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Wisconsin Judge Orders DNR To Hold February Wolf Hunt

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) — A judge ordered the state Department of Natural Resources on Thursday to start a wolf hunt this month rather than wait until November.

The Trump administration removed wolves from the federal endangered species list in January, returning management to the states.

Wisconsin law mandates the DNR run a wolf season from November through February. The department had planned to start the season this November but Republican legislators demanded the department start the season immediately.

DNR officials resisted, saying they need time to develop harvest quotas. The department's policy board refused to order an immediate hunt, noting that Wisconsin's Chippewa tribes haven't been consulted as per treaty requirements. The Chippewa consider wolves sacred and oppose hunting them.

Kansas-based hunter advocacy group Hunter Nation sued the DNR earlier this month, seeking an order to start the season immediately. Online court records show Jefferson County Circuit Judge Bennett Brantmeier ordered the DNR on Thursday to hold the season this month. The records don't include Brantmeier's rationale beyond a notation that he's directing the DNR to "follow their duty to hold the Gray Wolf hunting season in February 2021."

DNR spokeswoman Sarah Hoye had no immediate comment.

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