Wolf Management Plan
Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan – Draft Review and Public Comment Period
The listening session will also be live-streamed on the DNR’s YouTube channel for anyone who wishes to listen but does not provide a comment.
The deadline to submit comments has been extended to 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2023.
The Wisconsin DNR is currently in the process of updating our state's wolf management plan. The update is nearing completion, and a final public review and comment period is underway. Since the DNR manages wolves according to this plan and following state and federal laws, the DNR takes this revision process very seriously and remains committed to a transparent, deliberative and inclusive management plan update process that recognizes the diversity of interest areas regarding wolf management.
The prior Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan underwent a review process in 2005-06 and was last updated in 2007, so it was time to review the management plan. Wisconsin's wolf population has changed in the years since, and our understanding of population dynamics has also improved. The current process to revise Wisconsin's wolf management plan is intended and designed to produce a plan that reflects 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 collected 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 also worked closely with our tribal partners and other natural resource professionals involved in wolf management in Wisconsin.
As the plan nears completion, the public is encouraged to subscribe to the Wolf Management Plan mailing list for the most up-to-date information on current and upcoming events, public input opportunities and progress updates.
Updated Timeline (Newest To Oldest)
- REVIEW COMMENTS, REVISE PLAN: The DNR will review all submitted public comments and consider revisions to the draft plan.
- TRIBAL CONSULTATIONS: The DNR invites further government-to-government consultations with tribal nations in Wisconsin.
- SCIENTIFIC PUBLIC OPINIONS SURVEY COMPLETE: The scientific survey was completed, and the results were incorporated into the draft plan.
- DNR SHARED DRAFT PLAN WITH THE PUBLIC, REQUESTS PUBLIC REVIEW: The DNR shared the draft plan and initiated a 60-day public review and comment period. The period ends on Feb. 28, 2023.
Spring and Summer 2022
- TRIBAL CONSULTATIONS: The DNR invited and participated in government-to-government consultations with tribal nations in Wisconsin.
- SCIENTIFIC PUBLIC OPINIONS SURVEY: The DNR conducted an updated scientific assessment of Wisconsin residents' opinions about and attitudes toward wolves and wolf management.
- DNR CONTINUED UPDATING THE PLAN: The DNR continued to draft the updated plan.
- WMPC INPUT REPORT PUBLISHED: DNR Wolf Management Plan Committee's input report was published on the DNR website.
- DNR CONTINUED UPDATING THE PLAN: The DNR continued to update the plan based on the best available science, public input and WMPC report, all following current state and federal law.
- DNR PROVIDED A PLAN UPDATE TO NRB: DNR provided an update on progress at the January 2022 Natural Resources Board meeting.
- DNR BEGAN DRAFTING AN UPDATED PLAN: The DNR began drafting natural history, human dimensions and historical chapters for inclusion in the revised management plan.
July - October 2021
- WMPC MEETINGS: The WMPC convened a series of four meetings to discuss wolves and wolf management and provide input on the revised wolf management plan.
April - May 2021
- PUBLIC INPUT PERIOD OPENED FROM APRIL 15 TO MAY 15: The public was invited to comment and provide input on the future of wolf management in Wisconsin.
February - March 2021
- INVITED TRIBAL PARTNERS: The DNR invited tribal participation and membership in the new Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC).
- WMPC APPLICATION OPENED: The application period opened for stakeholder organizations to apply for a seat on the committee.
Public Input Questionnaire
The DNR developed an online public input questionnaire to collect all interested individuals' input on wolf management from April 15 to May 15, 2021. A short memo of the public opinion survey is available and includes a summary and analysis of the data collected. These results were presented during the July 22 meeting of the Wolf Management Plan Committee, and those slides and presentations are available for viewing (below).
Wolf Management Plan Committee
Read the Wolf Management Plan Committee's Final Report here.
Members were named for the Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) following an application and invitation process in Spring 2021. The WMPC's purpose was to provide input to the DNR during the development of an updated wolf management plan, ultimately resulting in a wolf management plan with broad public and scientific support.
The WMPC was an inclusive and diverse committee comprised of individuals representing hunting/trapping organizations, wolf advocacy/education organizations and agricultural/ranching organizations. In addition to these stakeholder seats, there was representation by other government agencies, tribes and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
WMPC Meeting #1 - July 22, 2021
On July 22, 2021, the Wolf Management Plan Committee met virtually for the first time. You can review the meeting materials below or watch a recording of the meeting.
- WMPC Agenda
- Review of Public Input
- Wolf Program Overview Slides
- WMPC Meeting #1 Slides
- WMPC Meeting #1 Notes
WMPC Meeting #2 - Aug. 19, 2021
On Aug. 19, 2021, the Wolf Management Plan Committee met virtually for the second time. You can review the meeting materials below or watch a recording of the meeting.
WMPC Meeting #3 - Sept. 23, 2021
On Sept. 23, 2021, the Wolf Management Plan Committee met virtually for the third time. You can review the meeting materials below or watch a recording of the meeting.
WMPC Meeting #4 - Oct. 21, 2021
On Oct. 21, 2021, the Wolf Management Plan Committee met virtually for the fourth time. You can review the meeting materials below or watch a recording of the meeting.
- DNR Wolf Advisory Committee Meeting #4
- Wolf Management Plan Committee Meeting #4 Slides
- Wolf Management Plan Committee Meeting #4 Agenda
- Wolf Management Plan Committee Meeting #4 Notes
Scientific Assessments of Public Opinions Towards Wolves
The DNR conducted a scientific survey on Wisconsinites' attitudes toward wolves and wolf management in 2014. You can read the full report on that 2014 survey here.
In 2022, the DNR conducted another scientific assessment of Wisconsinites' attitudes toward wolves and wolf management. This study measured current public opinions about wolves, as well as changes in opinions and attitudes since the 2014 survey. The results were used to help inform the development of the updated draft plan. The 2022 public opinion survey is available for all to view.
Learn More About Wisconsin's Wolf Population And Management
Visit our page on Wolves in Wisconsin to learn more about our state's wolf population and the DNR's wolf management program. To learn more about wolf conflict management, visit the Gray Wolf Depredation and Reports page.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I get involved?
Please review the draft plan and share your thoughts using the tool above during the 60-day public review period. The review period is from Nov. 10, 2022 through Feb. 28, 2023. You can also stay tuned to this page for updates on the planning process and sign up for email updates to receive 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 strives for an inclusive and extensive public input process to ensure all voices are heard during the wolf management plan update process. This includes an open comment period in early 2021, a broad and inclusive Wolf Management Plan Committee, research on Wisconsinite's attitudes towards wolves and a 60-day public review and comment period on the updated draft plan.
- Why does this process take so long?
Wolf management is complex, and it is critical to update the state wolf management plan in a transparent, inclusive and science-based manner 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 various stakeholder groups, tribes and government agencies that provided input to the DNR during the development of the wolf management plan. More information on the committee is available above.