The major headline in Wolf News in the past few weeks was the killing of nearly double the allotted wolves in Wisconsin’s short and devastating hunting season. Below is a timeline summarizing events leading up to the hunt and responses to the tragic aftermath. Additional information can be found below under National News.

We hope this finds you safe and healthy.

The Pacific Wolf Coalition


Washington

Wolves still have yet to reestablish themselves in the forests of King County, but experts believe it’s likely only a matter of time. Across Washington, there’s more than 20 known wolf packs, but only one has made the trek across the Cascades, east of Bellingham. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Wolf Specialist Ben Maletzke said as wolf populations recover, they often spread out from places where there’s existing packs.


Oregon

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is looking for information after two wolves were reportedly poached near the Oregon border, according to a news release.

The agency said Wednesday that it received reports of two dead wolves northwest of Cambridge on Jan. 30. Conservation Officer Mark Sands found the wolves just off Idaho 71 within the boundaries of the Cecil D. Andrus Wildlife Management Area. Cambridge is about 20 miles east of the Oregon border and 30 miles northeast of Weiser.


California

Oregon wolves could be expanding their range into California

By Erik Neumann
Jefferson Public Radio – OPB.org

Several wolves recently crossed state lines from established packs in Oregon into California. Experts say dispersing wolves could expand territory and strengthen the species’ genetic diversity.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife identified OR-93, a wolf traveling from the White River Pack in Oregon’s Warm Springs Reservation area to Lassen County, California. And in December, a member of Oregon’s Mt. Emily Pack known as OR-85 was caught on camera in Siskiyou County, California, with another unidentified wolf.

 February 2021 photo shows OR-93, the young male wolf that has been traveling near Yosemite National Park, the farthest south a wolf has been tracked in California in more than a century.

By Lisa M. Krieger
The Mercury News

A young gray wolf visited Mono County this week, traveling farther south into California than any known wild wolf in a century.

The GPS-collared wolf, a male known as OR-93, has traveled hundreds of miles to the central Sierra Nevada from his birthplace near Oregon’s Mt. Hood, according to the CDFW.

Wolf tracked near Yosemite park for first time in 100 years

Associated Press

A young male wolf has been traveling near Yosemite National Park, the farthest south a wolf has been tracked in California in more than a century, officials said.

Researchers have been monitoring the wolf dubbed OR-93 via his tracking collar and said the animal departed Oregon earlier this year, likely in search of a new territory.


National News

Colorado wildlife officials spotted a new 4-year-old male wolf roaming near North Park and had contractors with a helicopter capture it in a net and tranquilize it, and then when the wolf broke free and bolted into Wyoming the contractors chased it, subdued it and affixed a tracking collar.

Wildlife panel says to take it slow on Colorado wolf reintroduction

By James Anderson 
The Journal, Associated Press

Some wildlife advocates are urging Colorado officials to streamline planning for reintroducing the gray wolf, arguing the launch of an overly bureaucratic process will frustrate the intent of voters who approved reintroduction by the end of 2023. But the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, which must approve a plan, delivered a message Wednesday: Take it nice and slow.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to increase the public’s ability to trap gray wolves in the Upper Snake Region, specifically with snares on private and public land.

The Fish and Game proposal would also open trapping up year-round. The proposal cites the need to better control wolf depredations in the area that stretches from north of Idaho Highway 33 in Teton Valley through Island Park and into the upper northern reaches of the Idaho/Montana border. Much of the proposal was pitched by two pro-trapping organizations, the Idaho Trappers Association and the Foundation for Wildlife Management.

Wisconsin

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against the Department of Natural Resources for its decision to not hold a gray wolf hunting or trapping season this winter in Wisconsin.

The action, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty on behalf of Hunter Nation Inc., a Kansas-based hunting advocacy group, claims the DNR’s decision violated state law and the Wisconsin state constitution’s guarantee of a right to hunt.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Monday that a wolf harvest season will take place Feb. 22-28, 2021. All hunters and trappers interested in obtaining a wolf harvest permit or preference point must apply beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. The application permit fee is $10 plus $49 ($251 non-resident) for a wolf license if selected.

Here’s what you need to know about the Wisconsin hunting and trapping season for gray wolves

By Paul A. Smith
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin law requires the Department of Natural Resources to hold a wolf hunting and trapping season from early November to the end of February when the species is not listed as threatened or endangered.

The DNR planned to begin the next season in November. However some hunters and organizations wanted it to hold a season this winter and one group, Kansas-based Hunter Nation, sued the agency. A Jefferson County judge concurred with the group and ordered the DNR to conduct the hunt this month.

Wisconsin will end its controversial wolf hunt early after hunters and trappers killed almost 70 percent of the state’s quota in the hunt’s first 48 hours.

By the end of Tuesday, the second day of the hunt, 82 wolves had been killed, The Associated Press reported. As of Wednesday morning, 135 had been killed, exceeding the quota, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Slaughtering wolves in Wisconsin just for the thrill of the kill

By David McGrath 
Chicago Sun Times (Op-Ed)

The hunt was cut short this week, on Wednesday, when the quota was exceeded and 182 wolves wiped out in just three days. This was likely because the wolves were more vulnerable due to heavy snow cover, said George Meyer of the Wilderness Wildlife Federation.

Why did more than 27,000 people pay for a chance to shoot a gray wolf? It certainly wasn’t for food. As one might expect of this apex predator, gamey-smelling wolf meat consists mostly of muscle and is widely considered inedible.

Hunters and trappers killed 216 gray wolves in the 2021 Wisconsin wolf harvest season, 82% above the state-licensed goal, according to Department of Natural Resources data released Thursday. The hastily-arranged season began Monday and ended Wednesday; the kills surpassed the established goals in each of the six wolf management units.

Wisconsin hunters exceed wolf target by nearly 100 animals

By Todd Richmond
Associated Press – abcNEWS

Wisconsin hunters and trappers killed nearly double the number of wolves that the state allotted for a weeklong season, and they did it so quickly that officials ended the hunt after less than three days, according to figures released Thursday.

Nontribal hunters and trappers registered 216 wolves as of Thursday afternoon, blowing past the state’s kill target of 119. The state Department of Natural Resources estimated before the hunt that there were about 1,000 wolves in the state. Its population goal for the animal is 350.


World News

All wolves in Spain are now listed as protected species, along with the Iberian Lynx and the Cantabrian Brown Bear, after receiving approval from the State Commission for Natural Heritage of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. Until now, only wolf populations south of the Duero were protected and those to the north were still allowed to be hunted.


Other Wolf Worthy News

Ecological Effects of Wolves in Anthropogenic Landscapes: The Potential for Trophic Cascades Is Context-Dependent

ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

In recent years, large predators have made a comeback across large parts of Europe. However, little is known about the impact that recolonizing predators may have on ecosystems with high degrees of anthropogenic influence. In Scandinavia, wolves now inhabit areas affected by intense forestry practices and their main prey, moose , are exposed to significant human hunting pressure. We used long-term datasets to investigate whether the return of wolves has affected moose distribution (as well as browsing damage by moose on Scots pine. We found that the probability of moose presence and abundance increased with time since wolf territory establishment and was higher inside wolf territories than outside. Additionally, the probability of browsing damage was also higher inside wolf territories compared to outside, but wolf occurrence had no effect on browsing damage intensity.