Hunters Kill 1/5 of Wisconsin's Entire Wolf Population In Just 3 Days

Hunters Kill 1/5 of Wisconsin's Entire Wolf Population In Just 3 Days

A hastily scheduled wolf hunting season in Wisconsin was ended in less than 72 hours after hunters killed 216 wolves, exceeding the allowed kill quota by over 80%. And this tragedy gets even worse the more you learn more about it. 

The state’s total wolf population is estimated to be about 1,100. This means roughly one out of every five wolves in the state were killed within a three day period. And this is only the beginning. The state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has set a population goal of 350, meaning the plan is to kill 70% of the state’s wolves. At those numbers, the total extinction of the state’s population becomes a very real possibility. 

The picture on the ground is as disgraceful as it is gruesome. Hunters are allowed to use traps, to hunt at night with all the advantages of modern night vision technology, and to use dogs with GPS collars to track and corner wolves. And then of course there is the wolves’ final moments, in which they are shot unknowingly from great distances with high-end rifles and telescope technology, shots which often fail to kill and leave wolves in terror and agony as they await their execution. These practices make it clear that it’s time to  finally forever discard the patently absurd claim that this has anything whatsoever to do with fair sportsmanship. 

This was the state's first wolf hunting season since 2014 due to the simple fact that the state’s wolves have been protected under the Endangered Species Act. This protection ended in January when the outgoing Trump administration removed wolves from the endangered species list as one of its parting gifts in the days before its departure. 

To make matters worse, this was not even the state’s official wolf hunting season. Wisconsin law requires that wolf hunts be conducted between November and February, and the state’s DNR had planned to wait until November for the hunt, but Republican lawmakers demanded the season start immediately. The DNR still plans to hold a second wolf hunting season in November. 

It will come as no surprise that the advocates for this hunting season, and of wolf hunting in general, are hunting and big agriculture groups, which are concerned solely with their own pleasure and profits, and are indifferent to the suffering of others, the health of ecosystems, and the fact that many of their fellow Americans prefer that wolves be allowed to live unmolested by selfish special interest groups. 

The dangers of the hunt are many. This catastrophic massacre took place at the height of breeding season and pregnant females were very likely to have been killed. Forty-six percent of the animals killed were female, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Thus it will upend wolf pack hierarchy precisely at the moment when that will be needed to raise and support this year’s litters (wolves have only one litter a year). Without question, this exercise in sadism has damaged the state’s wolf population for years to come. 

It’s especially troubling that the state’s Natural Resources Board doesn’t seem particularly concerned about the slaughter. The board’s chairman, Fred Prehn, reaffirmed that the November hunt will still be held to bring them closer to their goal of killing 70% of the state’s wolf population. 

If you have not already, please sign our alert to ask the governors of the states that have wolf populations to protect them rather than kill them.


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