Appeals Court dismisses petition against wolf hunt

St. Paul — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the state’s hunting and trapping season for wolves.

The court ruled the petitioners – Howling for Wolves and the Center for Biological Diversity – lack standing to challenge the rulemaking process the

DNR used in creating the 2012 wolf hunting and trapping season.

“We’re pleased with this decision,” said Ed Boggess, director of the DNR Fish and Wildlife Division.

The petitioners were not.

“It’s hard to put into words our disappointment and sense of injustice over this decision,” said Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves.

The groups last fall asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the state’s inaugural wolf hunting and trapping season. They argued the DNR didn’t allow adequate public comment before instituting the season.

The court denied the motion, prompting an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which denied the request without comment.

As a result, the hunting and trapping season went forward. Hunters and trappers killed a total of 413 wolves.

In addition to the Howling for Wolves and Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, there remains a federal lawsuit aimed at returning wolves to the endangered species list.

“We’re not done with lawsuits at this point, but we think (the Howling for Wolves/Center for Biological Diversity suit) has run its course,” Boggess said.

The 2012 season marked the first time the DNR held a managed season for the species. That’s because about 40 years ago, the species went from unprotected to totally protected.

The agency will hold another wolf season this fall, but won’t make decisions about the details until data from a population survey conducted this past winter are available.

Like legal attempts to stop the state’s wolf season, legislative attempts this session were unsuccessful, too. A Senate committee passed a bill that would have instituted a five-year wolf hunting and trapping moratorium, but the idea didn’t gain traction after that.

Howling for Wolves says it is analyzing the court’s decision and considering its options. An appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is possible, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

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