Minn. Supreme Court asked to block wolf season

Wolf after kill
A wolf hustles away from a freshly killed carcass near Ely, Minn.
Steve Foss for MPR, file

The groups trying to stop the Minnesota wolf hunt are asking the state Supreme Court to take emergency action.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves filed a motion Monday for emergency review of the case. Minnesota's wolf hunt is scheduled to begin on Nov. 3.

"We're all doing the best we can to try to stop the hunt, but we're running out of time," said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney for the Center for the Biological Diversity.

The Supreme Court normally has 30 days to announce whether it will take up a case.

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"We're hopeful that the Supreme Court will recognize what the Court of Appeals did not: That the shooting and trapping of hundreds of wolves in Minnesota is a irreparable harm that's caused by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' decision to go forward with this hunt," said Adkins Giese.

The groups said Minnesota promised a five-year moratorium on hunting after the wolves were removed from the endangered species list. But the DNR takes issue with that claim, citing the legal dispute that went on for years.

"The five-year moratorium was put into place in 2001 with the expectation that delisting was imminent. It didn't happen," said DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen. "It just happened in 2012, so we're long, long past wolf recovery."

The DNR said the wolf season is based on thorough research showing the hunt won't hurt the state's wolf population.

The legal challenges now go beyond Minnesota. The Humane Society of the United States is citing the situation in Minnesota as one reason to sue the federal government over delisting Great Lakes wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

The Humane Society of the United States has announced its intent to sue the federal government over a decision to remove Great Lakes gray wolves from the endangered species list.

"At this point in time it's the only legal recourse for wolves," said Howard Goldman, the group's state director. "We had hoped that the two lawsuits that had been filed in Wisconsin and Minnesota would have stopped the hunts. But they haven't, and as a result we've decided to proceed with this course."

Wisconsin's wolf hunt began Monday.