The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is asking Gov. Tim Walz to reconsider his stance opposing a gray wolf season if the federal government returns management to the state. Legislation to restore a wolf hunt if the state regains management was narrowly defeated in the Minnesota House of Representatives earlier in the legislative session.
Craig Engwall, executive MDHA director, made the request in a Friday, May 17, letter to the governor.
“Previously during your time in Congress, you had supported delisting the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List,” Engwall wrote. “We appreciate your efforts on this issue while in Congress and hope that you will again support returning wolf management back to MNDNR.”
Wolf numbers “by all reasonable measures” have recovered in Minnesota, Engwall said, and DNR estimates put the population at 2,655 wolves and 465 packs during the winter of 2017-18 within Minnesota’s wolf range.
That number exceeds the federal recovery plan of 1,251 to 1,400 wolves and Minnesota’s management plan, which calls for a population of at least 1,600 wolves, Engwall wrote.
“Because the gray wolf population has far surpassed all recovery goals in Minnesota and MNDNR has shown it can effectively manage wolves in the state, MDHA strongly supports the return of gray wolf management to the State of Minnesota,” Engwall wrote. “Again, we ask you to reconsider your recent statement in opposition to MNDNR managing a wolf season in Minnesota and seek your support in restoring management of the gray wolf to the state.”