Grand Rapids, Minn. — Wolf hunters who hit the woods this weekend for the state’s second managed wolf-hunting season experienced about what they did last year.
As of just before noon on Tuesday, hunters in the Northwest Zone had killed 33 wolves. They’d killed 16 in the Northeast Zone. The harvest targets in those zones are 73 and 33, respectively.
Hunters didn’t kill any wolves during the two-day season in the East Central Zone.
The total kill – in relation to the harvest targets – is “fairly consistent with last year,” said Dan Stark, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist.
The DNR this year reduced the overall harvest target from 400 last year to 220. Hunters and trappers last year combined to kill 413 wolves.
The agency also reduced the number of wolf licenses available, from 6,000 last year to 3,300 this year.
Stark believes most of the people who target wolves during the early season do so as part of their deer hunt.
The season in the Northwest Zone runs through Nov. 17; it runs through Nov. 24 in the Northeast Zone. (Though zones will close before those dates if the target harvest is achieved.)
“That’s likely the case (that most wolf kills are probably by hunters pursuing deer),” Stark said. “Maybe after this first weekend, people who get a deer and also have a wolf license will put more effort into it. I think most people are deer hunting first and wolf hunting second.”
Stark didn’t figure the weather opening weekend – cold and windy, with some snow – affected wolves much.
“I think it’s probably not going to change their pattern much,” he said. “This is the time of year wolves like, anyway. It’s what they are built for.”
The late hunting and trapping season opens Nov. 30 and runs through Jan. 31, 2014, or until the harvest targets are met.