Treves testifies on proposed wolf hunting and trapping in Wisconsin

February 11, 2012

Adrian Treves, an associate professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, recently provided testimony before the Wisconsin Assembly Natural Resources Committee on legislation to allow public hunting and trapping of gray wolves in Wisconsin. He also intends to testify before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment.

The bills, Assembly Bill 502 and Senate Bill 411, were introduced following a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision in December to remove the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes from a list of threatened and endangered species.

An expert on wolf management and public opinion of wolf policy in Wisconsin, Treves and his research team have surveyed more than 2,100 Wisconsin residents five times since 2001 about their preferences and opinions on wolf policy in the state.

Treves said in his testimony the issue isn't whether a wolf hunt should be allowed, but rather how and where the hunt is conducted.

Based on his research, Treves said he thinks Wisconsin residents will not accept many aspects of the bills as drafted. He also believes the bills are written in a way that could affect the long term health of the state’s gray wolf population. He said the bills propose untested methods over a very long season in too broad an area and legislate management decisions without the input of technical and scientific experts, among other concerns. This raises the specter of the federal government returning wolves to federally endangered status and reclaiming authority from the state of Wisconsin, Treves testified.