Wisconsin wolf hunting quota lowered after months of conflict

The state’s DNR decision was somewhat unprecedented, after the state’s Natural Resources Board, the DNR’s policy-making board, approved a 300 wolf hunt. MNR has the final say on what the final hunting quota should be, but should consider Natural Resources Council approval.

This time, however, the DNR stuck to its own decision.

Wisconsin held its first legal wolf hunt in decades in February after gray wolves were removed from the endangered species list. This hunt had a quota of 200 wolves, which was divided between the state and several indigenous Ojibway tribes, under the treaty rights of the tribes. As a result, hunters not affiliated with tribes received a quota of 119 wolves, while tribes received 81 wolves.
But those numbers were quickly dropped, after hunters not affiliated with the tribes killed 218 wolves – nearly 100 more than they were allowed to – in three days. Due to the sacred nature of wolves in Ojibway tradition, tribal members did not hunt any of the wolves and came together to sue the state in September after the disastrous hunt – in hopes of stopping the next one.

“In our treaty rights, we are supposed to share 50-50 of our resources with the state and we believe we are not doing due diligence because of the wolf slaughter in February,” said John Johnson, Sr. ., the President of the Torch Lake Band of the Chippewa Indians of Lake Superior, in a statement at the time. “Out-of-state hunters are asking the courts just to be able to hunt, not to protect the resources.”

Despite the events of the February hunt, the state continued its intention to hold a second hunt in November. The latest decision to set the quota at 130 wolves means hunters and trappers with state licenses will be allowed to capture 74 wolves, while Ojibwe tribes will have a quota of 56, according to the DNR.

“Although the board voted in favor of a wolf catch quota of 300, scientists in our department considered the best available scientific information on the state’s wolf population and published scientific models applicable. to develop a quota of 130 which they determined to be the most likely to meet the direction of the department, target of no significant change in the population, “said Sarah Hoye, spokesperson for the DNR.

But the new quota, while still much lower than recommended by the Natural Resources Board, has not really resulted in a celebration among the Ojibwe tribes.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, an intertribal agency, said in a statement that the MNR, while claiming that the quota of 130 would preserve the wolf population, does not have a “valid estimate of the population of wolves ”, recreational hunting and“ premature ”trapping.

“Wolves (ma’iingan) are culturally and spiritually important to the Ojibwa, and are essential to the ecosystem as well. They must be allowed to establish their own modest population level in the Wisconsin landscape,” the statement shared with CNN. “Immediately after the wolves were removed from the endangered species list, Wisconsin conducted a brutal hunt in February during the wolf’s breeding season, and they must be given time to recover from this event.”

CNN contacted the Natural Resources Board for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

The Wisconsin Wolf Hunting Facebook page, which is followed by more than 40,000 people, expressed animosity towards the decision while blaming the policy. An article on the decision to reduce the quota noted: “If that doesn’t motivate you all to vote against (Democratic Governor) Tony Evers next year. It doesn’t matter who the Republican nominee is. Then I don’t know what to tell you. . Because that’s how you solve this problem. “

About Marc Womack

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