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Understanding the Minnesota wolf hunt

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gray wolves once faced extinction in the upper Midwest. With decades of federal protection, their numbers rebounded. That led federal authorities in January to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species list, placing them under state control.

To help manage the population, the state Department of Natural Resources has authorized a wolf hunt, the first ever in Minnesota, starting Nov. 3.

But the hunt has been challenged on billboards, in court and on the airwaves by opponents who question its wisdom and necessity.

Why is Minnesota holding a wolf hunting season this fall?

Minnesota holds about 3,000 gray wolves now — the largest population of any state outside of Alaska. The DNR says a “conservative” hunt will help control that population without damaging the wolves’ long-term survival.

The agency set a maximum kill of 400 wolves in this fall’s hunt. Even if that quota is reached, the state’s wolf population would stay far above the minimum 1,600 wolves the DNR says is needed to ensure survival.

Why a hunt just months after delisting? State officials in the 1990s expected they wouldn’t set a hunting season until five years after the wolf was removed from federal protection so they could monitor the animals’ progress. But after legal battles delayed removal for nearly ten years while the population grew, state lawmakers last year removed the five-year waiting period

The feds still require the DNR to monitor wolves in Minnesota for at least five years.

Other questions addressed by this article:

How will Minnesota’s wolf hunt work?

What do supporters and opponents say?

What about other states? What happens next?

Read the entire article on minnesota.publicradio.org: MPR News Primer: Minnesota’s wolf hunt

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