MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota hunters killed around 45 wolves in the opening weekend of its second wolf-hunting season since the animals were removed from the endangered list, the Department of Natural Resources said Monday.
Hunters had registered 30 wolves in the northwest zone and 15 wolves in the northeast zone as of Monday morning, according to the DNR's website. No wolves were registered from the east-central zone, where the season ran only Saturday and Sunday.
Much of the northeast zone is forest and is considered prime wolf country, so protections there are tighter. The harvest target there is 33 wolves for the early season, which runs concurrently with the firearms deer season. The early-season target is 73 in the northwest zone, which is more agricultural, so the state's management plan allows more wolves to be taken there. The DNR will close each zone separately if a target is reached or on the verge of being met.
The DNR has set a total target for the state's two-part season at 220 wolves this time. The late hunting-and-trapping seasons open Nov. 20.
Hunters killed at least 50 wolves on the opening weekend last year, when nearly twice as many licenses were available. The combined season target was 400, with the final count reaching 413. This year's targets were lowered to reflect the lower population.
Minnesota DNR wolf hunting: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/wolf/index.html