PITTSFIELD - Phil Ullmer's been raising, selling and dressing beef at his farm between Pittsfield and Suamico for several years.
He's never had any run-ins with the gray wolf, but says he wouldn't be surprised to see them in the near future.
"We need to trim this wolf population back," said Ullmer. "To have it under control."
Calves, especially newborns, are easy targets for wolves and can have a major economic impact in the thousand of dollars if killed.
"If it was a bull calf, you could raise it up and sell it. Or if it was a heifer calf, you could raise that to be a mother some day and it could stay in the herd for 10 or 15 years," said Ullmer.
"Part of the purpose of the harvest is to reduce conflicts," explained Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ecologist and wolf management expert Adrian Wydeven.
Wydeven says the hunt will bring the population to a manageable level, provide recreational opportunities for hunting and trapping and collect more information about the wolf.
Hunt quotas for the wolves are split into four categories, based on the wolves' range and population concentration.
Most of the state is listed as "unsuitable." That means the DNR does not want large numbers of wolves in these areas.
The DNR says there were about 850 wolves in Wisconsin last year. But Wydeven puts that number is probably now around 1,000.
Wydeven says more than 20,000 people applied for a wolf hunt permit.
The DNR issued 1,160.
The hunt ends when either 201 wolves are killed or the calendar turns to February 28th, whichever comes first.
85 wolves are reserved for tribes.
116 are split between six harvest zones in the state.
"There's almost no chance the level of harvest we're authorizing on there would cause the population to become endangered," explained Wydeven. "We're harvesting only at a sustainable level."
Bronson Smith of Green Bay is none too pleased that a wolf hunt is going forward.
"There's no sport there," he said.
He says it seems like yesterday the animal was near extinction in the state.
While he isn't opposed to those that choose to hunt wolves, he is opposed to the options people have to hunt them, especially snares and traps.
He's also concerned about how the word will get out to hunters that the hunt is off once an areas quota is reached.
"How do you get the word out to the 2,000 hunters, out in the woods, that they can't kill no more wolves?!?" said a frustrated Smith.
Wydeven says hunters would be notified when the hunt has ended through a variety of ways: email, 800-numbers and notifications to the media.
The DNR is currently facing a lawsuit regarding the hunt.
Humane societies filed suit saying the current hunt rules don't have restrictions on the use of dogs.
A Dane County judge is barring the use of dogs while he decides the case.
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