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Lawsuit filed against MN wolf hunt

The group howling for wolves protests the Minnesota wolf hunt, at Lake Superior Plaza in downtown Duluth Sept. 7. Photo by - Clint Austin1 / 2
The group filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against wolf hunting this fall. Gloria Skinaway of the Sandy Lake Reservation holds a sign at a protest against the Minnesota wolf hunt at Lake Superior Plaza in downtown Duluth. Photo by - Clint Austin2 / 2

Two animal protection groups this week filed a lawsuit with the state Court of Appeals seeking an injunction against wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota this fall.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves say the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources failed to provide a formal opportunity for public comment on recently approved rules establishing wolf hunting and trapping.

"The state rushed to issue wolf hunting and trapping rules without giving people a real chance to voice their opinions," Collette Adkins Giese, a Minneapolis-based attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement announcing the suit. "Especially considering the tremendous controversy around hunting and trapping of Minnesota's wolves, state officials should have followed the law carefully to make sure they fully understood how the public felt about their decision."

DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said the agency had just received word of the court filing requesting an injunction and had not yet had time to review it.

Instead of offering a formal public comment period, the DNR offered an online survey before adopting the details of how wolves would be shot and trapped. More than 75 percent of the comments opposed killing wolves.

The groups also claim that lawmakers violated their own 2001 wolf management plan that called for a five-year moratorium on wolf hunting and trapping once the animals were taken off the federal endangered species list.

Minnesota's first wolf hunt in nearly a half-century is scheduled to begin Nov. 3 with the opening of the deer firearms season; the state's rules provide that 6,000 licenses will be sold to kill 400 wolves. The lawsuit filed today asks the Minnesota Court of Appeals to prevent implementation of wolf hunting and trapping rules until the court can issue its decision in the case.