Howling for Wolves hopes DNR will delay wolf hunt - KMSP-TV

Howling for Wolves hopes DNR will delay wolf hunt

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is expected to start taking applications for 6,000 wolf hunting licenses in the next few weeks, but one local group is hoping to stop -- or at least delay -- the season.

Though it is a long shot, Howling for Wolves sent an information request to the DNR on Monday that seeks information about why and how the wolves went from the endangered species list to the calendar of hunting seasons.

The DNR says lawmakers are ultimately responsible for allowing a hunting season for the first time in decades even though the animals have been on and off the endangered species list several times over the years.

"There are all kinds of reasons that we should wait and take this slowly," said Maureen Hackett, a member of Howling for Wolves.

Hackett told FOX 9 News that she and her group have produced a public service announcement to promote their position against the wolf hunt.

"It goes against their own management plan," she said of the DNR plan dating back to 2001, which includes both lethal and non-lethal ways of controlling the population.

The document outlining the plan clearly states that there wouldn't any hunting until wolves had been off the endangered species list for five years -- but they were just taken off the list last year.

"We had a very strong direction from the Legislature here to have a hunting and trapping season," said Chris Niskanen, spokesman for the DNR. "There's been nothing shady. This has been a very transparent process."

The state did hold public hearings on the subject, and lawmakers did away with the five-year waiting period during the 2011 session.

The wolf population has remained steady at an estimated 3,000 animals for several years. Though 6,000 permits are set to be issued, the DNR plans to cap the harvest at 400 by registering kills much like hunters do with deer.

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