State’s first wolf season comes to an end
Some people expected the hunters and trappers during the state’s first-ever wolf season to come up well short of the 400 animals available during the season. Others expected they would hit the mark, but that it would take most of the season, which was scheduled to end Jan. 31.
Some people, based on the harvest patterns they’d been seeing, expected hunters and trappers to hit the quota by the middle of January. But few expected hunters and trappers to experience enough success that the season would end in early January.
But that, indeed, is what happened. The DNR announced yesterday that the season would end at the end of the day today.
Seasons in the east central and northeast zones have been closed since the middle of December. During the late season, trappers and hunters in the northeast zone took 58 wolves; trappers took nine in the east central zone.
As of Thursday morning, the wolf harvest in the northwest zone was 189.
Combined with the 147 wolves taken during the early season – which ran concurrent with the firearms deer season – wolf hunters and trappers have taken a total of 403 wolves.
Any wolves they kill today will be added to that total. Shooting hours for wolves end one-half hour after sunset. Trappers must pull their sets by 10 p.m.
But some hunters and trappers likely ended the season early, thanks to a glitch on the DNR website. On New Year’s morning, anyone who went to the wolf harvest website to check the season status saw the word “null” in the harvest column. And when they called the agency’s wolf hotline, it told them the season was closed.
An unknown number of trappers pulled the traps from the woods, believing the season had closed. It’s likely at least some hunters stayed home, too. However, the error was the result of a glitch and the season wasn’t actually closed at the time. Hours later, the website was back up and running, but as of this morning, the call-in number still wasn’t operational.
Wolf hunters and trappers who were successful in taking a wolf have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to submit their wolves for inspection.