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Senate panel approves moratorium on wolf hunt

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A Minnesota Senate committee approved a bill that would restore a five-year moratorium on sport hunting and trapping of wolves, MPR reports.

The measure passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee in a 7-6 vote.

Lawmakers lifted the moratorium when they authorized the first-ever state managed wolf hunt last year shortly after wolves came off the list for federal protection.

"I have nothing against hunting. My concern is for the survival of the wolf. I believe that when you put these kind of resources into protecting a species that it doesn't make sense to automatically start a recreational hunt once they are delisted," the bill's sponsor Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, said.

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

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and wolf biologists have said the hunt helps manage the population and has no impact on the long-term viability of wolves in the state.

The bill now goes to a Senate environment budget committee, one of several the bill will need to pass before it receives a full Senate vote. The Associated Press says no hearing has been scheduled for a similar bill in the House.

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