Several permit application deadlines for fall hunting and trapping are a week away. Permits for fall turkey hunting, Canada geese hunting (Horicon Zone), bobcat hunting and trapping, fisher and otter trapping, and wolf hunting and trapping must be applied for by Thursday, Aug. 1. Permit applications can be purchased where licenses are sold, online through the Department of Natural Resources website, or by phone at the toll-free number 877-945-4236. There are 96,700 turkey hunting permits-the same as last year-available for the fall hunting season, which begins Saturday, Sept. 14. Any leftover permits following the initial drawing go on sale Saturday, Aug. 24. The fall season runs through Thursday, Nov. 21, with an extended season from Monday, Dec. 2 through the end of the year. Final permit numbers will be decided in August for bobcat hunting and trapping (north of Hwy. 64 only), fisher trapping and otter trapping. The bobcat and fisher seasons begin Saturday, Oct. 19. The otter season starts Saturday, Nov. 2 in the Northern Zone. The Natural Resources Board will set waterfowl season dates at its August meeting. The tentative dates are Sunday, Sept. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 27 for the first period, and Monday, Oct. 28 through Monday, Dec. 16 for the second period.
Wolf quota higher The wolf quota has been set at 275 wolves for the state's second season, which starts Tuesday, Oct. 15. Last year, the first year of a hunting and trapping season in Wisconsin, the quota was 201 wolves. Of that 201 quota in 2012, the total for hunters and trappers was 116 wolves, with the remaining 85 set aside for tribal harvest. However, Indian tribes in the ceded territory killed no wolves, said Bill Vander Zouwen, DNR wildlife ecology section chief. The general hunting/trapping quota of 116 wolves was hit on the head, with one of the six zones going over by one wolf and another zone going under by one. Zones were closed as quotas were met, and all zones were closed by Dec. 26, more than 2 months before the original date for the season closing. This season, state hunters and trappers may have a higher quota since Indian tribes have not indicated yet that they intend to take any wolves, said Vander Zouwen early this week. A decision will be made by early August whether the DNR will be required to set aside a wolf quota for a declared tribal harvest. The DNR will maintain the 10-to-1 license-to-quota ratio from the 2012 wolf season. Half of the permits will be issued randomly among all permit applications and the other half will be issued through a cumulative preference point drawing. Successful wolf permit applicants will be notified in mid- to late September. This season's quota was proposed by the DNR Wolf Advisory Committee, comprised of DNR staff along with representatives from the agriculture industry, the Chippewa tribes, Wisconsin Conservation Congress and sportsman groups. Vander Zouwen said that the number of wolves killed through livestock depredation permits is considered when setting the quota but is not part of the quota. The state's late winter wolf population estimate fell between 809 and 834 wolves. The count is similar to late winter of 2012 before the first hunting/trapping season, said Dave McFarland, DNR carnivore specialist. "It is important to note that this is the minimum number of wolves the state is estimated to have in late winter, at the point where wolf population is at its lowest and just prior to the birth of pups," said McFarland. "This late winter minimum count approximately doubles in spring of each year after pups are born and then declines throughout the year." McFarland said that according to available data, if the 2013 quota is reached it will result in an approximate population reduction of 10%-20% of the wolf population, and more closely to 13%. The state's wolf population goal is 350. Wolf pups are born in April and grow to adult size by mid-October. Last year, half of the wolves taken by hunters and trappers were yearlings, said Vander Zouwen.