Your written comments to the Wolf Harvest Committee must be submitted by noon on Friday, June 18th. This committee will decide a quota for the fall hunt to be presented to the Natural Resources Board in August.
Submit your written comments via email at: DNRWildlifeWebmail@wisconsin.gov. Please include “Fall Wolf Season Comments” in the subject line. Comments will be recorded verbatim with submitter’s name and provided to the committee in advance of the meeting. To allow time for the committee to review comments, the deadline to submit comments is Friday, June 18th at noon.
Details here: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/calendar/meeting/44621
There are several points that we must make to this committee which should be put into your own words for best effect. Try to limit your testimony to a few paragraphs, with what you feel personally is most important. These are your wolves too, and any thoughts you have about a fall hunt should be included, but supported. Provide any anecdotal evidence you have that there are less wolves or how a fall hunt would personally affect you, or how a future hunt will diminish your recreation and the future of wolf recovery. That is what is most important to let the committee know.
We support Wisconsin wolf management but it needs to include public input and thorough scientific analysis and deliberative processes as required by law. We need to include sportsmen and women, conservation groups, tribal leaders, and interested citizens to establish goals and build broad public support for managing wolves and minimizing wolf-human conflicts. The public trust doctrine says that wildlife belong to all citizens of Wisconsin, and they are held in trust for the public. We believe it is imperative that the WDNR and the NRB fulfill their responsibility to wolves as a public trust natural resource by supporting the further development and implementation of scientific wolf management practices using current scientific and cultural information.
- The WDNR did not follow it’s mission statement in regards to the February wolf hunt and the state violated the Public Trust Doctrine.
- Determining the quota for the February hunt was not an inclusive process. The quota, season dates, and reporting structure did not ensure that a sustainable population of wolves would be maintained and a fall hunt is following the same processes.
- The biological impacts of the February 2021 hunt, held during the wolves’ breeding season, will never be fully understood due to a lack of important biological data collection. Impacts to the overall population, and impacts to specific local wolf packs, cannot be known. Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) states in their recently released Conservation Bulletin “Although there are significant uncertainties associated in making a prediction based on limited information, we believe that based on loss of bred females and alpha males, it is reasonable to estimate that 60-100 of Wisconsin’s wolf packs may lose all pup production due to the February 2021 hunt. If this impact is realized it will represent 24-40% of the expected reproduction from 245 known wolf packs outside of Indian reservations in Wisconsin.”
- The WDNR receives 90% of its funding from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, according to a January 2017 internal report. There is a steady decline in the number of recreational hunters nationally, as only 4% of people now identify themselves as hunters (National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. 2016). Relying on hunter funding leads to a narrow focus on managing game animals for a small special interest base. WDNR needs to broaden opportunities for non-consumptive users, and increase funding for conservation decisions that benefit game and non-game species. As fewer people hunt now and into the future, the continued support of hunting depends on the attitudes of non-hunters. Most support hunting to obtain meat, and oppose hunting only to obtain a trophy. The majority of Wisconsin citizens are non-hunters who support wolves
- Wolves respond to human hunting pressure in surprising ways. Packs are more likely to break up if an alpha animal is killed, which can cause an increased risk of younger, more inexperienced wolves to attack “easy” prey such as livestock, as these wolves lack the cohesive pack unit. Aggressive human hunting of wolves can actually result in increased conflict with farmers, and more wolf depredations on livestock. Wolf depredations are occurring now in Wisconsin after the February 2021 wolf hunt at an increased rate. https://dnrx.wisconsin.gov/wdacp/public/depredation/2021
- A reliable wolf population estimate will be lacking when quotas are set for the proposed fall 2021 hunt. WGF’s recommendation that “WDNR wildlife biologists must make their best efforts to assess and model the impact of the 2021 February hunt, including estimating illegal or unregistered kills, removal of pregnant females, and loss of alpha males on the wolf population. Current population models and population estimation methods should also be assessed for reliability. This impact analysis should be completed and made available to the Wolf Advisory Committee prior to WDNR’s development and public release of 2021 fall harvest quota alternatives.”