Revised rules on wolf hunting, trapping in Minnesota announced
St. Paul, MN, United States (4E Sports) – The wolf hunting and trapping season will run 25 days longer than previously announced, according to the revised rules released by the state of Minnesota Thursday.
“We changed the closing date for the late season from Jan. 6, 2013, to Jan. 31,” said Steve Merchant, Department of Natural Resources wildlife program manager.
Aside from this, Minnesota has tightened harvest registration requirements and the state will be broken into three hunting zones.
“We also tightened the wolf harvest registration requirement so we can more quickly close a zone based on harvest results,” said Merchant, who added that changes were made after DNR received some inputs from stakeholders in May.
The wolf hunt will start Nov. 3 with target harvest of 400. The early wolf season will last up to nine days in the 200-series deer permit areas and up to 16 days in the 100-series deer permit areas.
The late season, which also allows trapping for those with a wolf trapping license, will begin Nov. 24 statewide and will last until Jan. 31, 2013. Target harvests are 265 in the northwest zone, 117 in the northeast zone and 18 in the east-central zone.
Merchant said the wolf range has been divided into three zones for the purposes of harvest targets, registration and season closure.
The northeast zone and the east-central zone closely parallel the 1854 and 1837 treaty ceded territory boundaries. The DNR said these zones will allow the state to allocate and manage wolf harvest in consultation with Indian bands that have court-affirmed off-reservation hunting rights.
“The northwest zone will be the other area open to wolf hunting. Only that portion of Minnesota where rifles are legal for deer hunting will be open for taking wolves,” Merchant said.
The state’s new rules are consistent with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of wolves, and addressing wolf and human conflicts. Minnesota’s wolf population is estimated at 3,000.
The duty of protecting wolves was transferred from the federal government to the state under the Endangered Species Act. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton also signed a bill providing additional direction and authorities for conducting a wolf season.
Before finalizing the rules, Merchant said the state has solicited insights and input on specific management option, receiving 7,351 online survey responses.
“Of those who approved of the season, 82 percent of survey respondents said they supported the DNR’s proposed season structure and implementation of a limited fall hunt,” said Merchant. “That suggested our proposal was generally in line with hunter and trapper expectations.”
A total of 6,000 licenses will be offered, with 3,600 available in the early season and 2,400 in the late season, Merchant said.