Wisconsin's first wolf hunt could end ahead of schedule - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wisconsin's first wolf hunt could end ahead of schedule

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The state's first wolf hunt could wrap up earlier than expected.

We've been following the hunt, which was supposed to run through February.

But hunters are very close to the state's quota so it may not be long before the first hunt is in the books.

"The harvest has proceeded much more quickly I think than anyone anticipated," said Ed Culhane, DNR Spokesperson.

Wisconsin's inaugural wolf hunt is wrapping up early. As of Monday, hunters have killed 104 wolves, just twelve short of the quota set by the state.

"This year we've obviously learned that hunters and trappers are very effective at harvesting wolves. Now, will that same success rate go into future seasons? Or will the wolves eventually become a little bit more knowledgeable about what the hunters are up to? Who's to say," Culhane said.

While some aspects of the hunt are hard to predict, there's no denying the first hunt will be successful in terms of helping the DNR understand more about the animals.

"Every wolf that gets harvested, biologists have the time to go over that carcass and collect a great deal of biological information, beyond just aging it. They'll be making all sorts of studies into the wolf's general health, and in terms of the female wolves, and lots of reproductive information," said Culhane.

Zone 5 and 6 are within two wolves of reaching quota, meaning zone 3 will likely be the last place open for the hunt.

"Zone 3, which is parts of Taylor, Rusk, and Washburn counties, there are 8 more wolves that can be harvested there, and we'll just have to see how the pace continues. The way things have been going, you wouldn't think it would last past the end of the year," Culhane said.

Even if you have a permit, the DNR is still urging you to call or check online before going out.

"It's their responsibility every day to check in, to see where things are at, to make sure that the zone in which they are operating is still open," said Culhane.

When you factor in the tribes' portion, the overall state quota was set at 201.

Before the hunt, the DNR had estimated the state's population to be around 880.

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