Readers know there have been frequent postings on this blog about the Wisconsin wolf hunt, now in its second year. Here is additional sunlight on the matter:
* Wisconsin increased its permitted wolf kill this year to 251 from the 117 reported in 2012. Neighboring Minnesota probably did the same, right?
Listening to experts, Minnesota drastically reduced its 2013 quota:
The [MN} DNR has cut the number of wolves that hunters can kill from 400 last year to 220 this year.* So why is Wisconsin going in the other direction, with baiting and trapping allowed along with firearm killing to hit increased quotas?
One reason: Fewer wolves mean more elk, and that could mean Wisconsin's elk hunt might finally get under way in 2014.
* Some hunters support the wolf hunt because they believe wolves are depressing the number of deer available to be killed in the annual deer hunt.
The DNR says that's misleading:
It is important to place in perspective the impact of wolves preying on deer. Each wolf kills about 20 deer per year. Multiply this by the number of wolves found in Wisconsin in recent years (800), and approximately 16,000 deer may be consumed by wolves annually. This compares to about 27,000 deer hit by cars each year, and about 340,000 deer shot annually by hunters statewide.* Additionally, the same WI DNR website notes the deer favored by wolves are not prime targets for hunters:
Ironically, studies have shown that wolves have minimal negative impact on deer populations, since they feed primarily on weak, sick, or disabled individuals.* Finally: Do those 117 wolves 'harvested' last year by hunters with Wisconsin permits represent the sum total of wolves killed in the state last year?
No: Along with illegal kills, depredation control, and collisions with vehicles, the state recorded 243 wolf kills in 2012, DNR records show - - more than double the 'harvest.'
The DNR supplied some data under Open Records about the illegal kills:
Sex - - 10 males, 10 females.
Counties - - Bayfield, 3. Chippewa, Price, Taylor and Douglas - - 2 each. Sawyer, Burnett, Wood, Eau Claire, Walworth, Oconto, Adams, Jackson, Dane - - 1 each.
Cause of death - - Illegally shot, 15. One each as: Illegally shot; Illegally killed; Illegally shot as coyote; Illegally killed shot /arrow?; illegally killed-trapped, shot.