Federal plans to lift wolf protections would trigger hunt

FILE - This June 30, 2017 remote camera image released by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and her mate with a pup born in 2017 in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. U.S. wildlife officials plan to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, re-igniting the legal battle over a predator that's run into conflicts with farmers and ranchers after rebounding in some regions, an official told The Associated Press, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (U.S. Forest Service via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Lifting protections for gray wolves across most of the country would force Wisconsin wildlife officials to re-start wolf hunts.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose lifting protections for wolves across the Lower 48 states.

Then-Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, signed a bill in 2012 that requires the Department of Natural Resources to hold a wolf hunt. The agency held three hunts before a federal judge placed Great Lakes Wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014. The law remains valid, which means the DNR would have to reinstate the season if protections are lifted. Wildlife advocates have promised to challenge in court any attempt to lift protections.

The DNR estimated as many as 944 wolves roamed the state last winter.

US plans end to wolf protections; critics say it’s premature