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Public input sought on 10-year Wolf Management Plan

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 2:47 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Anyone with interest in wolves in Wisconsin is encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions.

Starting Thursday, and running through May 15th, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input as it begins efforts to establish a 10-year wolf management plan.

All stakeholder groups will be represented in the process.

As has been the case for decades, wolves are as polarizing as any animal on the landscape.

“This is certainly a big topic and there’s a wide variety of opinions and thoughts on this,” says DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Randy Johnson.

He says the state developed an original wolf management plan in the mid-2000′s, but the roller coaster of federal de-listing and re-listing of the species as protected kept an updated plan tabled.

But that’s about to change.

“We’re putting together a very detailed, very in-depth process to update this management plan and hopefully set the stage for the next ten years or so,” says Johnson.

The first step is public input, April 15-May 15, on the DNR’s website. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolfmanagementplan

It’s an opportunity from anyone to weigh in on how the state should approach wolf depredation, education, research and population management.

“This is really a chance for anybody that’s interested to weigh-in on priorities, objectives and really just give us those thoughts,” explains Johnson.

From there, and for the first time, the DNR will convene a Wolf Management Plan Committee, designed to be diverse and inclusive to represent different interests regarding wolves.

“There’s three broad categories, hunting and trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and then ranching and agriculture organizations, we’ve had a number of applications in all those different groups,” says Johnson.

Johnson says the other half of the committee will be made up representatives from the state’s 11 Native American tribes, governmental agencies and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

The committee will take the public input and meet four times through the summer and fall, before drafting a plan early next year.

More public input will follow before a final plan is submitted to the Natural Resources Board for approval in June 2022.

While the final wolf management plan won’t be ready for review until a year from now, the DNR is also seeking seperate public input on the fall 2021 wolf harvest season.

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