Posted at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2011
by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Environment
Gray Wolf. Credit: Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf / USFWS
By the end of January, the gray wolf in Minnesota officially will be off the federal endangered species act list and under the management of state officials. What does that mean for the wolves and you? Here's some guidance from the Minnesota DNR:
Maintaining Minnesota's wolves
There are about 3,000 gray wolves in Minnesota. The DNR's plan establishes a minimum population of 1,600 to ensure long-term survival in the state (no maximum number of wolves is set). The agency will act if surveys show wolves falling below that level. The federal de-listing requires the DNR to monitor wolves in Minnesota for at least five years.
You can't hunt them, yet. But removal from the federal list means a gray wolf posing an "immediate threat" to livestock or pets on your property can be shot "in accordance with local statutes," the DNR says.
A wolf in the act of stalking, attacking or killing livestock or a pet constitutes an "immediate threat." If you shoot or kill a wolf, you have to contact a DNR conservation officer within two days and turn over the wolf.
UPDATE: In the southern part of Minnesota, "immediate threat" is not required.
State rules also allow "harassment of wolves that are within 500 yards of people, buildings, livestock or domestic pets," the DNR adds. But you can't bait wolves to capture or kill them.
Hunting seasons may be coming. MPR News reporter Stephanie Hemphill reports the DNR is working on a hunting and trapping plan for the gray wolf that could be ready for next fall if the Legislature approves
In Wisconsin, she adds, there are plans to consider a hunt if the late winter count exceeds 350 wolves outside of Indian reservations. The count in late winter 2011 was 782-824 wolves statewide and 751+ wolves outside of Indian reservations.
The Wisconsin DNR, however, would need legislative authority before calling a hunt and isn't likely to have rules in place by next fall, Hemphill says.
BONUS: Here's a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service map showing the range of the Western Great Lakes gray wolf (dark blue is the primary area).