The state Department of Natural Resources is shutting down the wolf hunt in two of the six zones it established to manage the number of wolves killed, agency officials announced Thursday.
The hunt will be closed at 8 p.m. Friday in Zones 2 and 4, both of which are in far northeast Wisconsin. The agency reported that as of Thursday, hunters had killed 18 wolves in Zone 2, where the quota is 20 animals, and four wolves in Zone 4, where the quota is five wolves.
Kurt Thiede, DNR Lands Division administrator, said the agency initiated the closure process in the two zones prior to the quotas being reached because it anticipates an increase in the number of wolves being killed during the gun deer season, which begins Saturday at dawn.
Hunting continues in the state's four other zones, but Thiede said the agency is keeping a close eye on Zone 1 in northwest Wisconsin and in Zone 5 in central Wisconsin and urged hunters planning to hunt in those zones to check with the agency before heading to the field. The agency is announcing closures through news releases and on the agency's website at dnr.wi.gov. Also, hunters who want to double-check on whether a particular zone is open can call 1-855-299-9653.
The zones were established to allow the agency to track the progress of the hunt and regulate the number of wolves killed in particular areas of the state. Quotas were set higher in areas where there have been more problems with wolves killing livestock.
Statewide, hunters had killed 77 wolves as of Thursday. The statewide quota is 116 wolves.