SILVER CLIFF - Early Monday morning, Wisconsin's first wolf hunt season will begin.
Some hunters say they are excited for what that might mean for their fortunes.
Inside Tim Mueller's Silver Cliff home, mounted bears, elk, deer and skins ranging from bobcat to coyote adorn the walls.
He hopes to soon add to his collection.
"I'm just going to do it on the weekends," said Mueller of hunting wolf. "And now, when I'm archery hunting, I'll carry a rifle with me, and just in case you get lucky and see one."
Since the wolf's de-listing as an endangered species in Wisconsin, the state's Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with the hunt to address the predator's growing population.
Mueller is one of more than 1,100 people looking for a shot at getting a wolf before the harvest reaches a cap of 201 wolves.
And Mueller isn't expecting it to be easy.
"Every time you see them, you'll never be able to shoot them," said Mueller of the wolf's elusiveness. "They're gone in a flash.
DNR officials say the five month hunt is going to be a learning experience.
"The success of the hunters, and when they're going to be most successful, and whether it's earlier in the season or later in the season, when they can find snow and see the animals against the snowy background," said Adrian Wydeven, a DNR ecologist and wolf management expert in a phone interview with FOX 11 Thursday.
Mueller would prefer to use his hunting dogs for the hunt, like he does for bear and coyote. But he can't. A judge says dogs aren't allowed in the hunt while he decides on a lawsuit brought against the DNR by humane societies.
"This wolf hunt is a trophy hunt for a few people to get their jollies out there killing something new," explained Patricia Randolph in a phone interview with FOX 11 Sunday morning.
Randolph, who is with the Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife, a wildlife advocacy group, says the wolf hunt is destroying nature's delicate balance of natural predators.
"Natural predators, in natural numbers, protect the biodiversity that we all depend on," said Randolph.
Randolph says the hunt isn't to reduce conflict between humans, livestock and wolves, but to generate money.
Wolf permit applications cost hunters $10 apiece. More than 20,000 people applied.
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