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Wisconsin wildlife officials are providing some clarity on how the reinstated federal protections for gray wolves impacts hunters and residents in the state.

The Wisconsin DNR said Friday a judge's decision to return the wolves to the endangered species list has a clear impact on wolf hunts in the state: They can't happen. 

Wisconsin "is not authorized to implement a wolf harvest season," the DNR said. The agency is now trying to figure out how this impacts hunters and trappers who bought licenses for the fall 2021 wolf hunting season. (That hunt never actually took place because of a circuit court ruling in October.)

While the Wisconsin DNR is reviewing this week's change to determine how it impacts the state's management plan, the agency said some implications are immediately clear.

Related: Wolf exhibits 'extremely abnormal' behavior, approaches MN snowmobilers

For one, permits issued to landowners that allowed for lethal removal of wolves "are no longer valid." The DNR will reach out to permit holders about that. 

Dog hunters cannot train dogs to track and trail wolves, nor can dog hunters pursue wolves for training purposes. 

And DNR also cannot use "lethal control" as part of its "conflict management program."

Anyone that believes a wolf is killing livestock, pets or hunting dogs, or sees a wolf "exhibiting threatening or dangerous behavior," should call USDA-Wildlife Services staff immediately, the DNR said.

Wisconsin faced heavy criticism last year for decisions related to wolf hunts. Wildlife officials allowed a wolf hunt in early 2021, during which hunters killed 218 wolves in three days — greatly exceeding the 119-wolf quota. Then, the DNR's policy board set a quota of 300 wolves for a fall hunt, going against suggestions of 130 wolves. 

The DNR ultimately went with 130, but a lawsuit brought by wildlife advocacy groups halted that proposed hunt a couple of weeks before it was set to start.

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