DNR releases proposal for inaugural wolf season

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released its proposal today for an inaugural gray wolf hunting and trapping season this fall, and it calls for a conservative harvest quota of 400 animals.

Wolf research indicates Minnesota’s wolf population could sustain a higher quota, but DNR officials say they are taking a measured approach to the state’s first season.

The proposal sets a quota of 6,000 licenses that will be allocated through a lottery system. Only one license will be allowed per hunter or trapper. Hunting would be allowed with firearms, archery equipment and muzzleloaders. Calls and bait would be allowed with restrictions.

The season is proposed for the end of November and would be closed once the quota is met. Hunters would be required to register animals on the same day they are harvested and data would be collected from carcasses. Other states with harvest seasons for wolves and other big game animals similarly monitor seasons and close them when quotas are met.

North Dakota takes a similar approach with its mountain lion season.

The DNR will outline its proposals to the Legislature on Thursday before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee.

There’ll also be a meeting about the wolf plan at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night in Roseau, Minn., in the high school auditorium.

While the legislatively approved wolf management plan authorizes hunting and trapping seasons, the agency is seeking additional authorization from the state Legislature this session to offer a wolf license and implement other management strategies. Legislators will have to pass a bill by the end of the session and the governor will have to sign it in order for a season to be held.

The DNR will also take public comments prior to finalizing and implementing a wolf season.

For a closer look at the upcoming wolf season, check out Sunday’s Herald outdoors pages.

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