The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) say natural resources officials ignored state law when they failed to schedule a wolf hunt season this winter. The gray wolf was delisted from the Endangered Species Act in early January 2021, returning the wolf to Wisconsin DNR management and triggering a 2011 state law that requires a hunting season between November and February.
WILL filed the lawsuit on behalf of Hunter Nation, a Kansas-based nonprofit organization focused on preserving the country's hunting heritage.
“The Wisconsin DNR does not have the discretion to determine whether to follow state law when it comes to scheduling a gray wolf hunt. WILL intends to hold Wisconsin’s administrative agencies accountable until this pattern of ignoring state law ends,” says WILL Deputy Counsel Anthony LoCoco.
The lawsuit singles out Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole, the agency as a whole, and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.
On January 22, the board considered a winter hunt at a special meeting at the behest of a dozen Republican state lawmakers.
The board voted down the proposal, 4 to 3, after concerns were raised that the state’s tribes must have input before, not after, a harvest plan is finalized.
The DNR says it plans to consult with all stakeholder groups as it puts together a season starting November 6, 2021.
Other organizations are pushing back, but not all with the same concerns.
In January, six environmental group filed a lawsuit challenging the decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves.