DNR wolf managers were quoted extensively in a November 2013 Associated Press news article. From their statements, I have some questions and have drawn some conclusions.
They said they are trying to estimate the impact of wolf mortality. Illegal kills, which are impossible to quantify accurately because of a lack of reliable data, skew that effort. All they can do is make educated guesses.
DNR biologists claim that "they want to try to depress local populations of wolves a little bit."
Unfortunately, targeting 43 wolves out of an estimated regional population of 658 widely scattered individuals, is meaningless. Effective control in the Upper Peninsula would require removing about 30 percent of the entire population and effective population reduction would require removing 40 percent or more annually. Wolves are prolific and resilient.
Wisconsin seems to have the right approach unencumbered by political correctness.
In 2012, they had an estimated population of 800 plus wolves and 275 of these were taken by hunters and trappers. That is about 30 percent, and the Wisconsin DNR said it was a successful season.
In contrast, DNR Furbearer Biologist Adam Bump said "the hunt is not about limiting populations, but reducing conflicts."
That begs the question. How can you reduce conflicts without limiting populations? Obviously, the folks in the DNR have a different agenda. As a result, their stated goal for the 2013 wolf hunt was not realized.
Hunting is inefficient. That is because wolves are wary, intelligent and react quickly to hunting pressure. Trapping is more effective. Knowledgeable trappers know and understand their habits and traps and snares work 24/7.
The Wolf Management Plan perpetuates a failed policy and is social engineering that is intended to placate anti-hunters. That strategy didn't work as they put this issue on the 2014 election ballot.
The bean counters in the DNR are slow learners.
If wolf hunt opponents convince voters to ban the killing of wolves, nothing will change. We will continue to have unofficial wolf control because those who are directly and adversely impacted will continue to shoot, shovel and shut up.
Most likely, that is the reason the DNR reported that the wolf population leveled off or declined slightly.
Aside from being unworkable, the wolf plan is a classic example of politicians in the DNR trying to reinvent the wheel.