Wolf season to go on with fewer licenses

A smaller Minnesota wolf population means fewer hunting and trapping licenses will be available when the wolf season opens Nov. 9. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) set the statewide target harvest of wolves at 220 – 180 fewer than last season.
Starting Aug. 1, 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 Sept. 5.
“The changes are a management response to the most-recent wolf population estimate,” said Dan Stark, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist. “As with other game species DNR manages, adjustments are made to regulate hunting pressure and harvest to ensure long-term population sustainability and provide hunting and trapping opportunities.”
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 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.
“DNR’s population survey confirmed Minnesota’s wolf population remains firmly established on the landscape,” Stark said. “We can manage seasons for a sustainable population of wolves like we do for dozens of other game species.”
Wolf licenses cost $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. The early season purchase deadline is Nov. 1, with surplus licenses going on sale at noon Nov. 6.