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WUWM's Susan Bence reports on Wisconsin environmental issues.

Conflict Flares Over Wisconsin Wolf Management As Wildlife Groups Attempt To Stop November Hunt

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Jayne Belsky
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Wildlife advocates hope their lawsuit will put a stop to Wisconsin's November wolf hunt.

The tug and pull around Wisconsin’s management of wolves spiked Tuesday. Wildlife advocacy groups filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s next hunting and trapping season. It’s scheduled to begin in November.

DNR biologists recommended a quota of 130 wolves for Wisconsin’s upcoming fall hunt. But the Natural Resources Board upped it to 300.

Paul Collins of Animal Wellness Action is among wildlife advocates seeking to stop the hunt.

He called their lawsuit "the first step in righting a major wrong" in Wisconsin.

“Our lawsuit challenges the quota, how it was set, the actions of the Natural Resources Board." Collins added, “These people have lost their way and our lawsuit is designed to check their reckless and overreaching actions.”

Project Coyote joined in the suit. Michelle Lute, the group’s national carnivore conservation manager, said Wisconsin’s wolf management process is broken.

“Project Coyote is also getting involved because the NRB is arbitrarily choosing a quota to kill wolves wholly untethered from any science, and fails to consider the many voices in support of wolves as well as true proper tribal consultation,” Lute said..

The lawsuit doesn’t stop with quotas and concerns about wolf management.

It’s also challenging the state’s plan to hold the November hunt on the heels of the hunt last February. It surpassed the quota by 83%.

Wisconsin law only calls for one annual hunting season.

In addition, the plaintiffs are challenging the law that requires the wolf hunt, calling it unconstitutional.

Attorney Jessica Blome, one of the lawyer’s representing the wildlife advocacy groups, says the statute butts up against an integral component of the state’s constitution, called the public trust doctrine, "because it strips the agencies responsible for administering and protecting wildlife and ensuring their sustainability for future generations from their discretion to set a hunt or not set a hunt and to set a quota that is science based and defensible."

We reached out to the Wisconsin DNR. A spokesperson said: “We have no comment at this time.”

Hunter Nation has also not yet responded to our request for comment.

READ Hunters Sue Wisconsin DNR For Not Holding Winter Wolf Harvest Season

Last winter the Kansas-based organization fought in court to make make sure last February’s Wisconsin wolf hunt took place.

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