Hunter Nation Wins Lawsuit Against Wisconsin DNR

Madison, Wisconsin (February 11, 2021) - Today Hunter Nation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s hunting heritage, along with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, won a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for ignoring a state law requirement to schedule a wolf hunt season this winter.

Today, ruling in favor of Hunter Nation, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett J. Brantmeier issued a writ of mandamus requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  to hold a gray wolf hunt in February 2021. 

Judge Brantmeier found that the Wisconsin DNR violated state law by refusing to schedule a winter 2021 gray wolf hunt when the gray wolf was delisted from the Endangered Species Act on January 4, 2021. Judge Brantmeier also ordered a hearing on February 16 to update the court on DNR’s progress in following the writ of mandamus.

“This is a historic victory for the Wisconsin hunter and our constitutionally protected right to hunt and manage our wildlife here in Wisconsin,” said Luke Hilgemann, President of Hunter Nation. “Today’s ruling solidifies the rule of law and finally provides clear direction to the Evers’ administration to move full speed ahead with our statutorily required wolf hunt. Any attempts by the Evers’ administration to overturn this ruling are a direct assault to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin hunters.”

WILL Deputy Counsel, Anthony LoCoco, added, “We are pleased the court recognized that the Wisconsin DNR ignored state law by refusing to undertake its obligation to hold a winter 2021 wolf hunt. It is not up to state agencies to decide when to follow the directives in state law.”

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act in March 2019. On November 3, 2020, US Fish and Wildlife promulgated a final rule to delist the gray wolf effective January 4, 2021.

Wisconsin state law is clear that if the gray wolf is not protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Wisconsin DNR “shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves.” The law further states that DNR must “establish a single annual open season for both hunting and trapping wolves that begins on the first Saturday in November of each year and ends on the last day of February of the following year.”

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty represented Hunter Nation in this matter.

About Hunter Nation
Hunter Nation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s hunting heritage. Committed to God, Family, Country and the Outdoor Lifestyle, Hunter Nation educates and engages hunters about the policies that will help to ensure the right to hunt is passed down to the next generation. Learn more at