Outdoor notes: Two wolf hunts and trapping season likely

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON and DOUG SMITHSTAR TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS
  • Updated: May 5, 2012 - 4:34 PM

Minnesota likely will have two separate wolf seasons this fall. One will begin with the opening of deer season, and wolves taken during that period will be incidental to the nearly 200,000 whitetails hunters are expected to bag.

A second wolf season likely will run in December, perhaps concurrent with a wolf-trapping season that is planned.

The Department of Natural Resources had advocated only for a stand-alone wolf season, apart from deer hunting. But the Legislature, in the Game and Fish bill that Gov. Mark Dayton signed last week, responded to hunters' requests for a wolf season that coincides with deer season.

The DNR is expected to issue proposals later this month detailing dates of the wolf hunts, how many permits it expects to issue, and the size of the kill, or quota, it will allow. The agency then will take public comment on its plans.

DNR Fish and Wildlife Division Director Ed Boggess has said it's possible there will be separate quotas for each hunting season, as well as the trapping season. Hunters will be expected to check the Internet or other outlets as the season progresses to determine whether a quota has been reached, and whether they can continue hunting.

DNR officials said Friday they will consult with Chippewa bands in the 1837 treaty area of east-central Minnesota regarding the state's wolf hunt plans. Discussions also will be held with bands in the 1854 treaty area of northeast Minnesota, which generally encompasses the Arrowhead region.

Turkey hunting success

For Minnesota's wild turkey hunters, it's been a fabulous spring.

After a poor season last year, they are harvesting birds at a near-record pace. Through the first two seasons ending April 27, hunters bagged 5,025 birds. That's just slightly behind the 5,083 killed during the same time in 2010, when hunters bagged a record 13,467.

"I think we'll be right up there [in near-record territory]," said Steve Merchant, Department of Natural Resources wildlife program manager.

And the harvest is way ahead of last year's pace, when hunters shot just 3,628 birds during the first two five-day periods and ended the season with 10,055. The rainy, cold weather last year may have been more responsible for the poor harvest than a lack of birds, Merchant said.

"It was just a lousy season," he said.

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