MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) -- The state now has its quota for the 2014 Wisconsin wolf season.
On Wednesday, the Natural Resources Board approved a quota of 156. It will be distributed across six hunting and trapping zones. The board set the quota to reduce Wisconsin's wolf population. Wildlife officials say it needs to happen because the overall wolf population is decreasing. The number of wolves in the state this past winter was 18 percent less than in 2013. The DNR could reduce the quota even more depending on how many wolves the state's Chippewa tribes say they want to kill in the ceded territory.
The quota for the 2013 season was 275. Hunters and trappers harvested 257 wolves that season. The 2014 season starts October 15. It runs in each zone until the zone is closed or the last day of February, whichever comes first. Hunters have until August 1 to apply for a license.
MADISON, Wis. (DNR NEWS RELEASE) – The Natural Resources Board today approved the 2014 Wisconsin wolf season quota of 156 as proposed by the Department of Natural Resources Wolf Advisory Committee.
The quota was set with the intention of continuing to reduce the state's wolf population in accordance with the goals identified in the wolf management plan.
The DNR Wolf Advisory Committee is comprised of DNR staff, the Chippewa tribes, partner natural resource agencies and stakeholders representing the agriculture industry, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, sportsman groups and organizations with an interest in wolf management.
The upcoming season's quota of 156 is a decrease from 2013's quota of 275. State hunters and trappers harvested 257 wolves in 2013.
The state's current late-winter 2014 minimum count is 660-689 wolves. This count represents a decline of 18% from the 2013 winter count of 809-834.
Analysis of available data, review of published scientific literature and use of population modeling tools suggests the quota, if reached, will result in reduction in the 2014 late winter count but at a rate less than observed last year.
The quota will be distributed across Wisconsin’s six hunting and trapping zones. The harvestable quota established for each zone concentrates hunting pressure more in areas with higher potential for agricultural conflicts and less where potential for conflict is lower.
Though the quota has been decided, the amount of wolves harvestable by state trappers and hunters may be adjusted dependent on tribal harvest declarations.
The department will maintain the 10-to-1 license-to-quota ratio from the 2013 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. Successful applicants will be notified via mail. Applicants who are not successful in the drawing will be awarded a preference point toward future drawings.
Those interested in obtaining a license or a preference point for the 2014 season must apply by Aug. 1. The permit application fee is $10 and applications may be purchased from authorized license agents, over the Internet through the DNR Online Licensing Center or by phone at 1-877-945-4236 toll free.
The season is set to begin Oct. 15 and will run in each zone until the zone is closed or the last day of February, whichever occurs first. The department has the authority to close hunting zones when quotas are met or if deemed biologically necessary.