Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Almanac: Is wolf season too conservative?

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 28, 2012 - 8:43 PM

A clash appears to be brewing between legislators and the Department of Natural Resources over details of a wolf hunting season next fall.

At Capitol hearings last week, some legislators questioned whether the DNR's proposed first-ever wolf season is too conservative. And they raised doubts whether they will accept the agency's intention of starting the wolf season at the end of November -- after the regular firearms deer season.

"I'd like to see the deer hunters have a better opportunity [at a wolf],'' said Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Baxter, also said he was hoping to see a wolf season run concurrent with the deer season.

"I think you'd have a lot more people interested,'' he told DNR officials.

At a House hearing, Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, said: "I think there will be a great backlash to starting it [the wolf season] later. There's a pent-up demand.''

DNR officials told legislators that they deliberately are taking a conservative approach to a wolf season to gauge hunter and trapper interest and success rates. They proposed a quota of 400 wolves, with 6,000 hunting and trapping licenses issued through a lottery. Hunters or trappers could take one wolf with a license. The DNR says the taking of 400 wolves by hunters and trappers wouldn't reduce the wolf population, because other animals would replace those killed. (For details on the DNR's proposal, see www.startribune.com/outdoors.)

Fear of lawsuit

Officials said they don't want to do anything that would jeopardize state control and lead to the wolf being placed back on the protected list under the Endangered Species Act. After years of lawsuits, the iconic animal officially went off the list and under state control on Friday.

"We need to take our time and do it right,'' Ed Boggess, DNR fish and wildlife division director, told legislators. "We know there's pent-up enthusiasm for a wolf season.''

Still, several legislators suggested the proposed 400-wolf quota might be too low.

At the House hearing, Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, asked wolf expert David Mech whether it made sense to allow deer hunters more opportunities to shoot wolves.

"The larger number of wolves taken during the first season, the greater the chances of a lawsuit,'' Mech said. "That could stall the whole DNR wolf management [plan] for years.'' (See a video of Mech testifying at www.startribune.com/a988.)

Representatives of hunting, trapping, farm and cattle groups told legislators they support the wolf season. "We're pretty excited about it,'' said Shawn Johnson of Duluth, president of the Minnesota Trappers Association.

But not everyone is.

The Humane Society of the United States was among a coalition of environmental and animal-rights groups that has filed lawsuits to keep the wolf on the endangered species list.

Howard Goldman, state director, told legislators his group opposed delisting the wolf and opposed a hunting season.

"We've made no decision yet whether to litigate,'' he said. "We are very pleased to see the department has taken a conservative approach to a wolf hunting season.''

Lake of the Woods bust

When the walleye bite is hot, some anglers just can't stop, even when it means keeping an over-limit of fish.

Conservation officers see it all the time.

But the number of violations encountered by a team of conservation officers on Lake of the Woods last weekend surprised even them. Extra officers were on the ice Friday through Sunday -- including eight on Saturday -- in the intensive enforcement effort occasionally used by the Department of Natural Resources.

Officers issued 67 citations, 66 warnings and found 23 anglers with over-limits, 14 with extra lines, 12 with no fishing licenses and five with fish of illegal length. A total of 234 walleyes or saugers were seized.

"We were shocked that we had that many over-limits,'' said Lt. Pat Znajda, a district enforcement supervisor. "It's troubling. All the law-abiding anglers should be upset."

Boat Show attendance

The 40th annual Minneapolis Boat Show attracted 34,555 people over its four-day run earlier this month, an increase of 11 percent over 2011. Show manager Jennifer Thompson said several exhibitors reported it's the best show they've had in years.

Did you know?

• Under the DNR's proposal, a wolf hunting or trapping license would cost $50. "Personally, I think that's too high,'' Ken Wainionpa, president of the Minnesota Forest Zone Trappers, told legislators.

• Two wolves were accidentally caught in traps in the Bemidji area, and they were turned over to the DNR. One died in the trap, and the other couldn't be released so it was dispatched.

• Conservation officer Darin Fagerman of Grand Marais encountered a man with a camera standing outside his car on a slippery road corner. The man told Fagerman he was just taking pictures of the owls on the poles. That's when Fagerman told him the owls were plastic, placed there to keep woodpeckers off the poles.

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Gray wolf

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close