Hunters have killed over 80 wolves this seasonHunters had killed 82 wolves as of Friday morning in Minnesota’s inaugural wolf season, including 37 in the northwest part of the state and 37 in the northeast.
By: Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald
Hunters had killed 82 wolves as of Friday morning in Minnesota’s inaugural wolf season, including 37 in the northwest part of the state and 37 in the northeast.
The Department of Natural Resources closed the season in the east-central part of the state on Monday after a hunter registered the eighth wolf, just one short of the zone’s target quota of nine.
Minnesota’s wolf season opened Nov. 3.
While the Northwest Zone has produced the largest number of registered wolves to date, it’s a big region. John Erb, a furbearer research biologist for the DNR in Grand Rapids, Minn., said harvest information for specific areas, such as Kittson or Roseau counties, which historically have had a high incidence of livestock depredation complaints involving wolves, isn’t yet available.
Erb said the DNR won’t have more specific location data until the early and late wolf seasons end, although the agency might try to compile a summary after the first season closes. The early wolf season coincides with the deer season, which ends today in 200-series permit areas and Nov. 18 in 100-series permit areas farther east.
A late season that also includes trapping opens Nov. 24 and continues through Jan. 31 unless specific target harvests are reached before that time.
Erb said the online registration, which is required for all license holders who kill a wolf, only records the zone where the animal is taken. County and section data isn’t available until the carcasses are brought in to DNR offices for inspection, Erb said, and data sheets still are scattered around various area wildlife offices in the wolf zones.
“It will take some time to collate them, enter data and map it out,” Erb said.
John Williams, assistant regional wildlife supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji, said Thursday he’s heard of about a half-dozen wolves registered at DNR check stations.
“I did see a nice picture of a skin that came in and pretty nice-looking animal,” Williams said. “It’s been pretty quiet.”
The DNR offered 3,600 licenses for the early season, which is limited to hunting, and 2,400 for the late season, which also includes trapping. The harvest quota for both seasons is 400 wolves — 265 in the Northwest Zone, 117 in the Northeast and 18 in the East-Central Zone.
According to Williams, the DNR before the season didn’t expect hunters to take 200 wolves — half of the 400-wolf quota — during the early season. Based on registered wolf kills to to date, that prediction is going to hold, he said.
Minnesota has an estimated population of at least 3,000 wolves, based on February census data, but some experts predict the numbers can increase to more than 5,000 after pups are born in May.
Dokken reports on outdoors. Reach him at (701) 780-1148; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1148; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.