Based on a court decision, the Chippewa Indian Tribe in Wisconsin will reserve the right to harvest 85 wolves this season. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that the entire state quota will be capped at 201 wolves, meaning that only 116 wolves will be available for harvest by non-tribal hunters, both Wisconsin residents and non-residents.
The DNR will therefore issue only 1,116 permits to hunt wolves this season, starting October 15 and ending February 28, 2013.
Once 116 wolves are harvested by non-tribal hunters, the season ends for the state of Wisconsin regardless of the date. Native American tribes may harvest up to 85 wolves, but only within the season’s time span.
The Voigt Intertribal Task Force, which won the court ruling, consists of Chippewa tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Earlier in August, Jim Zorn, executive administrator of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, wrote the DNR asking that it refrain from hunting wolves at all in the territory ceded to Native Americans in the 1800s.
The DNR replied that the tribes do not have a basis for setting quotas or issuing permits and that the wolf hunt will continue. The DNR said the Voigt court decision does not grant tribes authority to regulate and maintain the wolf population.
Zorn did express concern that the DNR would not give the tribes the right to harvest all 85 wolves since tribe members don’t actually intend to harvest any wolves.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, August 16, the DNR had received 11,448 applications for the 1,116 permits that will be given away through a lottery drawing.