The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that the state's wolf hunt will resume this fall after a survey showed the animal's population exceeds the state's minimum goal.
According to results released Tuesday, there were an estimated 2,211 wolves in the state last winter, down 710 wolves from a 2008 count. The DNR says the number still exceeds Minnesota's minimum goal of 1,600 wolves and is also above the federal recovery goal range of 1,251 to 1,400.
“Results from the 2013 wolf survey continue to demonstrate that Minnesota’s wolf population is fully recovered from its once threatened status and the population is responding naturally to the availability of deer, wolves’ primary food source,” Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist, said in a news release.
Experts attribute the decline to reduced deer density and the state's first state-managed wolf season, in which hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves.
The DNR intents on putting in place another wolf season in fall and winter 2013. Stark tells MPR that the new numbers likely mean fewer wolves will be allowed to be hunted during the upcoming season. More details should be available in late July.
Over the next few years, the DNR says it will closely monitor the population's response to the wolf hunt.