The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has finalized rules for Minnesota’s first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season this fall and winter.
There are several changes to what the DNR originally proposed in May as a result of input received since the proposal was announced. The hunt start date remains the same -- Saturday, Nov. 3.
“We changed the closing date for the late season from Jan. 6, 2013, to Jan. 31,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager. “We also tightened the wolf harvest registration requirement so we can more quickly close a zone based on harvest results.”
Another notable change is that the wolf range will be divided into three zones for the purposes of harvest targets, registration and season closure.
The northeast zone and the east-central zone closely parallel the 1854 and 1837 treaty ceded territory boundaries. These zones will allow the state to allocate and manage wolf harvest in consultation with Indian bands that have off-reservation hunting rights.
The northwest zone will be the other area open to wolf hunting. When harvest targets are reached in any zone, that zone will be closed and hunters will be able to continue to hunt in any other open zone.
The season will be split into two parts: an early wolf hunting season coinciding with firearms deer hunting; and a late wolf hunting and trapping season after the firearms deer season. Trapping will begin Nov. 24. The target harvest remains 400.
Merchant said the public comment period that ended June 20 was helpful. The DNR received 7,351 online survey responses. He said of those who approved of the season, 82 percent said they supported the proposed structure. However, the DNR reported earlier at the close of the comment period, that about 5,800 respondents did not approve of a wolf hunt season at all.