Bear hunters call for action on wolf delisting in Washington
Wisconsin's premier bear hunting group is calling on our state’s Congressional delegation to support legislative efforts to remove wolves from the endangered species list.
The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) has long been a leading advocate for allowing the state to manage our population of gray wolves. “It is long past time that we allow our state Department of Natural Resources to manage the wolf population,” said WBHA President Carl Schoettel.
WBHA had successfully advocated for the creation of a wolf harvest season to manage the wolf population. That season, after only a few years, was shut down by a court’s action.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided almost a decade ago that wolves had recovered enough to be removed from the endangered species act protection. Shortly thereafter the Humane Society of the United States and others filed a legal action against USFWS, and a judge from the East Coast ordered the wolf back onto the endangered list. But USFWS continues to support delisting today, as the science has not changed.
Fortunately, there is movement in both houses of Congress to overturn the judge’s decision, return wolf management to the state, and to deny any judicial overview of that decision.
Wisconsin’s overwinter minimum population of wolves is in excess of 900, well over the management plan goal of 350. In fact during most of the year, the wolf population is closer to 2000, as wolf pups are born in early spring and wolf mortality is generally the highest in late winter.
“We applaud the efforts of Senators Johnson and Baldwin, and Congressmen Duffy and Gallagher for their efforts to move the proposals forward,” said Schoettel. “But time is running out and we need to let them and all our Wisconsin representatives know it is urgent that they act now, before the current session is adjourned.”