(The Center Square) – There’s a split when it comes to the numbers from Wisconsin’s wolf hunting season.
Hunters are happy. They shot or trapped 216 gray wolves during the three-day season this week.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is disappointed.
The haul from this year’s wolf hunt, the first since the gray wolf came off the Endangered Species list earlier this year, was 82% above DNR’s goal.
Eric Lobner, DNR’s wildlife director, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he should have stopped the hunt earlier.
"Did we go over? We did. Was that something we wanted to have happen? Absolutely not,” Lobner was quoted as saying.
Wisconsin’s wolf hunting season was supposed to last a week, instead the state ordered the seasons closed after just two and a half days.
DNR wasn’t a fan of the wolf hunt to begin with. The department asked a judge to postpone the hunting season until the fall, which likely would have given environmental groups more time to try and block it in court. But the judge refused DNR’s request.
Wisconsin state law is clear, there must be a wolf hunting season if the gray wolf was ever delisted. Once that happened, the judge ruled, Wisconsin had to move ahead with the hunt.
DNR says the vast majority of wolves were taken in the three hunting zones in northern Wisconsin, and most of those wolves were taken by hunters using dogs.
DNR now plans to monitor the state’s wolf packs through the winter and spring. Barring any changes, there will be another wolf hunt in November.