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DNR cuts Minn. wolf hunt nearly in half

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is dramatically cutting the number of wolves available for harvest for this year's hunt, from 400 to 220.

Last year was the first year that the state allowed a wolf hunt after the animal was removed from an endangered species list. It was the first sanctioned taking of wolves since the 1960s, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Earlier this month, an annual DNR survey found the wolf population fell to an estimated 2,211 wolves in the state last winter, which is down about 25 percent, the News Tribune reported.

State officials do not want the population to dip below 1,600.

The number of wolf hunt licenses offered will drop this year, too. Starting Thursday, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,000 early-season and 1,300 late-season licenses, Northland's Newscenter reported. More than 23,000 had applied for the hunt last year.

“The changes are a management response to the most-recent wolf population estimate,” said Dan Stark, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist, several media reported.

Activists have sought to stop the wolf hunt. Two of the groups lost a court battle in May.

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