Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What Do Wisconsinites Think of a Second Wolf Hunt?

Michele Woodford

The clock is ticking ever closer to Wisconsin’s “still hotly debated” second wolf harvest.

After the wolf's federal endangered status was lifted in January 2012, Wisconsin quickly drafted a wolf hunt law. In what critics complained was the blink of an eye, Wisconsin carried out its first wolf harvest.

On Thursday, the DNR’s recently formed Wolf Advisory Committee was huddled in a conference room in Wausau, charged with setting this season’s harvest quota.

As the committee deliberates, two UW-Madison scientists shared their 14 years of research.

Geography professor Lisa Naughton and environmental studies associate professor Adrian Treves have – and continue to – survey Wisconsin residents to glean public opinion on wolf policy and management.

Credit Susan Bence
UW Madison researchers Adrian Treves and Lisa Naughton

"Most of the state agrees we should have some wolves – most of the state agrees we probably need to keep a cap on how big that population is," Naughton says. "Most agree that there should be some kind of compensation or protection of livestock producers, so they don’t lose livestock on their private land."

Naughton and Treves were both members of the wolf scientific advisory committee, which was disbanded when the wolf was removed from the endangered list in Wisconsin. They are currently completed three related studies on public attitudes on wolf policy and management.

Thursday’s meeting of the DNR’s current wolf advisory committee will result in hunt quota recommendations, slated to be reviewed by the Natural Resources Board in June, with the wolf hunt season slated to kick off on October 15.

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.