December 21. 2011 2:00AM - Last modified: March 15. 2012 12:07PM

State to implement wolf management plan


The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced today it is removing wolves from the Endangered Species Act protection in Wisconsin, clearing the way for the state to implement a wolf management plan.
Gov. Scott Walker ordered the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to begin implementing the state's wolf management plan.  The Governor also thanked the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp for their work in moving this issue forward and promoting the decision being made based on sound science.
Once the delisting takes effect, the DNR will begin issuing permits to landowners to control wolves on their property where there have been documented cases of depredation or harassment by wolves. This will also allow permitted landowners or their designees to shoot wolves on their property if needed to protect domestic animals.
Rural Wisconsin residents have complained that the wolves are killing their pets and livestock. Hunters have complained that the burgeoning wolf population is depleting the state's deer herd.
Wisconsin has approximately 800 wolves, the most wolves ever counted in the state. This far exceeds both the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan goal of 350 and the federal recovery goal of 100 wolves for Michigan and Wisconsin.
 "I firmly support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delist the wolf in the upper Great Lakes states. Wisconsin has exceeded its delisting goal eight times over and must have flexibility to manage wolf problems," Walker said. "I have ordered the DNR to begin issuing permits for landowners who are experiencing losses caused by wolves starting on Feb. 1.  We will be prepared when the delisting takes effect at the end of January."
"I want to acknowledge the citizens of Wisconsin for their patience as we worked on the delisting," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "They were persistent in bringing their concerns to my attention. It is because of that persistence that we were able to achieve the delisting. While the department is committed to long-term conservation of wolves in Wisconsin, it is critical that we be allowed to manage wildlife populations within our borders."