The total number of wolves killed went over 82% more than the set limit, bringing the total to over 216 kills, with more being reported, out of which 46% of wolves killed were female.
Just days before Donald Trump left office, on Jan 4th, 2021, he removed the gray wolf from the federal endangered list, thus eliminating protection for the animal under the federal Endangered Species Act. Soon, a weeklong wolf-hunt was planned in Wisconsin, reports HuffPost. "2,380 Wisconsin hunters chosen by lottery from 27,151 applicants “won” the privilege of buying licenses to kill 119 wolves over a seven-day period," shared David McGrath for the Chicago Sun-Times. Hunter Nation, a Kansas-based hunting group, demanded to rush the hunting season after the state lost a court case — and an appeal.
82 wolves killed in less than 48 hours.— Wolf Conservation Center (@nywolforg) February 23, 2021
Wisconsin to end its 7-day wolf hunt on day 3 after trophy hunters + trappers kill ~70% of the quota in less than 2 days.
Wisconsin's actions offer a tragic glimpse of a future without federal wolf protections. https://t.co/3ce0Ndh4zA
Hunter Nation's request was backed by GOP lawmakers because they feared the Biden administration would reestablish protections for wolves, despite severe oppression from animal activist groups. “We expect this to be detrimental to our wolf population,” Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife executive director Melissa Smith said. “You remove one [wolf], you’re essentially destabilizing and killing the entire pack.” Also, given the timing of the hunt, pregnant wolves will also be targetted and killed. Nearly 20% of the entire wolf population was marked for death for a week, starting from Monday, 22nd Feb 2021. Initially, 20 percent translated to 200 wolves, but it was later reduced to 119.
The news I've seen over the past weeks about Wisconsin's wolf hunt has me furious, and wolves in other states are threatened too. I feel powerless. What can we do? Is there a way for anyone to sue Wisconsin for this decision, especially when the kill quota was exceeded?— Weston Anderson (@IndigoSpirit118) February 24, 2021
This was because the Ojibwe claimed their treaty rights to 81 of the animals. The Ojibwe consider the animals sacred and opposed the hunt. But, the total number of wolves killed went over 82% more than the set limit, bringing the total to over 216 kills, with more being reported, out of which 46% of wolves killed were female. The state Department of Natural Resources, however, halted it on Wednesday afternoon when the body count skyrocketed. Hunters and trappers were given a 24-hour “grace period”, which allowed them to remain in the field until Thursday afternoon. Officials then reckoned that nearly 90% of hunters used dogs to chase after the animals and the fresh snow worked to their advantage as well.
Worth pointing out that the Wisconsin DNR wanted to delay the season until November but was sued by @HunterNation, a "hunting advocacy" group whose board members include Kris Kobach, Ted Nugent, and former Americans for Prosperity CEO Luke Hilgemann. https://t.co/kJ0gB2aET5 pic.twitter.com/IZ6rlIGrXn— Adam Federman (@adamfederman) February 26, 2021
"Why did more than 27,000 people pay for a chance to shoot a gray wolf? It certainly wasn’t for food. As one might expect of this apex predator, gamey-smelling wolf meat consists mostly of muscle and is widely considered inedible," wrote McGrath. It must also be mentioned that this hunt took place despite warnings from experts that something like this might just put the wolves back on the extinction list as they have not completely recovered from the brink of being wiped out as a species completely. HuffPost reports that wolves belonging to the state were wiped out by the mid-1900s by unregulated hunting, poisoning, and bounties. The animals began to recover only in the 1970s, thanks to increased protections.
Pic from Wisconsin wolf hunt.— Pete Kraska (@Peterkraska) February 27, 2021
Happy times 🤬 pic.twitter.com/TGmyIdd2Nb
Also, Hunter Nation released a statement saying the backlash they're receiving for their "Responsible Predator Management" is nothing but "hysteria." It reads: “Hunter Nation is proud of the effort we undertook that allowed the statutorily required wolf hunt to move forward this week. Depredations on pets and livestock were up 70%, this successful hunt will help bring balance back to our population of wolves that was at least 4 times larger than our management goal of 350 animals." The group went on to thank the 27,000+ hunters who applied for a permit.
BiologistDan: RT @BiologistDan: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has lost their appeal. The wolf hunt will begin tomorrow. 20 years ago the Wisconsin Grey Wolf was critically endangered. Thanks to conservation they survived. Now they're goin… pic.twitter.com/5iPJsmQm6S— Marco Mariani (@MarcoMariani_IT) February 23, 2021
Then, they justified their actions by saying that the number has been increased, hinting that this hunt was crucial. "In 2014, it took 2 months to reach the quota of just over 100 animals, this season it took just 3 days! Clearly, the population of grey wolves has significantly increased during that time and the DNR must take a serious look at their population models and counting methods.” Meanwhile, McGrath concluded his piece by sharing, "Though wolves have inspired frustration and even hate in some, and awe and inspiration in others, it’s a disgrace and a crime if this wolf was shot to death for political vindication. And fun."
135 wolves have been slaughtered in Wisconsin since Monday in an unprecedented wolf hunt that was enabled by Trump's stripping of federal protections from America's gray wolves. pic.twitter.com/rV76yfBjhR— Bella Lack (@BellaLack) February 24, 2021