Wolf hunt opponents campaign to stop season

In this February 2008 photo gray wolves howl at an exhibit area at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn.
AP Photo/John Flesher

A group opposed to the hunting and trapping of gray wolves is petitioning the Department of Natural Resources to cancel this year's planned wolf hunt in Minnesota.

In January, the federal government took gray wolves off the endangered list. The DNR soon after established a wolf hunting season that partly coincides with firearms deer season.

But despite its rebound, the wolf population is still vulnerable and the DNR is moving too fast, said Maureen Hackett of the group Howling for Wolves.

Hackett says the wolf population may not have rebounded as much as some people think.

"We fear that the wolf population may be more prone to coming down with the diseases that they're already exposed to under the stress of a hunt," Hackett said. "We think there's the possibility that they could be pushed toward more livestock and human conflict and then also die."

The group is petitioning the DNR to stop the hunt and has a billboard campaign in the Twin Cities.

The DNR is allowing hunters and trappers to take 400 wolves out of a population estimated at 3,000 in Minnesota. Officials say they hope the hunt will provide them with more data on the population size.