Minnesota’s long awaited wolf season is already half way over, and the late season has already begun.
Hunters registered 147 wolves during the early portion of Minnesota’s first wolf season that ended Nov. 18; 53 fewer than the statewide harvest target, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The wolf harvest trend closely mirrored the deer harvest trend.
“The harvest was highest at the beginning of the season then declined as fewer hunters returned afield,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “It’s been a smooth start to the state’s first regulated wolf season. Interest was strong. Harvest is well within expectations.”
Wolf hunting in the east-central zone closed Nov. 5 with hunters registering eight wolves. The northeast zone closed Nov. 15, with hunters registering 61 wolves. Hunting in the northwest zone closed with the season on Nov. 18, with hunters registering 78 wolves.
Hunters registered three more wolves in the northeast zone than the target of 58. In the east-central zone, hunters registered one fewer wolf than the target harvest of nine. The agency anticipated slight overages or underages in its management planning. Stark said targets were established as guidelines not absolute quotas and that late season targets will be adjusted based on the early season harvest. He said that actual zone harvest numbers may change slightly as exact harvest location data is verified during wolf inspection.
Minnesota’s late hunting and trapping season begins Saturday, Nov. 24. It will conclude Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, provided late season harvest targets in each of Minnesota’s three wolf zones are not met.