- The Natural Resources Board voted unanimously Tuesday on the new wolf hunt rules. They set the harvest quota at 201, as recommended by the DNR.
Before the board met, they heard testimony from 43 people in favor of raising or lowering the quota.
“I think there was a good mix and a lot of good testimony on both sides,” said board member Greg Kazmierski. “I think the Department [of Natural Resources] took a lot of that into consideration when they came to us with their recommendation, so I think that’s why it ended up a unanimous vote.”
Board members and DNR officials say testimony was emotional but civilized.
“It’s a passionate issue,” said land division administrator Kurt Thiede. “Wolves are culturally and socially very significant in this state. So I think even though we went out and got public comment through our public meetings and stakeholder meetings, what we did find at those meetings was there is a wide difference between whether we have higher numbers or lower numbers. There was a lot of interest and still a lot of discussion today.”
The quota is divided into six zones. The law gives the DNR authority to close the season or close the hunt in certain zones if harvest quota is reached.
In another controversial move, the board also restricted hunting at night to bait or predator calls.
A change also came in the way depredation claims will be reimbursed. Prior to the new wolf hunt law, if wolves hurt or injured pets or livestock, owners were reimbursed within about a month, Thiede said. Under the new rules, claims will be evaluated at the end of each year and paid back using licensing and permit revenues.
The DNR will reevaluate the rules after this year’s hunt and put permanent ones in place.
Permit applications for this year's hunt are available starting August 1. The wolf hunting season begins October 15 and runs through the end of February.