Almanac: Is wolf season too conservative?

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

A gray wolf

Photo: Dawn Villella, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

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

  • 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

NY Mets 8 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 4th Qtr 0:21
Miami 97
Philadelphia 110 1st OT
Oklahoma City 110
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 62 4th Qtr 9:07
San Antonio 94
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd 3:06
Detroit 1
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 10:51
Colorado 0
Montreal 0 1st Prd 13:46
Anaheim 0
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
UCF 45 FINAL
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
UMBC 39 FINAL
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
NJIT 71
TCU 43 2nd Half 11:47
Oklahoma State 60
Cincinnati 37 2nd Half 11:25
Tulsa 31
USC 51 2nd Half 11:58
UCLA 62
Miss State 43 2nd Half 8:49
Vanderbilt 48
Utah State 47 2nd Half 7:46
Wyoming 65
St Johns 40 2nd Half 16:54
Marquette 32
SIU Edwardsville 26 2nd Half
Eastern Ill 30
Air Force 12 1st Half 10:06
Fresno State 14
Nebraska 9 1st Half 12:36
Illinois 8
Colorado State 15 1st Half 10:49
Nevada 12
Boise State 15 1st Half 14:04
San Jose St 6
San Diego St 10:00 PM
UNLV
Oregon 10:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
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