Yesterday the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the open application period for a newly formed Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC). Beginning this month, the department will begin recruitment for the WMPC with an open application period through March 19.
The DNR invites organizations with an interest in wolf management to visit the wolf management plan webpage on the DNR website to learn more about the required qualifications and how to apply for a seat on the committee.
The purpose of the WMPC will be to provide input, direction and recommendations to the department in developing an updated wolf management plan. To be inclusive of a variety of interest areas regarding wolf management, a specified number of plan committee seats will be made available by application to interested stakeholder organizations. Representation on the committee will include hunting/trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and agricultural/ranching organizations.
Additional seats on the WMPC will be reserved for invited tribal and governmental agencies, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and DNR technical staff support.
The wolf management plan process will occur over the next year and half which WDNR said “will be conducted in an open and transparent process ensuring time for public participation and incorporation of the most recent scientific data.” The first step in the process consists of the department forming the WMPC with diverse representation from stakeholder groups as well as tribal and other governmental organizations.
Once the committee is formed, the department will solicit broad public input on the direction of wolf management in the state. Once that feedback is compiled, the WMPC will begin a series of four meetings to provide input to the development of the updated wolf management plan, including a time slot for public input; the public will be invited to comment on the future of wolf management in Wisconsin April 15 – May 15.
The department will write an initial draft of the wolf plan, “guided by science” and input from the WMPC and the public. The draft plan will be made available for public review and comment. A final draft will then be compiled and submitted to the Natural Resources Board for approval in mid-2022.
And yes, there will be another wolf hunt this fall:
The DNR is actively working to prepare for a fall 2021 wolf harvest season through a transparent and science-based process. While a revised management plan is in development, the department will convene a 2021 Wolf Harvest Advisory Committee to advise on the harvest objective and quota recommendation for the harvest season opening Nov. 6. The committee will include the organizations involved the last time the Wolf Advisory Committee met in 2014. Invitations have also been extended to additional organizations who previously requested a seat on the committee.
The 2021 Wolf Harvest Advisory Committee will meet to formulate a fall 2021 harvest quota recommendation following the current management plan and state statute. This approach will include coordination with our tribal partners and solicitation of public input on harvest objectives. The department plans to present its quota recommendation to the Natural Resources Board at its August meeting.
Current Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan (from 1999) where it says on page 20, “once delisted, the gray wolf would be classified as a “protected nongame species” (similar to the badger). Most control activity would continue to be done by WDNR or USDA – WS personnel.”
My, my, how times have changed.