Wisconsin Wolf Hunting Bill Signed, Season to Begin Mid-October

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill today allowing wolf hunting in the Dairy State. The season, open to both hunters and trappers, will run mid-October to the end of February. This bill comes after the Federal government delisted wolves as an endangered species in January. Despite this, many view the bill as politically driven, and not based on science. Norm Poulton, regional coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources' Wolf Recovery Program, believes the bill will greatly reduce, if not destroy, the wolf population.

"If you look at these bumper stickers, they don't say 350 wolves, they say no wolves," Poulton told WJFW.com.

Another DNR employee and spokesperson for the wolf hunting bill, Kurt Thiede, says eradicating wolves is not the plan.

"What we looked for in the legislation was making sure that we had, through rule authority, the ability to regulate permit numbers, set goals, establish zones, and then also close the season by emergency order, if necessary," said Thiede told WJFW.com, before adding that one of the reasons behind the bill was to help those forced to interact with wolves. "The current level which they're at, there are problems being caused across the north for landowners, farmers, that have to coexist with wolves. So we see this as an opportunity, through our delisting and the federal delisting, to help manage that problem."

One issue that both sides can agree on, however, is that no one knows just how many wolves there are in the state. Estimates run between 350 and 750 animals. Volunteers that assisted in counting the animals have stated that they will no longer participate for fear of leading hunters to wolves.

What do I think about all this? I'll put it this way: I've already called my friend Richard Sanders, who is a landowner and Wisconsin native, to tell him I'll be visiting sometime this winter. Your thoughts? Comment below!

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