Wolf population stable, more hunting licenses available this year


A stable wolf population prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to loosen wolf hunting restrictions.

The DNR said in a news release Thursday its latest population survey shows that 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota's wolf range this past winter, which is 212 more wolves than estimated on a survey conducted in the winter of 2013. Because of that, more wolf licenses will be issued, and hunters and trappers will be allowed to kill more wolves compared to last season.

“Estimates show a stable population with no significant change from the 2013 estimate of 2,211 wolves,” Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist, said in the release. “We will continue to evaluate the wolf population annually to ensure the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota.”

Because of the stable population, the DNR is making 3,800 licenses available this year, which is 500 more than last year. This year's statewide harvest of wolves is 250, which is 30 more wolves than 2013, the release says.

It was estimated there were fewer than 750 wolves in Minnesota in the 1950s, but Minnesota's wolf population has since recovered (see map at left). By managing the wolf population, the DNR says it hopes to ensure longterm survival of wolves in the state, and address conflicts between wolves and humans.

This will be Minnesota's third wolf hunting season since the animals came off the endangered list. Opponents of wolf hunting and trapping have been unsuccessful in recent years in trying to enact legislation that would suspend the state's wolf hunting seasons.

Starting Aug. 1, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,300 early-season and 1,500 late-season licenses. The deadline to apply for the license lottery is Sept. 4.

The 2014 early wolf season begins Nov. 8, and goes through mid-November, the specific end date depending on the area of the state. Late-season hunting goes from Nov. 29 through the end of January, or until the target harvest is met in each zone. The late season for trapping runs from Nov. 29 through Jan. 31, or when the target harvest is met in each zone.

The DNR took a conservative approach when announcing its deer hunting regulations earlier this week. In 95 percent of Minnesota, hunters will be allowed to take only one deer. In some places only bucks, not does, may be killed.

The Duluth News Tribune reports this is the first year since 1997 a widespread bucks-only regulation is in place.

Deer hunting licenses go on sale Aug. 1.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 7.54.49 AM

Minnesotans arrested after 100 mph police chase in Nebraska

The pair were arrested for driving and drug offenses.

orono high school

Swastika painted on rock at Orono High School

The rock was repainted "within minutes," the superintendent said.

covid, vaccine

Walz: COVID-19 vaccines for young teens expected to open this week

Gov. Walz said parents should be able to make appointments for their kids later this week.

Both Gach

Report: Both Gach becomes 10th Gopher to enter transfer portal

Head coach Ben Johnson will have an entirely new roster next season.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID vaccine for young teens

None of the trial participants that received the vaccine were diagnosed with the virus.

flickr - shopping basket covid

Secret shoppers rate the most COVID-safe stores

Two of Minnesota's largest companies topped the list.

Minneapolis police

Woman found shot dead in Minneapolis parking ramp identified

Police have arrested two suspects in connection with the incident.

ambulance, crash

Victims of triple-fatal Maple Grove crash ID'd as woman, 2 toddlers

The single-vehicle crash happened just before 7 a.m. Saturday, May 8.

Ray McNeary

Charges: St. Cloud bank robber wanted to 'go viral,' become 'a martyr'

Police were in a standoff with him at the Wells Fargo bank for more than 8 hours.

MSU-Mankato hockey, Minnesota State, Mavericks

Minnesota State to host St. Thomas at Hockey Day Minnesota 2022

The newly-formed CCHA will have a marquee matchup in its inaugural season

rocky taconite-silver bay

Six of the weirdest roadside attractions in Minnesota

From a two-story outhouse to a squad car's crash with a UFO, here's a list of some of the state's weirdest attractions.

boys volleyball

MSHSL to vote on adding girls wrestling, boys volleyball tournaments

A two-thirds majority vote is needed to pass the proposals.