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Wisconsin DNR Broke Law When Wolf Hunt Was Not Held Last Winter

Friday, November 19th, 2021 -- 8:34 AM


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources broke the law when it originally decided not to hold a wolf hunt last winter after the animal was removed from the Endangered Species List during the final days of the Trump Administration.  WisconsinAgConnection said that's according to a ruling on Thursday by Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier, who said the agency's decision to forgo a hunting and trapping season for gray wolves in February 2021 violated state statute and the constitutional right to hunt.

Judge Brantmeier was responding to a lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Hunter Nation earlier this year. Those same groups sued the state after it announced that a wolf harvest would not happen; but were forced to reverse that decision through a judge's ruling in February.   Federal protections for wolves were removed on January 4, which is in the middle of the statutorily prescribed 2020-21 wolf hunting season.  But state statutes say that when the wolf isn't on the endangered list, a hunt must be held.  

This week's ruling means that if the wolf is ever removed from the federal list in the middle of the season again, the agency must act immediately to establish a hunting period.

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