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DNR expert's thoughts:

"The population is within the range predicted by University of Wisconsin population models used in the quota development process" said David MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist. "The increased 2013 quota resulted in a reduction in the wolf population toward the goals established in the state wolf management plan. We are collecting important data on which to base future management decisions and will continue to learn with each season."

"Wisconsin's monitoring protocols are considered the most reliable method for monitoring wolf populations." said MacFarland. "They include a combination of radio-telemetry, pilot observations, and winter track counts conducted by staff and trained volunteers across the state's wolf range."

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MADISON — Wisconsin wildlife officials say the state's wolf population is still well over goal.

The Department of Natural Resources said in a statement Tuesday that preliminary results from the 2014 late-winter count indicates at least 658 to 687 wolves roaming the state.

That's down about 19 percent from the 2013 count of a minimum of 809 to 834 wolves. But it's still nearly double the DNR's current population goal of 350 wolves and more than six times the federal delisting goal of 100 wolves for Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

The count is typically conducted during the time of year when the population is at its lowest point. The population can nearly double when pups are born in the spring.

More on hunting: Hunting headlines | Browse big buck photos | Watch Deer Camp Live | More hunting photos | Registration station map

More on wolves in Wisconsin: Wolf hunting news from around the state | Trail cameras capture wolf activity

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