Minn. House panel hears testimony over wolf huntby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Legislature is holding hearings Thursday about the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' plans for managing the wolf population.
The animal returns to state control Friday after being removed from the Endangered Species List.
The House Environment Committee heard from interested parties, including deer hunters and the Humane Society.
"The number one concern is seeing that state management is initiated and it's done in an open enough fashion so people have opportunities and the money is there," said Mark Johnson, from the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
Johnson agreed with other speakers in the hearing that the first hunting season should be designed conservatively.
Noted wolf researcher Dave Mech told members it's very hard to shoot or even to trap a wolf. He said it's good to start small — the DNR plans for a quota of 400 wolves in the first season — in order to gauge hunter interest and success rates.
"The first couple of years there will be a certain number people who want to hang a wolf rug on the wall," Mech said. "But after you get that first wolf rug, I mean, how many more do you want to hang on your wall?"
The DNR is proposing a season in late fall, when pelts are prime. Deer hunters are interested in a season parallel with deer firearms season.