DNR cuts wolf quota by almost half

MINNESOTA - Minnesota wildlife officials have cut the quota for the state's second wolf season by nearly half. Minnesota’s statewide target harvest of wolves will be 220 this fall -- 180 fewer than last season, the Department of Natural Resources announced Monday.

A smaller Minnesota wolf population means fewer hunting and trapping licenses will be available when the wolf season opens Nov. 9.

Starting Thursday, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,000 early-season and 1,300 late-season licenses. That’s a reduction from 3,600 early-season and 2,400 late-season licenses in 2012. The deadline to apply for the hunting and trapping license lottery is Thursday, Sept. 5.

Minnesota continues to have the largest wolf population in the lower 48 states. The DNR’s 2013 wolf population survey estimated 2,211 wolves last winter compared to 2,921 in the winter of 2008. The DNR seeks to keep the wolf population from dipping below 1,600. The most-recent estimate does not include the birth of as many as 2,600 wolf pups this spring, some of which will survive into winter and be counted in next year’s population.

Last year's wolf hunt was the first since the animal came off the endangered species list in the region. Opponents say there should be no hunt at all.

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