St. Paul The Minnesota DNR has delivered the state’s wolf
management plan to Bill Hartwig, regional director of the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service. The federal agency will now decide whether
the management outlined by the plan will ensure the long-term
survival of wolves in Minnesota.
The Minnesota wolf management plan, based on a wolf management
bill passed by the 2000 Minnesota Legislature, incorporates many of
the recommendations of a Gray Wolf Roundtable citizens group
convened in 1998, the DNR says. The goal of plan is to ensure the
long-term survival of the gray wolf in Minnesota while minimizing
inevitable conflicts that occur when wolves and people live in the
same area. It also addresses concerns by farmers and ranchers about
wolf depredation and wolf range expansion into agricultural
“We believe this plan is biologically sound and will ensure the
long-term survival of the gray wolf in Minnesota,” said DNR
Commissioner Allen Garber. “We also believe it represents a
reasonable balance between the competing and diverse public
attitudes toward wolves.”
Under the plan, two wolf management zones would be established.
In the northern zone, encompassing the state’s Arrowhead Region,
wolves would be protected except for government-sponsored
depredation control. In the southern zone, property owners could
kill wolves to protect their property. Other provisions of the plan
would continue to allow wolves to be killed in defense of human
life, would establish additional state penalties for illegal wolf
killing, and impose a five-year delay on public trapping and
hunting seasons. Garber said the agency developed a plan it
believes will be acceptable to the USFWS.
According to Hartwig, the federal agency’s wolf recovery team
will now review and evaluate the plan to see how well it ensures
the species’ survival in Minnesota. Afterwards, the director of the
USFWS will determine whether to remove the gray wolf in Minnesota
from the federal endangered species list, which would revert
control and management of the animal to the Minnesota DNR.
“To fulfill our obligations under the Endangered Species Act,”
Hartwig said, “we must now determine whether the plan provides
assurances for the long-term viability of wolves in Minnesota.”
Copies of the wolf management plan are available by calling the
DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cities metro
area or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). The plan is also posted
on the DNR web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.