The 2012 Wisconsin wolf hunt wrapped up some time ago and, from a quota standpoint, was a success. All 117 animals outside of the ceded territory were taken, and the 85 tags left over for the Indian tribes were intentionally not filled.
With the 2013 wolf season fast approaching, I'd like to take a brief look at what lies ahead.
This years quota has been increased to 275, with 115 wolves allotted to the Chippewa tribes. These quotas were approved by the Natural Resource Board earlier this week.
The application deadline for the upcoming season is August 13.
According to DNR estimates, Wisconsin had between 809 and 834 wolves in 214 packs last winter, compared to 815 to 880 in 213 packs in 2012 and the DNR intends to issue ten times as many tags as the quota number.
There you have the numbers which haven't changed much year-over-year.
But after reviewing these numbers, I don't believe they will achieve the DNR's goal of getting the population down to 350 animals. There are a few ways new ways they could approach it.
First, why not increase the quotas to 400 to 450 this year? Last year's harvest total was reached quickly and this number gets them much closer to their goal, much more quickly (and would also increase hunter satisfaction).
Second, the Indian tribes are likely not going to use their 115 tags, leaving a maximum kill of just 160 this year. This would amount to nothing more than a baby step to achieving population goals, and would do nothing more than to just keep the population about where it is now. Therefore, why bother issuing this group any tags?
To almost double the harvest makes sense. A lot more deer would survive, making deer hunters happier. And how much money do you think the state would save by not having to dish out compensation to farmers who own cattle or people who lose pets to wolf predation, instead increasing hunting license sales?
Not everyone is going to agree with me on this, but wolves are not animals that need protection. I'm not saying wipe the wolf off the face of the map, rather I am asking for two things:
1. Let's get the wolf population to the goal of 350 animals.
2. People who oppose the wolf hunt should understand that the population needs to be controlled. Imagine if people who oppose deer hunting had their way? How many deer would there be? How much money would the state lose? How much crop damage money would the state be paying out? And how many deer would die if populations were left unchecked? The same logic applies to wolves. Or at least it should.
So here is hoping that common sense prevails and all 275 wolves are taken this year.