The first wolf hunts are coming to Wisconsin and Minnesota as environmental officials are allowing hunters to cull packs of grey wolves that prey on household pets and livestock.
The wolf hunts will take place on a small scale, with both states setting strict limits on the number of hunters authorized to go after the wolves, giving out only a handful of permits, The Associated Press reported.
Experts say they aren’t sure just how many of these hunters will even see the mobile, intelligent canines when the first wolf hunts start.
“Everybody’s gung-ho to go kill a wolf but nobody realizes how hard it’s going to be,” said Bud Martin, a Montana-based hunting guide who shot a wolf two years ago in Idaho. “I’ll bet you a steak dinner your quota won’t be met.”
The first wolf hunts will be even harder thanks to lawsuits from a group of humane societies that barred the use of dogs to aid in the hunt.
“Your hunters are going to be in for a real shock. There’s nothing harder to hunt and kill than a wolf,” said Martin. “The ones who actually shoot a wolf, the data won’t even graph. (And) what’s going to happen with the trapping … is the same thing that happened out here. They went out, set a bunch of traps, run the lines for three weeks and caught absolutely nothing.”
The first wolf hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin bring those states in line with other western states already allowing wolf hunting including Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
The hunting will be more than sport, The Associated Press noted. Farmers have long complained about how wolves wreak havoc on livestock. In Minnesota, there are about 3,000 wolves, the largest population of any of the lower 48 states.
The first wolf hunts were allowed to go on in Minnesota after a legal effort to block the hunt fell through, the Star Tribune reported. The Minnesota Court of Appeals refused to grant a petition by two wildlife groups asking the court to prevent the hunt while their underlying case proceeds.