Minnesota slashes wolf harvest for 2013 nearly in half

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 29, 2013 - 10:47 PM

The ongoing feud over wolf management erupted anew following the DNR’s announcement Monday.


A survey last winter estimated the state’s wolf population at 2,211 — a 24 percent decline from 2008.

Photo: Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger


The number of wolves hunters can kill in Minnesota this fall will be slashed nearly in half, from 400 a year ago to 220, the Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

And only 3,300 hunters and trappers will be given permits this year to kill wolves, down from 6,000.

The cutbacks follow a survey last winter that estimated the state’s wolf population at 2,211 — a 24 percent decline from 2008, but a figure that doesn’t include this year’s surviving pups.

The announcement renewed a contentious debate in a dispute that has simmered in Minnesota for decades, since before the wolf was protected by the federal Endangered Species Act in 1974. The controversy peaked last fall with the first managed hunting and trapping season.

DNR wolf expert Dan Stark said his agency isn’t worried about the state’s wolves. “We’re continuing to be conservative in our approach,’’ he said.

However, those on both sides of the issue expressed outrage Monday over the DNR’s changes to this year’s hunt.

Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves, said Minnesota wolves “quite possibly are on their way down,’’ and that hunting and trapping threaten their population. “A random hunt that kills wolves for pleasure might dramatically reduce the ability of wolves to reproduce themselves,’’ she said.

But Mark Johnson, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association executive director, saw it differently.

“It looks like the DNR bowed to pressure from the anti-hunting groups,’’ he said. “I’m skeptical why they cut the harvest quota 45 percent, yet the population survey showed only a 24 percent decline in wolves.’’

Added Julian Brzoznowski of Orr, Minn., a retired cattleman whose livestock operation was plagued for many years by wolves: “Cutting the hunters’ wolf quota is crazy. Wolves are still everywhere up here. The hunters took a few out, but the pups will replace those animals real quick.’’

Stark said the DNR’s goal is to protect the state’s wolves while also providing hunting and trapping opportunities. He said the wolf population — the largest in the Lower 48 states — remains healthy and well above the 1,600 minimum goal established in the state’s wolf management plan.

“We’re just allowing the taking of wolves through hunting and trapping in a way we think is sustainable and not going have a major influence on overall wolf numbers,’’ he said.

Stark said officials believe the wolf population fell from 2008 because of a 25 percent decline in the deer population and a mild winter in 2011-12 made it difficult for wolves to catch deer, their main prey. Last winter was more severe, and he expects wolves did well.

“We could have a higher population than last year,’’ he said. Officials will radio-­collar more wolves this winter to try to determine population changes. The comprehensive winter population survey is done every five years.

On the plus side, livestock depredations caused by wolves are down significantly this year, as are the number of problem wolves killed so far by federal and state trappers. As of last week, about 20 wolves had been killed, compared with about 200 at this time last year. Nearly 300 problem wolves eventually were killed last year, and Stark said the removal of those animals from farms — and not the wolf hunting and trapping season — likely explains the decline in complaints this year.

Also, he said there’s a correlation between mild winters, when wolves have trouble getting food, and livestock depredations the following spring. Last winter’s severity likely enabled wolves to eat well, reducing their need to prey on livestock.

Hunters and trappers can apply for the licenses beginning Thursday. Successful applicants will be selected in a lottery. The deadline to apply is Sept. 5.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Baltimore 4
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland 1 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Minnesota 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Kansas City 3
Texas 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Houston 0
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 4th Qtr 2:28
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 4th Qtr 0:52
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 4th Qtr 8:14
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 4th Qtr 2:44
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 4th Qtr 2:45
Miami 14
Carolina 10 4th Qtr 12:29
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 4th Qtr
NY Giants 10
Washington 17 4th Qtr 12:21
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 16 3rd Qtr 9:22
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 3rd Qtr 11:15
Cleveland 17
Denver 17 3rd Qtr 10:35
Dallas 3
Minnesota 16 3rd Qtr 6:27
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 17 3rd Qtr 9:04
Houston 6
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 4th Qtr 9:24
ULM 10
Boise State 3 3rd Qtr 15:00
(18) Ole Miss 7
Tulane 21 3rd Qtr
Tulsa 14
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Temple 9:13 PM
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do in their football opener?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters