Wolves prove popular prey in Wisconsin

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2012 - 12:06 PM

Applications were capped at 20,175 for 1,160 available licenses.

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Wisconsin has stopped accepting applications for wolf hunting licenses.

Photo: Dawn Villella, Associated Press - Ap

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Differences over who has the better football teams aside, Minnesota and Wisconsin residents seem joined by at least one common interest: wolf hunting.

When Wisconsin stopped taking wolf hunting license applications on Friday, 20,175 had applied -- similar in number to the 23,477 who signed up to participate in Minnesota's wolf season.

That's noteworthy because the odds of getting a license, or a wolf, in Wisconsin are much longer, and more expensive.

"We were pleased with the number of applications," said Kurt Thiede of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

And as in Minnesota, 490 hunters from other states applied for a chance at one of only 1,160 Wisconsin licenses. The winners will be selected in a random lottery this week.

Wisconsin set a wolf harvest quota of 201 wolves, 85 of which have been reserved for American Indian tribes in the ceded territory. That leaves 116 wolves for the 1,160 license holders.

Minnesota is issuing 6,000 hunting or trapping licenses and has a harvest quota of 400 wolves.

Wisconsin had an estimated 850 wolves last spring, compared with about 3,000 in Minnesota. Wisconsin's goal over time is to reduce the spring population to about 350 wolves.

Applicants in the Badger State forked over $10 fees for a license chance (compared with $4 in Minnesota), though odds to be drawn are just one in 17. A Wisconsin wolf license is $100 for residents and $400 for nonresidents. In Minnesota, a wolf license will cost $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.

Hunters from distant states also applied for Wisconsin wolf licenses -- including 11 from California, 10 from Texas, nine from Pennsylvania, eight from Florida and even three from Alaska -- where wolves have long been hunted.

"That's not surprising,'' said Thiede. "In deer season, we typically have representation from all 50 states."

The most nonresident applicants, 179, came from Illinois. But 102 Minnesotans also applied.

Nonresidents have an equal chance of being drawn for licenses, but in Minnesota, the number of nonresident licenses is limited to 5 percent.

The most resident applications in Wisconsin came from Waukesha County (779), followed by Marathon (745), Outagamie (697), Brown (669) and Dane (664). St. Croix County, near the Twin Cities, had 486 applications.

Meanwhile, a Dane County judge issued a temporary injunction Aug. 31 against the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The season, without the use of dogs, is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.

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