Minnesota hunters report killing 51 wolves since the state's first managed wolf season got underway Saturday, and DNR officials said they were not surprised by early kill numbers
"We have to remember that people only hunt for a few days out of the year, even though they kind of build up to it," Lou Cornicelli, the DNR's wildlife research manager, said. "So if they're going to take an animal, they're likely going to take it those first two or three days."
"It wouldn't be surprising that the bulk of wolf harvest would occur on the day that the bulk of deer are harvested, because that's when people are out," he said.
Hunters have 3,600 licenses for the initial 16-day early wolf season. The DNR will halt the hunt once it reaches a 200-wolf limit.
Officials predicted that only about 2 percent of the wolf hunters will be successful during the early season. A second season runs from late November through the end of January and will allow both hunters and trappers to take an additional 200 wolves.
DNR officials also said favorable conditions pointed to good opening deer hunting weekend.
Deer kill numbers won't be available until Tuesday, but officials expect it will be better than last year's deer harvest of around 192,000 deer.
"We under-harvested last season because of the poor opening weekend weather, and that opening weekend really drives what we do," Cornicelli said. "The corn has been out of the fields for a month, so those deer are more vulnerable because they don't have those big ag fields to hide in, and then we really had good opening weekend weather."