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Wolf hunt opponents gather to plan strategy

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Opponents of Minnesota's wolf hunt planned to gather on the Bemidji State University campus on Saturday to explore ways to stop or alter the hunt.

Event coordinator Barry Babcock said that he does not oppose killing wolves to protect livestock, pets and human life but that some people believe wolves should be protected from hunting for sport.

"We'd just like to keep the issue on the front burner, because the season is over now," he said, "and to motivate people to contact their legislators to let them know what they feel about the hunt. And because the Legislature is in session right now and if we hope to get anything done, that's the place to get it done at."

Babcock said he hopes lawmakers will consider eliminating the wolf hunt.

A co-founder of a group called Brother Wolf, Babcock said many in the Ojibwe community oppose the hunt for cultural reasons.

"We hope to be able to have commitments made right now to end the hunt on reservations," Babcock said. "That's something that should be done right away ... just by the commissioner and the governor saying yes, there won't be anymore hunting on the reservations to respect the wishes of the native people in this country."

Hunters and trappers killed 412 wolves during the state's first wolf season this past fall and winter. 

The forum is set for 1 to 3 p.m. at the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University. The event will include presentations from tribal and spiritual leaders from the Red Lake Indian Reservation.