Why is the wolf kill in Wisconsin running so much higher than last year's 'harvest'?
Traps, media report:
The 2012-13 season ended two months early on Dec. 23 after hunters exceeded their 116-wolf limit by one animal. This season's quota is 135 wolves higher but it looks like things might wrap up even earlier than last year as hunters concentrate on Zone 3.
DNR large carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland said more hunters are using traps this year. Last year hunters shot 45 percent of the wolves harvested and trapped 55 percent; so far this year 85 percent of the wolves taken were trapped, he said.
"People have recognized trapping is a more efficient method," MacFarland said.As I pointed out a week ago.
To be clear: the trapped wolf is killed by gunshot by the trapper. These are the DNR's wolf-trapping rules, in full:
Methods for Trapping
Traps: It is illegal to set, place, or operate steel-jawed foothold traps with a maximum jaw spread width of more than 7 inches from Oct. 15 - Nov. 30 on dry land, or any foothold trap larger than 8 inches from Dec. 1, 2013 - Feb. 28, 2014. See pages 8-12 of the Trapping Regulations for additional trap type, size, and placement restrictions that apply to trapping of all species.
Cable Restraints: It is illegal to set, place, or operate any cable restraint for wolves except from Dec. 1, 2013 - Feb 28, 2014. To be a legal set, the cable restraint must:
be 10 feet or less in length with a diameter of 3/32 inch or larger and be composed of multiple
strands of galvanized aircraft cable wire;
have cable stops that ensure that the portion of the cable which makes up the noose loop may
not be longer than 48 inches when fully open or less than eight inches when fully closed;
be set with the bottom of the cable loop six to 14 inches above the surface, where the surface
is soil, ice, crusted or packed snow, or any other hard surface;
include a reverse-bend washer lock with a minimum outside diameter of 11⁄4 inches and a
1,500 pound roller (or barrel) swivel that acts as the maximum opening cable stop; and
be staked in a manner that does not allow the restraint device to reach any part of a fence,
rooted woody vegetation greater than 1⁄2 inch in diameter, or any other immovable object or stake that could cause entanglement.
Dispatch Methods: A wolf caught in a trap may only be killed with a firearm. Alternative methods for dispatch are illegal. Age and mentoring or accompanying requirements apply to the use of a firearm; for more information, visit dnr.wi.gov; keywords: ‘mentored hunting’. While not a legal firearm for shooting a wolf while hunting, a licensed wolf trapper may use a .22 caliber rimfire cartridge to kill a wolf lawfully caught in a trap. A person who has legally trapped a wolf but is prohibited from possessing a firearm may authorize a companion who can legally possess a firearm to kill the trapped wolf humanely with a firearm.
Incidental Take: It is legal to retain any raccoon, coyote, fox, or bobcat taken incidentally with a cable restraint IF it is the open season for hunting or trapping the animal, AND the trapper has the necessary unfilled license, permits, and tags for that species.