Field report: Wolf hunters, trappers have same success rate as last season

  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 12:03 AM

Less than 7 percent of Minnesota wolf hunters and trappers succeeded in bagging a wolf in the recently completed season — about the same success rate as last year’s inaugural season.

This season 3,434 licensed hunters and trappers killed 237 wolves, a 6.9 percent success rate. In the previous season, 6,123 licensed hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves, a 6.7 percent success rate. The Department of Natural Resources reduced the number of licenses it issued in 2013 after a survey showed the wolf population had declined since the last survey in 2008.

Trappers again had far more luck than hunters, with a 19.5 percent success rate, compared with a 4.2 percent success rate for hunters in both the early and late wolf seasons.

Last year, trappers had a 29.4 percent success rate, and hunters had a 4.6 percent success rate in the early hunt and a 5.1 percent success rate in the late hunt.

The season closed last month after 45 days; in 2012, the season ran 57 days before hunters hit the DNR’s target harvest goal.

Did you know?

• Applications for mentored youth turkey hunts next spring are due by Feb. 18. First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 are eligible. The hunt is April 26-27. For information, see www.startribune.com/a2547. More than 2,200 youth have been introduced to this unique hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.

• Deep snow along the North Shore has created some interesting predicaments. Conservation officer Mary Manning of Hovland reports that animals are using the trails to move about. While patrolling on her snowmobile, she recently encountered a wolf that was reluctant to yeld the trail and plunge into the deep snow.

• Cold weather has helped ice conditions at Lake Mille Lacs, and more ice fishing houses are appearing on the lake, reported conservation officers. Slush has been a problem there and on many other lakes this season.

DOUG SMITH

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