‘Too many timber wolves’

Ron Larson of Roseau, Minn., sent me a couple of trail camera photos that I thought were worth sharing.

Whitetail buck captured on a trail camera northwest of Wannaska, Minn.

The first shows a dandy whitetail buck that showed up on one of Larson’s trail cameras earlier this fall on his hunting land northwest of Wannaska, Minn., and the second image is a timber wolf the camera photographed a few nights later.

“After the wolf picture, we had very few deer pictures registered on our trail camera, but several more wolf pictures,” Larson writes.

Gray wolf photographed on the same trail camera a few nights later.

“We feel this is the reason that the hunting success was down this year — too many timber wolves.”

Larson’s viewpoint is a familiar one in deer camps across the North Country this fall.

John Myers of sister paper, the Duluth News Tribune, reported in August that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had reopened public comments on a plan to remove wolves from endangered species protection in the Great Lakes region, which includes Minnesota.

In Myers’ story, Georgia Parham, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency hoped to issue a new rule and delist wolves from federal protection by the end of the year.

Once that happens, wolf management will return to the state. The feds twice have proposed removing wolves from federal protection only to have the action challenged in court. The same could happen this time around.

By the numbers, at least, there’s no reason to keep wolves on the federally protected list. Recovery guidelines called for a minimum population of 1,400 wolves in Minnesota, and recent estimates put the population at 3,200.

Bottom line: Stay tuned. There could — and should — be something to report before year’s end.