The Big Story Blog

Rules of engagement on the gray wolf?

Posted at 10:53 AM on January 26, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Environment

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Gray Wolf. Credit: Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf / USFWS

On Friday, the gray wolf in Minnesota officially leaves the federal endangered species list and goes under the management of state officials. What does that mean for the wolves and you? Here's some guidance from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

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.

Killing wolves

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." (In the southern part of Minnesota, "immediate threat" is not required.) If you shoot or kill a wolf, you have to contact a DNR conservation officer within two days and turn over the wolf.

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.

Farmers protecting livestock from wolves can find detailed information at the Minnesota Agriculture Department.

Hunting

Minnesota DNR officials are planning a "conservative" wolf hunt for the fall. It would still need legislative approval -- Minnesota House and Senate committees are reviewing the idea in meetings today.

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).

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About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.