Governor Scott Walker says he wants to end nighttime hunting of wolves in Wisconsin, but state lawmakers may not agree to the change.
The first wolf hunt took place in Wisconsin last fall, and hunters and trappers fairly rapidly met the DNR's kill limit of about 115 wolves. Governor Walker's office says only one wolf was killed after sunset, though state law allowed night-time hunting of wolves. That law also prompted some native Americans to seek night-time off-reservation hunting of deer in part of northern Wisconsin. A federal judge has put the deer hunt idea on hold, and now Governor Walker is trying to end the night-time wolf hunt through a provision in his state budget proposal. In audio provided by the governor's office, Walker said in Madison, yesterday:
"When we first did the wolf hunt, we didn't know the response. We got a tremendous response, we had a very active harvest, and we don't need to be as wide and broad in terms of the hunt itself. There are more than enough ways to reach the target we had."
A DNR spokesman says the department agrees with the governor's statement in the budget bill that the language regarding the night hunting of wolves should be removed, due to safety concerns.
Also giving a thumbs up to the governor's proposal is Alyson Bodai, state director of the Humane Society of the U.S.
"Night hunting wolves means using spotlights, and spotlights are generally considered inhumane and against the practice of 'fair chase.'"
Governor Walker's fellow Republican, State Representative Scott Suder, is a key author of the wolf hunt law. Suder says he wants to meet with the governor's office, to see about keeping the night-time hunt, noting that raccoons and coyotes can be hunted when it's dark.