The Trump administration's decision to remove gray wolves across most of the U.S. from the endangered species list means Wisconsin wildlife officials must reinstate a wolf hunt.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Thursday that wolves would come off the list, a move designed to appeal to rural voters who have long complained that wolves are preying on their livestock. The delisting is expected to be effective in January.
Then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2012 that requires the DNR to hold a wolf season beginning in November and running through February. The department administered three hunts before a federal judge placed Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014. The law remains valid, which means the DNR would have to reinstate the hunt if protections are lifted.
The DNR estimated as many as 1,057 wolves roamed the state last winter.
“The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources welcomes the responsibility of again managing wolves in Wisconsin,” the agency said in a posting on its website Thursday. “All wolf management, including hunting, will be conducted in a transparent and deliberative process, in which public and tribal participation will be encouraged.”