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Controversy over wolf hunting continues as season ends

11:21 AM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's first wolf hunt may have ended but the controversy around it has not. In total 411 wolves were taken during the hunting season, just a little over the DNR's target of 400.

Dan Stark with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said they expected final numbers to fluctuate but overall the debut season went well.

"The rate at which wolves were taken per day actually increased throughout the season, whereas with deer, the majority of deer are taken the very first weekend and then there's a decline throughout the season," Stark said.

When it was proposed the hunt sparked several protests and continued to do so after it was approved.

"We can't really afford to kill our wolves," Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves, which opposed the hunt, said.

She believes the number of wolves killed may actually be higher than what the DNR reports because of poachers. She vows her group will continue fighting.

"We are going to be working with the legislators to stop recreational hunting of wolves and to give our livestock owners a fair allowance for cost of doing business in wolf territory," Hackett said.

Stark won't say if another season could open next year but isn't ruling it out either.

"At this point we'll be evaluating the data that we've collected over the season on where wolves were taken, success rates of hunters and trappers," he said.

That data, as well as information that will be gathered from a winter survey of wolves, will be used to set parameters for future hunting seasons.

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