On Friday, January 22, Wisconsin Farm Bureau was disappointed that the Natural Resources Board voted to delay implementation of a 2021 wolf hunting season until November 2021.
WFBF testified in support of a state wolf hunting season during the Natural Resources Board’s special meeting to discuss implementing a wolf hunting season yet this winter. Board members heard from staff within the department and took public comment.
“WFBF requests that the members of the Natural Resources Board instruct the DNR to move forward with wolf hunting this winter,” said WFBF Director of Governmental Relations Tyler Wenzlaff. “WFBF has requested resumption of a wolf hunting season immediately upon federal delisting with the DNR, state legislature and Natural Resources Board.”
Wenzlaff explained that the 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 and subsequent 2019 Wisconsin Act 285 provided the necessary steps to implement a wolf hunting season.
Farm Bureau Board of Director Ryan Klussendorf who is a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Medford also testified. Klussendorf has experienced wolf depredation and livestock harassment on his rotational grazing dairy farm.
He acknowledged that the Wisconsin DNR has had ample time to start planning a hunt to manage the population of wolves.
“I am not an expert on wolves, but I am an expert on how one pack of wolves can torment you, threaten your livelihood and haunt you until you want to give up,” said Klussendorf.
Wolf harassment on Klussendorf’s farm started in 2011 and still continues today.
“I have moved my animals within 100 feet of my farm buildings at night to protect them and what it did was bring the wolves closer to my children and home,” Klussendorf explained and added that the changes in wolf behavior they have witnessed as they become more comfortable and emboldened interacting in closer proximity to humans, includes incidents of wolves stalking children waiting for the school bus.
“The reality is that the natural world is brutal and less than picturesque,” Klussendorf said. “Help us, those who live in the natural world, set up a hunt now, using the plan that is in place to manage the wolf population now.”
WFBF President Kevin Krentz also submitted testimony requesting that farmers be included on the forthcoming 2021 DNR Wolf Management Advisory Committee and asked that the DNR immediately advise farmers about current wolf management protocols and procedures.
“We believe that including farmers on the committee is critically important in order to ensure that management issues related to livestock are discussed and addressed,” said Krentz.
While this decision is a setback for farmers who want to see the wolf population immediately managed by the state, WFBF will continue to engage in discussions surrounding the implementation of a state wolf hunting season later this year.