exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior, contact USDA-Wildlife Services personnel immediately. If in northern Wisconsin, call 1-800-228-1368 or 715.369.5221; if in southern Wisconsin, call 1.800.433.0663 or 920.324.4514.
To learn more about wolves in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website for more information on managing wolves and reducing wolf conflict.
In the spring of 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formed a Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) to provide the department with feedback on an updated wolf management plan. The committee’s final report to MNR is now available on the MNR’s Wolf Management Plan web page.
What is the WMPC and what does its final report contain?
The MNR Wolf Management Plan Committee met for a series of four meetings between July and October 2021. The purpose of the committee was to provide diverse and inclusive input to MNR to consider when developing an updated wolf management plan.
It is important to note that the WMPC was not asked or expected to reach consensus on the discussion points, nor to make any specific recommendations.
The final report of the Wolf Management Plan Committee contains:
- Information on the process used to collect WMPC feedback
- All contributions and discussions provided by the WMPC on a variety of topics related to wolf management in Wisconsin
- Copies of associated documents in the spirit of transparency.
How will MNR use the WMPC final report to update the wolf management plan?
Comments included in the WMPC report will inform the first draft of an updated wolf management plan, which will also be informed by public comment, wildlife science, social science, and state law. .
Once ready for public comment, the draft management plan will be posted on the MNR website in February or March of this year.
Further information on the process and timeline for updating the Wolf Management Plan, including the formation, membership and work of this committee, can be found on the MNR Wolf Management Plan webpage.