In a tense exchange, Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) grilled Department of Natural Resources (DNR) secretary Preston Cole on the Wisconsin Wolf hunt.
Sen. Mary Felzkowski asked, “If you aren’t representing the sportsmen who are asking for the hunt … who are you representing? …Why did it take a lawsuit for you to do your job?”
“We manage bear, we manage bobcat,” said Felzkowski. “Bear we went over 12%, we manage our predators. We have the effect of the wolf population hurting our farmers, hurting our land values. I mean, you have a statute and you have hunters that are asking you for this. I guess I’m asking by not having the hunt, who are you representing?”
With the wolf population nearly four times the Department of Natural Resource’s goal and wolf depredations up 70% since 2014, there was a clear need to manage the wolf population. Additionally, the DNR’s decision to forgo a gray wolf hunt until November 2021 violated state law.
Organizing local hunters and local experts, Hunter Nation testified at a Senate Committee hearing on reinstating the wolf harvesting season, encouraging an immediate wolf harvesting season in Wisconsin. However, the Wisconsin DNR did not attend the hearing.
Hunter Nation took action and filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole, the Wisconsin DNR, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for ignoring a state law requirement to schedule a wolf hunt season this winter.
The court ruled in favor of Hunter Nation, issuing a writ of mandamus requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to hold a gray wolf hunt immediately in February.