Wolf hunt closes Sunday; 129 killed so far

Hunting in two of the three zones has reached quota.
Hunting in two of the three zones has reached quota.
Image: DNR.

As the first leg of a controversial, two-season wolf hunt comes to a close, Minnesota hunters have claimed 129 kills as of publication, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Though that's only about 65 percent of the quota, the success rate has already exceeded expectations based on similar hunts in other states, says Dan Stark, wolf specialist for the DNR, though he wasn't certain as to why.

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"We don't have all the data yet. We're going to be collecting data from hunters at the end of the season, and we'll be looking at that and summarizing it," says Stark. "It might be just that hunters are using a little bit different methods than just opportunistic hunting of wolves while they're deer hunting."

The first season ends Sunday, and in the meantime, hunters will be limited to only one of the three designated zones. The DNR closed the East Central Zone Nov. 5 after hunters reported eight kills (the quota is 9), and the Northeast Zone earlier this week after tallying 59 kills (quota is 58). The Northwest Zone is the last remaining, though half of it is shut down to coincide with the end of deer season.

It's "probably not likely" that hunters will reach the 200 target by the end of the weekend, says Stark.

"Hunter effort, if it's consistent with the deer season, it kind of tails off toward the end of the season," he says. "But we'll likely see a few more wolves taken over the weekend."

The remainder from this season will carry over, says Stark, meaning the quota for the upcoming season will go up.

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