Saturday, October 27, 2012

State high court refuses to halt wolf hunt

  • Updated: October 26, 2012 
White Earth tribe declared its reservation a wolf sanctuary.

This image provided by Yellowstone National Park, Mont., shows a gray wolf in the wild. Hunters will be able to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves in Montana this fall under rules adopted Thursday July 1 

The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the latest effort to block a wolf hunting season that is scheduled to open Nov. 3.

Without comment, the court denied an emergency motion by the Center for Biological Diversity and the group Howling for Wolves to stop the wolf hunting and trapping seasons -- Minnesota's first since the region's wolves came off the federal endangered species list last January. The order was signed by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea.

The two wildlife groups argued that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) failed to follow proper procedures for taking public comments before issuing regulations for the upcoming seasons. DNR officials disputed that.

Collette Adkins Giese, the attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said she was disappointed by the decision.

But, she noted, the underlying case will still be heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals next year. "The question has not been answered on whether the hunt is illegal because of rule-making violations," she said.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr praised the ruling, saying it resolves uncertainty over the hunt.
The DNR plans to let hunters and trappers kill 400 wolves out of a population estimated at 3,000.
Also Friday, the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council said it has issued a proclamation providing that all lands within the boundaries of the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota be set aside as a wolf sanctuary.

No hunting, trapping or possession of wolves will be permitted within the boundaries by any person, Indian or non-Indian, the council said.

Of 3,600 wolf permits the DNR had made available to hunters, 614 remain unsold, the agency said on Friday. The surplus permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon Monday to hunters who applied for, but did not receive, a first-season wolf permit.

Any leftover permits will be available to other hunters beginning at noon on Nov. 1, whether or not they entered the state's application lottery.

The DNR allocated a total of 6,000 wolf licenses for the fall and late-season hunts. The remaining 2,400 licenses are for the late season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 24, and ends Thursday, Jan. 31.
Trapping is legal in the late season.