Computer error causes confusion in still-open wolf season
January 1, 2013 — 1:19pm
Wolf hunting and trapping season in Minnesota is still open, despite a Department of Natural Resources web site that indicated the season might be over.
Matt Steffen of the Twin Cities was among trappers who pulled up the DNR site New Year's Day morning, as required, before heading into the northern Minnesota woods to check his snare.
Instead of indicating how many wolves remained in the DNR's "harvest target'' in the state's Northwest wolf hunting and trapping zone, the site listed "null'' under the "harvest'' category for each of three zones including the Northeast and East-Central.
Thinking the harvest quota of 400 for the year had been reached, he was prepared to head home.
But DNR wolf specialist Dan Stark of Grand Rapids said the special web site the agency established to track the wolf harvest experienced a problem Tuesday morning.
"We've been trying to fix it since about 8 this morning,'' Stark said.
The harvest target for the Northwest Zone is 187 wolves, and as of New Year's Eve, Stark said, 165 had been registered.
"That leaves 22,'' he said.
Trappers and hunters have been registering about eight wolves a day in recent weeks, Stark said, with trappers accounting for the majority of the animals.
At that rate, the season is expected to remain open for at least a few days.
The quota, or harvest target, for the current wolf season, in which trapping and hunting are both allowed, is 253.
Only hunting was allowed in a first season that ran concurrent with firearms deer hunting.
Dennis Anderson has been a Star Tribune outdoors columnist since 1993, before which, for 13 years, he held the same position at the Pioneer Press. He enjoys casting and shooting. Dogs, too, and horses. Also kids and, occasionally, crusading in his column for improved conservation.
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