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Minn. Senate panel approves 5-year wolf hunt moratorium

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Jim Gerald and wolf trophy
On Nov. 7, 2012, Jim Gerald killed this wolf, a large male. A committee in the Minnesota Senate approved a bill Thursday that would put a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting in Minnesota.
Photo courtesy of Jim Gerald

A Minnesota Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would put a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting in Minnesota. 

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee approved the measure on a seven to six vote.  The bill's sponsor, Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, said she thinks it's irresponsible to hunt wolves so quickly after the animal was removed from the endangered species list.

"I grew up hunting," Eaton said." I have nothing against hunting. My concern is for the survival of the wolf. I believe that when you put these kind of resources into protecting a species that it doesn't make sense to automatically start a recreational hunt once they are delisted."

The state held its first hunt for wolves last year. Wayne Johnson, with the Minnesota Deer Hunter's Association, said hunting wolves will help manage the population. 

"Wolf research and management professionals agree that Minnesota's wolf season does not threaten nor have any detrimental effects on Minnesota's wolf population," Johnson said. "Biologically, at least one-third of the wolf population can be removed each year without jeopardizing the population. Wolves are a renewable resource and like any resource they need to be managed."

The bill has several more committee stops before it receives a full Senate vote.