Note: An alert reader points out that the deadline for applying for a license was August 1st, something I should have confirmed before I posted this. I’ll leave the post as it is, since the fundamental point — the insanity of the quota selected by the NR Board — remains.
I’m going to apply for a license to kill wolves. Then, if I’m selected, I’ll buy the license — and destroy it, quite possibly ceremonially.
In the latest ludicrousness out of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, yesterday the board over-ruled its own experts and voted to more than doubled the wolf hunting quota for the fall hunt.
In January the board did the same thing, over-ruling staff biologists to move ahead with a February hunt immediately after the wolf was delisted as a protected species by the Trump Administration. That hunt was a disaster, with hunters using dogs to chase wolves and blowing past their quota by 83% in only a few days. To make matters worse, it was the first time a hunt had been conducted during the wolves’ breeding season and the department is still unsure what impact that had.
It’s possible that that slaughter, plus wolves killed by cars, poachers and by other means, has reduced the population by 25%. DNR staff recommended a quota of 130 wolves, but a respected group of retired DNR personnel, Green Fire, suggested 30, if there had to be a hunt at all. In fact, Michigan and Minnesota will not have wolf hunts this year. And two-thirds of the groups registered to speak at yesterday’s meeting called for the board to hold to the staff recommendation or go lower.
An ill-advised state law mandates a hunt, but the quota could be one.
So, what did the board do? They voted for a harvest goal of 300.
To make matters even more infuriating, this likely only happened because board chair Fred Prehn remains in his seat illegally. Prehn’s term expired on May 1st, but he refuses to move on until his successor is approved by the Senate, which could happen never, since Republicans control that body and Prehn was an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker while his replacement was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers.
It’s not clear to me why Attorney General Josh Kaul hasn’t moved to oust Prehn. If a fire needed to be lit under Kaul, this should have been it.
With Prehn replaced, Evers would have a 4-3 majority on the board and you would think that an Evers appointed majority would respect the professional staff recommendation. But you might be wrong. Evers’ latest appointment, Sharon Adams, voted with the Walker appointees. It could be that she only did that so that she could be in the majority, which would give her the right to move for reconsideration later. But I’m not sure.
All of which brings me back to my suggested protest. What if people opposed to the hunt applied for a license this fall? Then, if we were selected, we would simply do what the state’s Native American tribes do with their share of the quota — nothing. Simply sit on a license. The money we spent for the application and license would be modest and it would go to wildlife management, so it’s a good cause anyway.
And to make our point even more loudly, maybe we could get together and burn them on the steps of the DNR building. It would be a green fire.
Welcome to the 176th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!