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Leftover Minnesota wolf hunting licenses attract little interest

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Demand for leftover licenses from Minnesota's early-season wolf hunt is on the low side, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The licenses went on sale at noon on Wednesday, but demand was reportedly so light that the one shop selling them called hunters to let them know that the permits were still available.

An official with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tells the News Tribune that the permits were available because 410 licenses from the early season lottery for 3,300 licenses went unclaimed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 84 of those 410 remained for sale, Steve Michaels says.

DNR officials believe the rest of the unclaimed licenses will be sold by Friday.

The early season wolf hunt begins Saturday and runs through Nov. 24.

DNR large carnivore specialist Dan Stark says one of the reasons the licenses aren't selling is because hunters and trappers aren't aware of the availability.

Approximately 13,000 hunters applied for the 3,300 early-season licenses, the DNR says.

Minnesota Public Radio says the second year of the state's wolf hunt hasn't stopped animal rights advocates from protesting.

Last month, about 70 people gathered in Duluth to protest the wolf hunt, including some Ojibwe tribal members. For many of the Ojibwe, killing a wolf is unthinkable, MPR says.

Advocates also organized a protest at Target Center during the Minnesota Timberwolves' season opener.

The group Howling For Wolves paid $2,000 to be designated as the Timberwolves' "nonprofit of the game" Oct. 30, and activists sat in special sections. The anti-hunt protesters also arranged for a 30-second public service announcement to play in the arena to urge fans to sign a petition to stop the wolf hunting season.

Cloquet native Jessica Lange also entered the debate in September, when the Oscar-winning actress urged Gov. Mark Dayton in an open letter to stop the wolf hunt.

The quota for this year’s wolf hunt is 220 kills, down from about 400 last year. The DNR lowered the quota after a wolf population survey in the spring.

DNR officials say the wolf population dropped about 25 percent to an estimated 2,211 wolves in the state.

Meanwhile, licenses for the late-season wolf hunt will go on sale at noon on Nov. 27. The late-season hunt begins Nov. 30.

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