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Published May 05 2012

DNR hustles to finalize wolf-hunt details

DULUTH, Minn. – Now that Minnesota’s wolf-hunting season is a sure thing, state wildlife officials are under pressure to finalize how to handle issues such as licensing and registration.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the Game and Fish bill Thursday, solidifying that wolf-hunting season begins Nov. 3, which is also the first day of the state’s firearms deer season. That gives the state Department of Natural Resources just less than six months to figure out logistical details.

“The big issue, quite frankly, is timing,” said DNR spokesman Dennis Simon. “We need to sequence things in the right order and they need to happen fairly quickly.”

The new law gives the DNR authority to set a harvest quota, structure the season, conduct a lottery to select hunters and reserve a portion of the annual quota for trappers.

The agency already has tentative plans about certain details, such as setting a first-year quota of 400 animals. Other details, such as how to distribute hunting and trapping licenses, are still being discussed.

Wolf management returned to the state in January after federal officials removed wolves in the Midwest from the Endangered Species List. DNR officials say they plan to take a conservative approach in the first year and allow the program to evolve.