WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — Hunters are waking up Monday morning to find out if they've been selected for this year's wolf hunt in Wisconsin. It's a hunt that hasn't happened in the state for years and begins Monday.
The hunt comes after the wolf was removed from the federal endangered species list in January. It's a controversial decision as some said it was made too quickly, while others said the population needs to be managed because of its growing numbers.
The DNR estimates there are just over 1,000 wolves in Wisconsin today, a number that has steadily grown since 1980 when there was believed to be just 25 wolves in the wild across the state. Those in favor of the hunt said this season is necessary to thin the heard after livestock owners reported about $2.7 million in damages to their property, predominantly cattle since 2014.
Others not in favor of the hunt said it comes too soon after the animal was taken off the list and more research is needed. Traditionally Wisconsin's wolf hunt would be held in November. This year the hunt will be in February which falls in the middle of breeding season.
About 200 wolves can be harvested. The season runs through February 28.