Aug 10, 2012 at 8:37 am
ST. PAUL, MN (KNSI) - Minnesota's first-ever regulated wolf hunting and trapping season opens in Novmeber. The application period for licenses opened this week.
The D-N-R's Dan Stark says they expect about 400 wolves to be taken, but as with any big game, hunters need to know exactly what their target is.
"For the most part people should be able to distinguish a wolf from other species. You know we have coyotes in Minnesota, but they are not a protected animal in the state so they can be taken by hunting or trapping throughout the year," Stark said.
There is one animal that may find its way into traps, and land a hunter in hot water.
"The one thing I would caution people about are lynx, in northeastern Minnesota." Stark said. "So if you are trapping or hunting in that area there are certainly some requirements that trappers will have for avoiding incidental take of lynx."
Yesterday, a group called Howling for Wolves rallied at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul, calling for the D-N-R to stop this year's hunt. Spokeswoman Maureen Hackett says the wolf population is growing, but is still vulnerable. Minnesota's wolf population is estimated to be around three-thousand.
Meanwhile Stark said the state population of wolves is exceeds the number needed to open up to hunting and trapping.
"Well I think people are excited, it is a unique opportunity," Stark said. "We have the largest wolf population in the lower 48 states. And it is well beyond the recovery goals that were established for wolves to be removed from the endangered species list and it has been more than 10 years since we started planning for state wolf management."
The early wolf hunting season begins November 3rd, and a second hunting and trapping season begins November 24th. The bag limit is one wolf per hunter or trapper. Stark says the D-N-R expects about 400 wolves to be taken.