Wisconsin’s third annual wolf hunt may come to an early end, according to a report by the Associated Press. The hunt, now in its third year, will end February 28 or when 150 wolves are killed, whichever comes sooner. Hunters have already killed 103 animals, or 70 percent of the quota, in less than 10 days since the hunt began on October 15. Though each of the two previous hunts also ended early, this is the fastest hunters have reached 70 percent of their quota.
Department of Natural Resources large carnivore specialist Dave MacFarland told the AP that issuing more hunting permits, or “tags,” and the increasing use of traps (a practice not without controversy) contributed to the faster rate. Traps, considered the most effective way of killing wolves, were responsible for 85 percent of kills, up from 52 percent in 2012.
As recently as the 1970s, gray wolves had been all but eliminated from the continental United States, where they were once common. Wolf populations have rebounded slightly since the passage of the Endangered Species Act, and their range has expanded to the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies. Wolf hunting has been legal in Wisconsin since 2012, when wolves lost federal protection.