Late-season trappers and hunters harvest 56 wolves

St. Paul — Hunters and trappers killed 56 wolves during the first 10 days of a late season geared for those specifically targeting the canines.

Trappers took 35 of those animals. Hunters killed the other 21.

“It’s the first 10 days of the season, and we have quite a bit left,” said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. “If the trend holds up, we’ll be getting pretty close to our target harvest.”

The statewide target is 400 wolves. Hunters during the early season killed 147 wolves. The remainder are available for late-season hunters and trappers.

The target in the Northwest Zone is 187 wolves; 28 had been taken as of Tuesday afternoon. The target in the East-Central Zone is 10, and three of those had been taken. The target in the Northeast Zone is 56; hunters and trappers have taken 25.

The season will end in any zone once the target harvest is reached, or on Jan. 31, 2013, whichever comes first.

The DNR doesn’t know how many of the 2,400 people with licenses already have targeted wolves during the late season. Given its length, it’s possible some people are waiting for snow, or until they have time off from work, for example.

“It’s not like things are progressing that fast that there isn’t going to be opportunity later in the season,” Stark said.

Muzzleloader deer

Through the first nine days of the muzzleloader deer season – it ends Dec. 9 – hunters had killed 4,321 deer, which is 15 percent more than at the same time last year. The buck harvest was up from 1,224 at this time last year, to 1,950 this year.

“In terms of harvest, it’s better than last year,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “But the doe harvest is down again, which it should be.”

The number of muzzleloader hunters at this point in the season – just more than 57,000 – is about 2,000 fewer than last year.

Unlike the firearms season, when opening weekend is the most important in terms of the overall kill, the third and final weekend tends to be best for muzzleloader harvest. That’s typically because there’s snow on the

ground and ice on the water – which allows hunters to access areas that may have been inaccessible earlier in the year – and because deer are easier to pattern.

Even if that’s not the case this year, Cornicelli still expects that when the harvest is tallied, it will be at least as good as last year, when muzzleloaders took 7,416 deer.

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