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Lawmaker warns of court fight over wolf season

Duluth DFLer Kerry Gauthier says Ojibwe tribes could be gearing up for a legal challenge over the state's proposed wolf hunting season, though the bill's sponsor, Republican Tom Hackbarth, says no tribal members have come forward to testify despite the bill's wide publicity.
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Duluth DFLer Kerry Gauthier says Ojibwe tribes could be gearing up for a legal challenge over the state's proposed wolf hunting season, though the bill's sponsor, Republican Tom Hackbarth, says no tribal members have come forward to testify despite the bill's wide publicity.

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Lawmakers, DNR debate specifics of wolf hunting season

One disagreement involves the timing of a wolf hunting season. The DNR thinks it should come after the firearms deer season has ended. But bills in the Legislature would have the seasons run concurrently. Next fall's hunt will be the first since the gray wolf came off the Endangered Species List.

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The DNR says it's considering a limited hunting and trapping season this year. The agency says it's trying to ensure the species' long-term survival while also addressing conflicts between wolves and humans. The announcement comes shortly after the federal government said it will remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

Minnesota might have wolf hunting season as early as fall

The state DNR is about to take over management of the gray wolf again after the federal government takes the animal off the endangered species list. Officials are still working out the details, but they say a hunting and trapping season could start up as early as fall and would likely involve a lottery system. They would take public comments before launching the season.

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Ojibwe in the Great Lakes states oppose a movement to hunt an animal that many see as a sacred creature and a "brother to Original man." And those objections are no trivial matter, the New York Times writes. The tribes have rights to much of the land where the wolves live.

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Minnesota takes over management of its 3,000 gray wolves from the federal government on Friday. The DNR suggests a lottery system to award wolf hunting licenses.

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Two groups against the upcoming wolf hunt in Minnesota, Duluth-based Northwoods Wolf Alliance and Twin Cities-based Howling for Wolves, organized an event dubbed the "Wolf Walk" in Duluth on Saturday, the WDIO reports. Minnesota's first wolf hunt in nearly 40 years is set to begin on Nov. 3rd.

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The Game and Fish bill signed into law Thursday allows Minnesotans to legally hunt and trap wolves for the first time in nearly four decades. The legislation gives the DNR authority to set harvest limits and conduct a hunter lottery. About 3,000 wolves live in Minnesota right now and the agency plans to reduce the population by about 400 this fall. The gray wolf was removed from the Federal Endangered Species List in January.

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A Senate committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to pass along a bill to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. But opponents are letting lawmakers know not everyone favors the plan. Some people fear it could drive wolves into new territory, while wildlife watchers worry it will hinder their hobby.