Howling about wolves

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association on Friday sent a notice to its members taking exception with the actions of the environmental group Howling for Wolves, which has suddenly shown up on the scene in an attempt to stop the wolf hunting and trapping season set to begin this fall in Minnesota.

The group Howling for Wolves posted this photo on its website showing one of the billboards it is running in the Twin Cities metro area.

According to Dave Orrick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the group has issued a Data Practices Act request, “asking for all communications between the Department of Natural Resources and lawmakers and others, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.”

Here, verbatim, is the MDHA’s response:

“So who benefits? Wolves, citizens, or the bank accounts of the anti-hunting organization Howling for Wolves?

“Pro-wolf, anti-hunting interests are using legal channels in an attempt to stop the wolf hunting & trapping seasons. Where were these folks during the legislative session when the wolf season was being publicly discussed? What is their interest? Where is their money coming from? Why are they attempting to cause DNR so much grief and expense? The answer is money! Fighting to keep the wolf fully and forever protected from hunting and harvest means big money from donations. Forget the science or management, these folks are only focusing upon money to forward their cause! Help MDHA fight them by contacting your legislators for legislative action this winter. With the election pending, make sure your local candidates support wolf management via hunting and trapping.

“Howling for Wolves was absent during the months of public testimony at the Mn Legislature and still appears clueless of the facts. Vertually (sic) every leading wolf researcher, scientist and manager agrees that Minnesota’s wolf population will not be in jeopardy from the hunting and trapping seasons proposed. 6,000 licenses will be sold this fall, but only a maximum harvest of 400 wolves will be allowed. Due to the incredible difficulty involved in hunting wolves, estimates are that hunters and trappers will be lucky to harvest half of the quota. Additionally, Howling’s contention that DNR abdicated their legal responsiblities by proposing a hunt less than 5 years after delisting is bunk. Wolves were first delisted in MN/WI/MI in 2007 and remained so for 18 months.

“After being relisted due to a legal technicality they were delisted again in 2009, then relisted again due to another legal technicality. The MN Legislature reviewed the facts and passed a law in 2011 recinding the 5 year requirement. the view was that since the first delisting was in 2007, 5 years would be done if wolves were finally delisted in 2012 or thereafter, ie. “time served.” Wolves were never extirpated from Minnesota. We have always had the largest wolf population of any of the lower 48 states. Even when listed as endangered in 1974, MN still had several hundred in the wolf range of NE MN. Today, the conservative estimate is 3,000. The wolf season is not designed to “wipe out” wolves. To the contrary, it is a management tool to ensure a healthy future for wolves in MN and it is approved by the Federal Government. USFWS is mandated to monitor MN’s wolf management for 5 years after delisting to ensure that wolf numbers do not fall below designated thresholds. Wolves are here to stay. The wolf season will not endanger nor extirpate them. Trust the science, not the emotional rants of Howling.”

To read Orrick’s blog post about Howling for Wolves’ actions, click here:

Check out the Howling for Wolves website here:

 

2 thoughts on “Howling about wolves

  1. This is comical coming from Mark Johnson and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association who used their lobby influence behind closed doors with the DNR to push for the wolf hunt in Minnesota, even though offering a season is contradictory to the Wolf Management Plan developed by the DNR and almost 80% of DNR survey respondents, including hunters, oppose the wolf hunt. There is no “science” behind this public take, how can there be when a comprehensive count of our wolves hasn’t even been done since 2007-2008?

    The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association does not represent the majority of deer hunters in our state, they are a fringe lobbying group funded by big business like off-road recreation vehicle manufacturers Polaris and Arctic Cat, and extractive industry like Potlatch and Boise. Big business wants access to wolf habitat so they can exploit it and they are using groups like the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to push forward their exploitative agenda. Deer hunters – do you really think it’s funny that big business is doing this type of trading with your reputations? I would suggest that all deer hunters take notice and speak out against the MDHA, who are clearly not representing the actual interests of deer hunters in our state, nor those that depend on a thriving deer hunting industry to earn a living.

    I am against the wolf hunting and trapping season because of the destructive impact it will have on our valued native and iconic Minnesota wolf population, and the threat it represents to our deer population. The random killing of wolves via a public take is certainly not good for wolves and it’s not good for deer either. A healthy wolf population plays a crucial role of supporting a healthy deer population because wolves help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. New evidence also shows that wolves help control Lyme Disease. All the deer hunters out there should be very concerned about the ill-advised MN DNR plan to shoot and trap wolves this fall and should question why the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is so interested in killing wolves when it will have such negative consequences for the deer population. The deer population in Minnesota is out of control, yet the MN DNR and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association are more concerned with killing wolves, it just doesn’t make any sense. Last year the deer population in Minnesota were responsible for almost $150 million in agricultural, forestry, garden and landscape damage. Insurance companies reported more than 3,100 deer and vehicle collisions, with an average repair cost of $3,100 – this adds up to almost $10 million dollars in additional deer related costs to our state and this doesn’t even include the cost of medical expenses for people injured in these accidents. On the other hand, approximately $130,000 was paid out to farmers and ranchers for wolf depredation claims and another $275,000 or so was spent on predator control trapping of wolves.

    While the MN DNR has the legal authority, provided by the state legislature, to offer an open season on wolves, they are not under any legal obligation to do so. Yet they continue to act as if the season is legally mandated. The Minnesota Statute that provides the MN DNR the option to have a wolf hunt actually states “…the commissioner may prescribe open seasons…”, but there is no requirement that it must happen. MN DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr has the legal authority to stop the season. In light of the clear public disapproval for their plans, and an overwhelming lack of scientific or biological justification for a public take of wolves in Minnesota, Commissioner Landwehr has a responsibility to all Minnesotans to protect a valued public resource by stopping the hunt.

    The fact of the matter is that wolves are more valuable to us all alive. The Minnesota DNR states in their own Wolf Management Plan that “Wolves in Minnesota are a keystone ecotourism species, drawing tourists from around the world to come to view wolf tracks, scats, and kill sites, and to hear wild wolves howl.” According to the Minnesota DNR website, wildlife viewing is a 400 million dollar per year sustainable industry in Minnesota and wildlife enthusiasts outnumber hunters 4:1.

    If I were a deer hunter or someone who earns a living off of the sizable deer hunting industry in Minnesota, I would be very concerned with the MDHA push for a wolf hunt, because it won’t be good for deer or those that depend economically on a thriving deer hunting industry.

    • I find it very interesting to read comments by folks like Mr. Sullivan who want wolves “preserved” and not managed via hunting or trapping. The argument that public harvest (“a hunt”) is contradictory to DNR’s wolf management plan is incorrect. Read the plan (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/animals/mammals/wolves/wolfplan.pdf). Public input and debate was where MDHA’s involvement was, in front of Legislative Committees, public meetings and in the press. Anti wolf hunt activists like Mr. Sullivan refuse to acknowledge this because they did not and still do not have the science on their side. They claim wolf harvest will hurt the wolf population, but wolf researchers and biologists contest otherwise. As renowned wolf researcher Dave Mech give his testimony in front of a legislative committee (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/wolves/mech_testimony.html).
      I think the crux of the matter is not whether or not MN’s wolf population can withstand hunting & trapping. I think it is simply a matter of two diametrically opposed philosophies. On the one side we see people whose perspective is that hunting and trapping are somehow wrong and should not be allowed. On the other side we have the North American model of wildlife management that says we manage populations of wildlife for the public good and for the good of the wildlife. Within this management model we view wildlife as a renewable resource that can be utilized to provide opportunity for pursuit, enjoyment and also revenue to pay for its management. This model also employs stop-gaps to make sure tolerances are considered and species are protected from threat of extirpation and extinction. In essence, the NA model strives and succeeds in sustaining wildlife species and habitats through sound science and active management. Simultaneously, it allows us to pay for management through license fees and to enjoy them in multiple ways including hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering, and yes…watching. Management costs money and this includes wolf management (about $500,000 per year or more). Public harvest is a way to recoup those management costs from willing participants.
      Minnesota’s wolves are a renewable resource as well as an iconic species. Neither I nor MDHA nor most anyone else wants to see them disappear. That is why we are encouraging proper management by DNR, that has been approved by the Federal Government, that includes public harvest through hunting and trapping. There is and have been no “closed doors” secret deals or negotiations. The wolf has recovered within the Great Lakes region, has been delisted from the ESA and is now ready to be managed. Let’s celebrate this success and welcome a bright future for MN’s wolf population; a future that includes management.

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