IRG Calls for Greater Oversight of DNR Wolf Management Decisions

Mar 23, 2023 | Oversight, Press Release, Wisconsin Voices Blog

IRG Center for Investigative Oversight


NEW Investigatory Report follows unilateral DNR decision to eliminate numeric wolf population goal in Wisconsin.

Delafield, WI – The Institute for Reforming Government’s Center for Investigative Oversight today released a report demanding that the Department of Natural Resources answer several pressing questions concerning ongoing revisions it is making to Wisconsin’s wolf management plan.


  • Since 1999, when the gray wolf population in Wisconsin was about 200 wolves, Wisconsin has had a 350-wolf population management goal.
  • 2007: The DNR reaffirmed this goal, when the wolf population was over 500, indicating that it had begun “to apply controls on the wolf population.”
  • A DECADE AND A HALF LATER: Wisconsin’s wolf population has at times approached 1,200 wolves or more.
  • CURRENTLY: Despite record numbers of Wisconsin farms with verified wolf depredations and over a million dollars in damages paid to Wisconsinites since 2016 for dead, injured, or missing livestock and pets, DNR has suddenly announced that it is discarding its 350-wolf goal and will not be setting any numeric goal going forward.

“It’s been unfortunate to see that DNR is unilaterally abolishing Wisconsin’s long-standing 350-wolf population goal despite the fact that Wisconsin’s wolf population is almost three times that number. I believe that a greater level of oversight of DNR’s revisions to the wolf management plan is required to ensure that DNR’s decision is the best one for the people of this state,” – Anthony LoCoco, Chief Legal Counsel and Director of Oversight.

What happens next?

IRG’s report, 10 Questions for DNR on its Gray Wolf Power Grab, argues that a greater level of oversight of DNR’s revisions to the wolf management plan is required and asks DNR to start by answering ten questions about its revisions. These questions focus on the reason for DNR’s drastic change, DNR’s authority for eliminating a numeric plan, and the effect this change is expected to have on Wisconsin’s livestock and wildlife.

Have questions?

Reach out to the author of this report, IRG’s Chief Legal Counsel and Director of Oversight, Anthony LoCoco at [email protected].