A Jefferson County judge said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources violated state law by not immediately setting a wolf hunting season after federal protections were lifted in February.
In a ruling issued Thursday, District Court Judge Bennett J. Brantmeier also said the agency must immediately conduct a hunt any time federal protections are lifted during the statutory hunting season, which runs from November to February.
The injunction was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc., which challenged the agency’s decision not to hunt after the wolf was removed from the endangered species list in January.
Luke Hilgemann, president of a Kansas-based advocacy group, called the decision “one of the most important legal victories in history” for hunters.
“Today’s landmark decision enshrines Wisconsin’s constitutional right to hunt and our statutory requirements for hunting wolves,” Hilgemann said in a written statement.
However, a separate injunction suspended the current wolf season while a Dane County judge hears a lawsuit filed in August by a coalition of wildlife groups seeking to stop the hunt and repeal a law requiring it.