The number of hunters applying for a Minnesota wolf hunting or trapping license this season is down 45 percent from last year's inaugural season, but the decline was expected because the number of licenses that are available also was cut nearly in half.
The Department of Natural Resources received 12,969 applications for 3,300 licenses. Last year, almost 24,000 people applied for 6,000 licenses.
"When we offer fewer permits for any hunt, we get fewer applicants,'' said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager. "And last year, being the first year of the wolf hunt, we got a certain number of novelty applications'' from people who wanted to try it.
The odds of a person being selected in the lottery for a license is about the same as last year – one in four, Merchant said. Winners should be notified in about a week, he said.
The DNR reduced the number of permits because it cut the wolf harvest quota nearly in half, from 400 a year ago to 220. 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 early hunting season, which is concurrent with the firearms deer season, begins Nov. 9. The late season starts Nov. 30. Hunters had until Sept. 5 to apply for a license.