OUTDOORS ROUNDUP: Wolf hunters have already snapped up two-thirds of the allowed quota
Wisconsin wolf hunters have snapped up two-thirds of the quota in the first two weeks of what was supposed to be a four-and-a-half month season. The D-N-R said yesterday that 168 wolves were shot-and-trapped since October 15th. Eighty-three more animals can be taken -- and when they're gone, the season's over. As of seven tonight, the wolf hunt will have ended in three of Wisconsin's six management zones where quotas are already being hit. The D-N-R says it will close Zone-One in far northwest Wisconsin, and Zone-Five in central and western areas. Zone-Two in the northeast closed last week. This is the state's second wolf season, and both have been much more successful than expected. Last year, it took two-and-a-half months for hunters to take what was then a statewide quota of 117. This year, hunters took about one-and-a-half times that much in only two weeks. Officials are not sure why -- or if this will be the-new-normal. Zone-One has the highest quota among the six management zones, with 76 available. Seventy-two wolves were shot as of yesterday in Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron, Price, and Sawyer counties. Zone-Five has a quota of 34. Hunters were one short of that mark by yesterday in a region that includes pars of Adams, Juneau, Wood, Clark, Jackson, Monroe, Eau Claire, and Chippewa counties.
For the 13th straight year, Wisconsin baby whooping cranes are flying to Florida to increase the population of the endangered birds in the eastern U-S. The cranes no longer leave in one group from the Necedah refuge, after a risk developed from black flies. So for the second year in a row, the newest cranes left from two locations in southern Wisconsin. The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership said nine young whoopers left the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge late last week, guided by older cranes which have made the trip in the past. On October 2nd, an ultra-light pilot from Operation Migration led eight cranes on their first trip south from the White River Marsh state wildlife area in Green Lake County. They've been stuck for the last five days in Winnebago County Illinois due to unsuitable winds. The partnership says the migration project has resulted in 110 cranes living in the wild. About 600 total cranes exist today, almost 450 in the wild.