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Hunters talk success after wolf hunt, while conservationists are concerned


Story By Morgan Johnson
Local News Published 02/25/2021 6:14PM, Last Updated 02/25/2021 6:36PM
As a retired wildlife expert, Adrian Wydeven has been studying wolves for years.

But even he didn't know what to expect.

"It was very unsure exactly what was going to happen because we were dealing with a high level of uncertainty," said Wydeven.

The Wisconsin wolf hunt was set for a week, but ended just two days after it started.

Kills were adding up quickly.

The final tally was 216 wolves killed, way more than the 119 quota that was set.

Wisconsin's last wolf hunt was in 2014 and Wydeven says there hasn't been a February wolf hunt since 1956.

Having a hunt mid-winter changes things.

It means interrupting a wolf's breeding period.

"If you're removing pregnant females, that means you are removing this year's litter of pups from that pack," said Wydeven. "If you're removing an adult male, it may make it harder for a pack to maintain its territory."

But after a legal battle, the DNR had no choice but to hold the hunt, per state law.

The DNR allocated 2,380 permits to hunters across the state.

One of those permits belonged to Shane Chapman, a hunter from Marquette County, Wisconsin.

"It was a great time," said Chapman.

Chapman hunted with a group who had nine tags. His group filled seven of them.

"We all had a lot of action, a lot of running around, a lot of miles," said Chapman.

Chapman's group harvested all their wolves in the first two days of the season.

He sees a number of benefits to this wolf hunt, including less depredations.

"They've been becoming a big problem down here by us," said Chapman. "We've been finding a lot of carcasses, we've had a lot less of a deer population in recent years, and we've been seeing way more wolves. I don't think that's just a coincidence."

He sees it as, the fewer wolves there are, the better chance deer have of surviving for deer season.

Chapman plans on hunting for the next wolf season in November, while Wydeven is concerned for how many wolves will make it that long.
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