Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Minnesota wolf hunt: DNR nearly halves kill limit

By Dave Orrick
Posted:   07/29/2013

As for the reduction leading into this season, Stark said: "The changes are a management response to the most recent wolf population estimate. As with other game species DNR manages, adjustments are made to regulate hunting pressure and harvest to ensure long-term population sustainability and provide hunting and trapping opportunities." 

The season remains controversial and has been the subject of multiple failed attempts to stop it in court, similar to open seasons in Wisconsin and Michigan. A lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's removal of Great Lakes wolves from the endangered species list is pending in federal court. 

"There is no reason to hunt these top predators that are crucial to the health of our northwoods ecosystem," said Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves, a group opposed to the hunting season. "We urge all Minnesotans that value the wolf to ask Governor Dayton and their state lawmakers to intervene and stop this hunt." 

By state law, wolf hunting begins on the same day as the deer firearms opener -- Minnesota's most popular hunting day of the year. This year, that day is Saturday, Nov. 9, and hunting continues through Nov. 24. A second wolf season, which includes hunting and trapping, runs from Nov. 30 through Jan. 31. The wolf season is broken into three zones, with a different kill limit. When a kill limit is met in a zone, hunting and trapping are halted. 

As a result of the lower quota, fewer wolf licenses will be available this year as well.
Starting Thursday, Aug. 1, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,000 early-season licenses and 1,300 late-season licenses. That's down from 3,600 early-season and 2,400 late-season licenses in 2012. The deadline to apply for the hunting and trapping license lottery is Thursday, Sept. 5. 

For more details, go to blogs.twincities.com/outdoors