Opponents of MN Wolf Hunt Speak Out - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Opponents of MN Wolf Hunt Speak Out

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Minnesota's controversial wolf hunt comes to a close Thursday. Last count by the DNR estimates 403 were tagged during the hunt and numbers are still coming in. But that's already slightly over their target quota of 400. Numbers aside, not everyone is pleased with the states decision to hunt an animal just off of the endangered species list. Valley News Live shares one opponent to the hunt's concerns.

When the DNR announced the potential of a wolf hunt they didn't have overwhelming support, at least not on their website. An online survey on the DNR's website found nearly 75 percent of people who voiced an opinion, opposed it.

Doctor Maureen Hackett was one of those voices, "I'm a wildlife enthusiast and when I saw this hunt was going forward without any input from the public and the wolf was just off the endangered species list, I saw a corrupted process."

Dr. Hackett doesn't agree with the DNR's justification for the hunt. She says it was made without the general public's consideration in mind and much too fast at that.

The DNR's Dan Stark says just like any regulated hunt sponsored by the DNR it was monitored much the same. One of the main goals was to cut the losses experienced by farmers dealing with livestock's losses, "the primary conflict with wolves is livestock depredation and so we have a management program in place to address that."

Stark helped his office come to the conclusion, that a hunt could eliminate some of those problems with livestock being killed off. But no money from the hunt will go to livestock reimbursement. "This year the wolf season is intended just to gather additional information on the wolf population to be able to gauge hunting and trapping success rates." Says Stark.

By his estimations about 3000 wolves have maintained their population for the past five years. Dr. Hackett says before the hunt even started nearly 300 were killed by farmers, legally, and likely another couple hundred by poachers. Add that up on top of the 400 plus killed in this years hunt, that's what concerns Dr. Hackett, "now you have nearly 1000 wolves killed out of maybe 3000 wolves total. That's 30% of the population."

Which isn't that far off from the 1,600 mark that could likely put wolves back on the endangered species list in Minnesota. A problem magnified during the course of one, quick season proposed by the DNR.

Dr. Hackett says without folks expressing their opinions to legislature, the DNR will likely not listen to the publics concerns, "they have not gotten public comment on nearly every hunting rule since 1995. I think the public and legislature need to understand that the public has been kept out."

The wolf hunt was passed by Minnesota legislature. If you question the move, or are glad they made the step, let them know about it. Contact your state representatives and be heard. If you want to learn more about Dr. Hackett and her cause check out her organization at howlingforwolves.org

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