Wisconsin DNR to end wolf season after just 3 days

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MADISON, Wisconsin (TBEN) – Wisconsin wildlife officials plan to end the state’s wolf season after just three days after hunters and trappers killed nearly 70% of the state’s quota in less than 48 hours.

The Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that the six management zones will close by Wednesday afternoon.

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The DNR launched the hunt on Monday morning. It had been scheduled to last until Sunday.

The department announced Tuesday morning that it would close three of its six management areas at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning after registration data showed hunters and trappers had already captured about half of the limit of 119 wolves in the state.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of killed had risen to 82 animals, or 69% of the state quota. MNR said the three remaining areas would close at 3 p.m. Wednesday, ending the season.

Hunters and trappers had exceeded their quotas by zone in two zones Tuesday afternoon. They killed 21 wolves in a strip in northeastern Wisconsin, three more than expected. They also killed 18 wolves in an area covering most of the southern two-thirds of the state, which was one more than expected.

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Before the hunt began, the agency estimated that around 1,000 wolves roamed the state.

The Trump administration removed wolves from the federal endangered species list in January, returning management to the states. Wisconsin law requires that an annual wolf hunt take place between the beginning of November and the end of February.

The MNR had scheduled the November season to start, but hunting advocacy group Hunter Nation has filed a lawsuit for an immediate start, arguing that President Joe Biden’s administration could re-register wolves before November.

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MNR officials resisted, saying they needed time to prepare, but a Jefferson County judge earlier this month ordered the department to start the hunt immediately.

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