The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved 1,547 permits to kill a quota of 119 wolves during a weeklong hunt. What happened instead: 216 wolves were killed in less than 60 hours, per the New York Times. That's 82% more than the limit allowed, and conservationists are furious. The hunt was to last Feb. 22-28 but was called off on the third day "as it became clear hunters would exceed the target," per the AP. "How far we went over goal was not necessarily our objective," DNR Wildlife Management Director Eric Lobner says, per Smithsonian, noting "there were so many unknowns about how the season was going to play out." That doesn't sit well with the Great Lakes Indian, Fish and Wildlife Commission. "We could be looking at major implications for Wisconsin wolf packs for years to come," rep Dylan Jennings tells Wisconsin Public Radio.
State law mandates a hunt between November and February so long as the wolves aren't endangered, and they lost that status in January. The DNR, which hopes to reduce the state wolf population from an estimated 1,000 to 350, established that 200 wolves were to be killed, with 81 earmarked for Ojibwe tribes. But the reported numbers shows "a clear example of mismanagement" in "full disrespect to Wisconsin tribal nations with treaty protected rights," says Jennings. State director of the Humane Society Megan Nicholson adds hunters used "the most egregious methods imaginable and during the breeding season when wolves are pregnant." Helped by fresh snow, some 86% of hunters used dogs to track wolves, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Read more Wisconsin stories.)