Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gray Wolf hunting by the numbers

This information concerns only to the state of Wisconsin where wolf hunting permits have been granted for 2012 wolf hunting season. The main picture and some of the resources for this note were obtained from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) Wolf Management Section 2011-2012. 

Estimated wolf population in Wisconsin as 2011: ~800 (782-824, 202-203 packs, 19 loners, and 31 on Indian reservations. The hunting permits apply to outside reservation specified hunting zones)

How many wolves can the state of Wisconsin support: 700-1000
Maximum estimated historical population (highest pick 1830s): 3000-5000. No censuses were conducted then. Censuses started in the 90s.

Wolves were locally extinct by 1960s: population zero or near zero or zero sightings. This was associated with the increase in deer hunting as a sport activity, and non-tolerance for wolves as competitors for pray.

How many deers do wolves really eat? approximately 20/year (estimates based on current wolf populations). For Wisconsin, DNR researchers estimate that 30 livestock and 30 domestic animals (dogs) may be killed by wolves yearly. Accounting for all wolves in the state deer lost to wolves is about 16,000. This represents only 1/10 of the deer killed during hunting season.

How many deer are killed by hunters during hunting season? The number varies by year, policies observed and other factors. The most recent numbers:
During the first two opening days of the 2011 season ~600,000 hunters registered 112,581 deer killed in two days. This number alone surpasses the total deer estimate for a whole year.

How many deer are killed in car accidents (anthropogenic/human activity)?: 800

How many people apply for wolf hunting permits: 20,000

How many permits do the lottery would grant: 1600

WDNR quota for 2011 harvest: 116 wolves

Total wolves killed after the 2011 hunting season: 110. The season opened on Oct 25, 2012 and ended on Dec 23, 2011. The harvest was set up by quotas per region/management zones.  Originally, the season supposed to be open until the quota was reached and it was expected to be open until February 2013, although the quota was reached in less than two months.  (last update Dec 27, 2012)
Estimated pop 2011 before harvest season=~800 wolves. Now the numbers are below 700.