DNR Announces Wolf Hunting Plan to Lawmakers

By KBJR News 1

January 26, 2012 Updated Jan 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM CDT

(Northland's NewsCenter)---With the management of wolves transferring from the Federal government to Minnesota, the DNR presented a wolf hunting plan to lawmakers Thursday that includes a wolf hunting season plus implements other management strategies.

Minnesota has an estimated population of 3,000 grey wolves.

DNR officials say they are taking an adaptive and scientific approach to the state's first hunting and trapping season.

"When you have a hunting season, you've got several hundred, thousand hunters in the woods all at once," Rich Staffon, Cloquet Area Wildlife Manager said. "You could impact a lot of wolves in a hurry."

Six-thousand licenses will be allocated for the hunt which is expected to begin at the end of November when pelts are prime.

Hunters and trappers are allowed one license and can hunt with firearms, archery equipment or muzzleloaders.

The proposal calls for a conservative harvest quota.

Once 400 wolves are killed in the hunt, the DNR would call off the hunting season immediately.

Based on the data collected during the first season, the DNR plans to adjust the framework of future wolf seasons to best manage the wolf population.

The DNR will also take public comments prior to finalizing a hunt and experts from the International Wolf Center in Ely encourage wide participation.

"We want science to drive wolf management in Minnesota, not politics," Jerritt Johnston, Director of Education at the International Wolf Center said. "We encourage people to visit our website, look for other sources and make their own decisions, whatever side of the issue you decide to come down on."

In order for a hunting season to be held, lawmakers will have to pass a bill by the end of the session with the Governor's approval.

The DNR will take part in a new wolf population survey starting next winter.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch