Minnesota’s early wolf season ended Sunday, with hunters killing a total of 88 wolves — 28 fewer than target goals. That means hunters and trappers in the late season, which begins Saturday, will be allowed to kill up to 132 wolves to reach the 220 total wolf kill quota. Early-season hunters in the northwest zone took 56 wolves; the target was 73. In the northeast, hunters killed 32 wolves; the target was 33. No wolves were killed on the north-central zone, where the combined two-season target harvest is 10 wolves. About 705 hunters and 595 trappers received licenses for the second season, which runs to Jan. 31, unless target goals are reached first.
Deer harvest down
Minnesota’s whitetail harvest is down about 6.5 percent so far this season, based on preliminary harvest numbers. Hunters have killed about 159,000 deer — down from 170,000 killed at this time last season. Hunting in the southeast 3B zone continues through Sunday, and the muzzleloader season runs Nov. 30-Dec. 15.
Fewer pheasant hunters
A 29 percent decline in Minnesota’s pheasant population this year apparently has caused some hunters to skip the season. The DNR so far has sold about 74,000 pheasant stamps — about 13,000 fewer than this time last year, or about a 15 percent decline. Minnesota’s August roadside survey showed the pheasant index at 64 percent below the 10-year average and 72 percent below the long-term average.
Duck season closing
Minnesota’s duck season is about over; it closes Sunday in the South Zone, the last zone to close. But Canada goose hunting continues into December in all three waterfowl zones. Meanwhile, the DNR has sold about 93,000 state duck stamps, up about 3,400 from this time last year — or about 4 percent.
Did you know?
• Early-season ice anglers are venturing out onto lakes, and DNR officials urge caution. “No fish is worth your life,’’ advised conservation officer Eugene Wynn of Pine City. “Wait for more cold weather and better ice conditions, the fish will still be there.’’
• Conservation officer Matt Miller is investigating the illegal shooting of a wolf in the Two Harbors-Brimson area. Anyone with information can call the TIP line at 1-800-652-9093.