Wolf hunting debate set for this week at Capitol

Wolf hunt protest
In a Sept. 26, 2012 photo, an opponents of wolf hunting protests outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
AP Photo/Steve Karnowski

Opponents of wolf hunting in Minnesota will get a chance to argue their case before state lawmakers this week.

A bill sponsored by DFL Senator Foung Hawj will get a hearing in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Tuesday. It would require the Department of Natural Resources to conduct an annual wolf census as well as assess public opinion on hunting wolves.

The bill would also ban wolf baiting within 10 miles of tribal lands and require the DNR to produce a map showing where wolves are a threat to livestock.

Maureen Hackett of the group Howling for Wolves says the DNR needs to collect more data on wolf deaths and how the hunting season affects the overall population.

"Once we get this clear understanding of all these factors, we could talk about a hunt, but until then we would suspend the hunt," he said. "That's what we're asking for."

DNR officials have said wolf population estimates are done according to standard wildlife management principles and that the agency already keeps closer tabs on wolves than most other species.

The bill's chances of passing this year appear to be slim. There's been widespread legislative support for wolf hunting in the past.

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