February 2021 Wolf Harvest Season ends, DNR prepares for fall season

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Photo via Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The February 2021 wolf harvest season closed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. State statute authorizes the DNR to close management zones to harvest following a 24-hour notice based on harvest information. Because of the nature of harvest registration and 24-hour notice, it is possible for harvest quotas to be exceeded.

During the Natural Resources Board Special Meeting on Feb. 15, the board unanimously voted for a harvest quota of 200 wolves outside reservation lands. Of the approved quota, 119 wolves are allocated to the state, and 81 wolves are allocated to the Ojibwe Tribes in response to the Tribes’ declaration and in accordance with their treaty rights within the Ceded Territory.

Iowa, Richland and Sauk Counties are all within Wolf Harvesting Zone 6. The quota for Zone 6 was 17, with 40 ultimately being the final number of wolves harvested. The total statewide quota of 119 was far exceeded and the total harvested was 216.

Photo via Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The department’s approved quota considered 2020 wolf population data, population response to previous harvest seasons, scientific literature, and population model projections. The quota’s objective is to allow for a sustainable harvest that neither increases nor decreases the state’s wolf population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed gray wolves from the federal endangered species list on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to state agencies. The Wisconsin DNR has successfully managed gray wolves for decades and will continue to do so in accordance with the laws of our state and the best science available.

The DNR is actively working to prepare for a fall 2021 wolf harvest season in November.