Almost 150 wolves had been killed by Minnesota hunters as the early portion of Minnesota's first-ever regulated wolf hunt closed Sunday night, the state Department of Natural Resources reported.
The DNR had set a limit of 200 wolves that could be killed during the first portion of a two-part season.
At 10 p.m., the deadline for registering the final day's kills, state hunters had reported 147 wolves killed in three zones statewide, according to the DNR website.
The hunt outraged wolf activists, who argue the DNR was overzealous in allowing hunting just months after the wolf was taken off the federal endangered-species list this year.
The hunt was closed Nov. 5 in the east-central zone because eight wolves had been killed there, close to a limit of nine set for that area.
In the northeast zone, 61 wolves were killed, above a quota of 58. DNR officials had said earlier the targets for each zone were approximations, and they weren't concerned if the final counts were a little below or above the target.
The third zone is in the northwest part of the state, where 78 wolves were reported taken; the quota there was 133.
Minnesota hunters killed 119 wolves in the first 10 days of the season, which opened Nov. 3.
The DNR issued 3,600 permits for the early wolf-hunting season and 2,400 permits for a late season that will be open to both trappers and hunters and run from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31. Because fewer than 200 wolves were killed during the first season, the second season's limit will be increased by the deficit number, but the total kill can't exceed 400 for both seasons.
DNR wolf specialist Dan Stark correctly predicted that the early season's hunters would not reach the 200-wolf limit because most deer hunters were done for the season and fewer hunters were expected to be out.
"Most [people] who are hunting wolves in the early season are doing it while deer hunting," Stark said earlier this month. "People take time off of work, and the majority of deer hunters are out the first two or three days of the season. After that, the numbers fall down."
Heron Marquez • 952-746-3281