Minnesota Changes Wolf Hunting Plans

The state environmental bill signed into law this morning by Minnesota governor Mark Dayton changed the the state’s wolf management plan by allowing establishment of a hunting season as soon as the gray wolf is removed from the federal Endangered Species List.

Wolves roam in the wilderness on Thursday, February 11, 2010 near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. (MPR Photo/Derek Montgomery)
(MPR Photo/Derek Montgomery)

The StarTribune had the story, HERE, yesterday, when the bill was still in the legislature.

The state’s previous wolf management plan called for a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting once federal protection of the animal is removed.  Federal officials hope to return management of the animal to state and tribal governments by the end of this year.

Surveys estimate the wolf population in Minnesota at 3,000 animals.

Proponents of the change in the plan say hunting will reduce wolf attacks on livestock and dogs and that well-managed hunting will not harm harm the state’s wolf population.  Opponents worry that tinkering by the legislature will compromise implementation of the state’s wolf management plan in the long term.

The public process for establishing rules for a state wolf hunt will take roughly 18 months, according to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr.

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