Minn. appeals court dismisses petition to undo wolf hunt

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Two groups that have been leading the campaign against Minnesota's wolf hunting season lost another battle in court Tuesday.

Minnesota's Court of Appeals dismissed a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves that aims to undo rules that allowed for the state's wolf hunting and trapping season, the Associated Press reports.

The judges claimed the groups lacked sufficient legal standing to challenge the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' rules.

State lawmakers authorized the first-ever state managed wolf hunt last year shortly after wolves came off the list for federal protection.

The DNR and wolf biologists have maintained that the hunt helps manage the population and has no impact on the long-term viability of wolves in the state.

Hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves during the season and another 298 were killed for predator control.

There was a little push by local lawmakers to reinstate a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting during the most recent legislative session, but the bill never made it farther than committee approval.

In February, The Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, that aims to restore protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals will not block Minnesota's wolf hunt scheduled for Nov. 3. The three-judge panel said The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves failed to show that the season would cause irreparable harm. About 6,000 hunters will receive permits for the first ever organized wolf hunt in the state. Experts say wolves are much smarter than deer or ducks and it's unlikely Minnesota will reach their target harvest of 400 wolves.

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