MADISON, Wis. – With the recent delisting of wolves from the federal endangered species list, some livestock farmers and pet owners are wondering how this change affects Wisconsin’s wolf conflict program. While the delisting has prompted some changes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA-Wildlife Services) remains the first point of contact for reporting all wolf conflict incidents.
For livestock and pet owners dealing with a potential wolf-involved conflict, swift reporting to USDA-Wildlife Services remains critical for the collection of evidence and the timely implementation of conflict resolution options. Verification of any wolf-involved conflict is still required for reimbursement of damages or loss.
The federal delisting of wolves from the endangered species list has prompted the following changes to Wisconsin’s wolf conflict program including:
- The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and USDA-Wildlife Services may now implement an integrated depredation program using both lethal and non-lethal conflict prevention options. Previously, conflict prevention options were limited to non-lethal approaches. Lethal options include the issuance of wolf removal permits to landowners and implementation of wolf removal efforts by USDA-Wildlife Services. Wisconsin’s administrative code also allows the landowners and leasees on private lands to shoot wolves in the act of biting, wounding or attacking a domestic animal. Shootings must be reported to the DNR within 24 hours.
- To receive conflict prevention assistance and for compensation eligibility, public hunting access during the Wisconsin wolf harvest is required on private lands where wolf hunting and trapping is feasible.
- Funding for wolf depredation compensation payments will transfer from the DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program to revenue generated from the sale of wolf hunting license and applications.
- Claims for missing calves are now limited to reimbursement of up to five missing calves for each verified depredation. (There was no limit in place previously.)
Notification will also be sent to those who subscribe to the department’s wolf depredation update list. Information includes an interactive map with general locations of all verified wolf conflicts, an annual table listing of all reported conflicts and the establishment of wolf caution areas at pet and hunting dog depredations sites.
The department and our partner, USDA-Wildlife Services, remain committed to assisting individuals who experience conflicts with wolves. Wolf conflicts should be reported as soon as possible to USDA-Wildlife Services by calling 1-800-228-1368 (in state) or 715-369-5221 in northern Wisconsin and by calling 1-800-433-0663 (in state) or 920-324-4514 in southern Wisconsin.