Minnesota hunters have killed at least 110 wolves in the first eight days of the state's highly controversial wolf hunt, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The statewide quota for the early hunting season is 200 wolves, which runs through Nov. 18 or until hunters reach the limit.
Two groups against the upcoming wolf hunt in Minnesota, Duluth-based Northwoods Wolf Alliance and Twin Cities-based Howling for Wolves, organized an event dubbed the "Wolf Walk" in Duluth on Saturday, the WDIO reports. Minnesota's first wolf hunt in nearly 40 years is set to begin on Nov. 3rd.
The Game and Fish bill signed into law Thursday allows Minnesotans to legally hunt and trap wolves for the first time in nearly four decades. The legislation gives the DNR authority to set harvest limits and conduct a hunter lottery. About 3,000 wolves live in Minnesota right now and the agency plans to reduce the population by about 400 this fall. The gray wolf was removed from the Federal Endangered Species List in January.
Duluth DFLer Kerry Gauthier says Ojibwe tribes could be gearing up for a legal challenge over the state's proposed wolf hunting season, though the bill's sponsor, Republican Tom Hackbarth, says no tribal members have come forward to testify despite the bill's wide publicity.
Scientists say one of the world's most closely studied predator populations might vanish within a few years. The Associated Press says a streak of bad luck has left only nine wolves on the island in western Lake Superior. Scientists blame a shortage of females, inbreeding, disease and starvation caused by the decline in moose populations.
Ojibwe in the Great Lakes states oppose a movement to hunt an animal that many see as a sacred creature and a "brother to Original man." And those objections are no trivial matter, the New York Times writes. The tribes have rights to much of the land where the wolves live.
A Senate committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to pass along a bill to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. But opponents are letting lawmakers know not everyone favors the plan. Some people fear it could drive wolves into new territory, while wildlife watchers worry it will hinder their hobby.
One disagreement involves the timing of a wolf hunting season. The DNR thinks it should come after the firearms deer season has ended. But bills in the Legislature would have the seasons run concurrently. Next fall's hunt will be the first since the gray wolf came off the Endangered Species List.
Minnesota takes over management of its 3,000 gray wolves from the federal government on Friday. The DNR suggests a lottery system to award wolf hunting licenses.
Gray wolves will have more protection in northern Minnesota, which is their core habitat. The DNR says livestock and pet owners will be able to protect their animals under the new system. The state takes over wolf management from the federal government next week.
The DNR says it's considering a limited hunting and trapping season this year. The agency says it's trying to ensure the species' long-term survival while also addressing conflicts between wolves and humans. The announcement comes shortly after the federal government said it will remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.
The state DNR is about to take over management of the gray wolf again after the federal government takes the animal off the endangered species list. Officials are still working out the details, but they say a hunting and trapping season could start up as early as fall and would likely involve a lottery system. They would take public comments before launching the season.
The Obama administration on Wednesday said that more than 4,000 gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan have recovered from the threat of extinction and will officially be removed from federal protection. Meanwhile the Minnesota DNR says it is ready to take over managing the animal. And the Associated Press looks into the wolf's still-uncertain future.