Return of wolf hunt falls short in Minnesota House – by a vote
The Minnesota House voted by a narrow margin to ban a resumption of wolf hunting for sport in Minnesota.
The vote was 66-65 on an amendment to a broader environment and natural resources funding bill.
The federal government announced plans in March to lift protections for wolves and return management to the states. Minnesota held three wolf seasons before a judge in 2014 returned the animals to the federal threatened list.
State Rep. Peter Fischer of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party said that wolves deserve continued protections from recreational hunting, but that his amendment would allow for hunting and trapping wolves that prey on livestock.
But opponents said Minnesota’s wolf population has recovered and needs to be controlled to protect pets and livestock.
Attempts in recent years to ban wolf hunting in Minnesota have stalled in committee. Now it will move to the state Senate.
Meanwhile, Gov. Tim Walz says he supports legislation to ban the recreational hunting of wolves in Minnesota if the federal government succeeds in removing them from the threatened list.
An amendment to prohibit sport wolf hunting was added to a House environmental bill Tuesday. On Wednesday, the governor said that when he was in Congress he supported “delisting” wolves where populations had recovered, but not nationwide.
And while he said he supports managing wolf populations, he added he doesn’t think sport hunting is appropriate.
Minnesota held three wolf seasons before a judge restored federal protections 2014.
Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, says the issue is personal for her because she’s from the Wolf clan, and there’s a rule against hunting your own clan.