Wolf Management Plan
The Wisconsin DNR is in the process of updating our state's wolf management plan. The DNR is committed to a transparent, deliberative and inclusive management plan update process that recognizes the diversity of interest areas regarding wolf management.
Today, the Wisconsin DNR manages wolves following the current Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan and in accordance with state statute. The plan underwent a review process in 2005-06 and was updated in 2007. Wisconsin's wolf population has changed in the years since the current management plan was last reviewed. In that time, our understanding of population dynamics has improved as well. The current process to revise Wisconsin's wolf management plan will equip the DNR and stakeholders with scientifically sound and culturally relevant management of this iconic, native species.
Wolf Management Plan Update Process
The wolf management plan provides overall guidance to the state’s wolf management efforts. During the plan update process, the DNR will collect extensive public input through a wolf management plan committee, an online questionnaire and an opportunity to review and comment on an initial draft of the management plan. Throughout the process, the DNR will work closely with our tribal partners and other natural resource professionals involved in wolf management in Wisconsin.
February - March 2021
- Invite Tribal Partners: The DNR invites tribal participation and membership on the new WMPC.
- WMPC Application Opens: The application period opens for stakeholder organizations to apply for a seat on the committee.
- Public Input Open April 15 - May 15: The public is invited to comment on the future of wolf management in Wisconsin.
July - October 2021
- WMPC Meetings: The WMPC convenes for a series of four meetings to discuss recommendations for the revised wolf management plan.
November 2021 - January 2022
- The DNR drafts a revised wolf management plan based on the best available science, public input and WMPC recommendations.
- Draft Available For Public Input: The DNR seeks public input on the initial draft of the revised wolf management plan.
- Public Information Sessions: The DNR hosts two public information sessions before preparing for a final draft of the revised wolf management plan.
March - May 2022
- The DNR revises the draft plan based on public input.
- Final Plan Draft Presented to Natural Resources Board: The NRB reviews and considers approval of the updated wolf management plan.
The DNR is developing an online public questionnaire that will be used to collect extensive public input on wolf management from all interested individuals. This input will be used by the DNR to guide both short-term (fall 2021 harvest) and long-term (management plan) management objectives.
This questionnaire will be launched on this page in spring 2021.
Responses to the questionnaire will be used alongside the DNR's extensive, scientific 2014 survey on Wisconsinites' attitudes toward wolves. At the time this survey was conducted, wolves were under state management, including annual regulated harvest seasons. The information gained remains relevant today and will be considered throughout the wolf management plan update process. You can read the full report on the survey here.
Wolf Management Plan Committee
A new wolf management plan committee (WMPC) will be formed through an application process in spring 2021. The WMPC’s purpose is to provide input and recommendations to the DNR, ultimately resulting in a wolf management plan with broad public and scientific support.
The WMPC will be an inclusive and diverse committee made up of individuals representing hunting/trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and agricultural/ranching organizations. In addition to these stakeholder seats, representation by certain government agencies, tribes and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress will also be invited by the Department.
To learn more about the WMPC purpose, membership, and specifications, check out the committee charter.
Stakeholder organizations interested in joining the committee were encouraged to apply before March 19th. The applications are now closed.
Learn More About Wisconsin's Wolf Population And Management
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I get involved?
Tell us your thoughts on the public input questionnaire, review the draft wolf plan when it is ready, and sign up for email updates to receive any updates along the way. You may also consider participating in our volunteer carnivore tracking program to help with survey efforts for wolves and other carnivores. More information is available on our wolf ecology and track training page.
- Is the Department involving the Native American tribes of Wisconsin in this process?
Yes, the DNR is committed to working alongside our tribal partners throughout the wolf management plan update process.
- Is the Department listening to all citizens interests regarding wolves?
Yes, the DNR is striving for an inclusive and extensive public input process to ensure all voices are heard during the wolf management plan update process. Any interested individual will be able to participate in the online public questionnaire as well as review of the draft plan.
- How will the DNR ensure the state’s wolf population remains healthy and sustainable?
The DNR has had a rigorous monitoring program for decades and this commitment to annual monitoring of the wolf population will continue. Currently, the wolf population is estimated through a variety of methods including snow tracking surveys, statistical occupancy modeling, reports from the public, and data from radio-collared wolves.
- How will the DNR determine the harvest quotas for the fall 2021 regulated wolf harvest season?
The department will develop the fall 2021 wolf harvest season through a transparent and science-based process separate from the management plan. While a revised management plan is in development, the department will utilize a 2021 wolf harvest advisory committee to help formulate a fall 2021 harvest quota recommendation considering the Feb. 2021 season, updated population data, the current management plan, and state statute. This approach will include consultation with our tribal partners and solicitation of public input on harvest objectives. The department plans to present its quota recommendation to the Natural Resources Board at its Aug. 2021 meeting.
- How is the DNR collecting public input on the future of wolf management?
The DNR is collecting extensive public input through an online public questionnaire, large and diverse stakeholder committee, past research on Wisconsin attitudes towards wolves, and technical consultation from a variety of DNR, tribal, federal, and university professionals.
- Why is this process going to take until summer 2022?
Wolf management is complex and it is critical to update the state wolf management plan in a transparent, inclusive, science-based approach that allows ample opportunity for public input and review.
- What is the wolf management plan committee and who is on it?
The wolf management plan committee is an inclusive and diverse committee representing a variety of interest groups and government agencies that will provide input to the DNR during the development of the wolf management plan. More information on the committee is available above.
- How is the Wolf Management Plan Committee different from the Wolf Advisory Committee?
For the management plan update process, the DNR is forming the Wolf Management Plan Committee to broaden representation and increase the diversity of interest areas regarding wolf management to achieve an updated wolf management plan with broad scientific and public support. The structure of the traditional department wolf advisory committee will be reviewed and specified within the updated wolf management plan and resume its role as an advisory body to the department following plan approval by the Natural Resources Board.
- Why doesn’t the DNR wait until the management plan is updated to have a harvest season?
The DNR is required by statute to implement a regulated wolf harvest season any time wolves are not listed on the state or federal lists of threatened or endangered species.