Judge Stops Part of Wisconsin Wolf Hunt

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On August 31st, Dane County Circuit Judge Peter C. Anderson granted a request by anti-hunting organizations for a temporary injunction to prohibit hunting wolves with dogs while their lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is considered.

The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of Wisconsin humane societies and several individuals, claims that the use of dogs to hunt wolves violates the State’s animal cruelty law despite the fact that the animal cruelty law clearly states it does not apply to hunting. Their lawsuit also claims that the WDNR should have enacted unnecessary and strict rules on using dogs to pursue wolves. Those restrictions would make it nearly impossible to effectively hunt wolves with dogs.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed legislation approving the state’s wolf hunt and requiring the WDNR to allow the use of dogs to track and trail wolves. Judge Anderson’s decision prohibits the WDNR from issuing licenses that authorize the use of dogs to hunt wolves and additionally prohibits the training of dogs to hunt wolves.

“Judge Anderson’s decision to halt a portion of the wolf hunting season is a step back for Wisconsin’s wolf management and goes against the clear intent of Wisconsin’s legislature,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation senior vice president. “However, this is just the first round in this lawsuit. We’ll continue to work with our partners and the WDNR to ensure that sportsmen and scientific wildlife management are protected as the case moves forward.”

While the injunction could last through the entire wolf hunting season, which would effectively ban the use of dogs to track wolves this year, a motion to dismiss the case will be considered by Judge Anderson on September 14th.

The USSAF is working with the Wisconsin Bear Hunters, Safari Club International, Wisconsin Chapters of SCI, Wisconsin Hunter’s Rights Coalition, and others.