Wolf season could be challenged by Ojibwe

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ST. PAUL — Minnesota House members approved a bill Tuesday that moves next month’s fishing opener up a week and establishes a wolf hunting and trapping season on the same dates as deer hunting season.

The bill was approved 82-49 by the House of Representatives despite warnings that the American Indian community may challenge the wolf hunting and trapping provisions in court. The bill also is opposed by some conservationists who fear that too many wolves will be killed if the season is held at the same time as deer season.

Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL’er from Duluth, said he thinks Ojibwe tribes are gearing up for a court fight.
Bill sponsor Rep. Tom Hackbarth, Republican from Cedar, said no tribal representatives testified against the wolf provisions, even though it was well-publicized.

Up to 400 Minnesota wolves could be taken by hunters under the bill. The Department of Natural Resources reports 3,000 wolves live in Minnesota.

Similar wolf hunting and trapping provisions are in a Senate bill expected to be debated this week.
The wolf hunt was among many issues representatives debated during a lengthy discussion about game and fish issues. Among them was approval of a “mom’s amendment,” allowing fishing a week earlier than normal next month.

Rep. David Dill, DFL’er from Crane Lake, offered the measure, called the “mom’s amendment” because the opener otherwise would fall on Mother’s Day weekend. The provision, approved on a voice vote, would apply this year only.


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