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Computer error about wolf season confuses Minnesota hunters, trappers

A computer error has confused wolf hunters and trappers in Minnesota's Northwest Wolf Hunting Zone, telling them in a telephone hotline that the season is closed when it actually remains open. Department of Natural Resources officials say they're working on the problem and hope to have it corrected today.

The problem arose on Tuesday, New Year's Day, said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager at Grand Rapids. DNR officials suspect the erroneous recording was prompted by the change to the new year, he said.

"This is all done by an outside vendor, and it has to do with the change in the calendar year," Lightfoot said. "The season is open (in the Northwest Zone), but it is not showing that way on the website or if you call the (hotline) 888 number."

As of Dec. 31, hunters and trappers had taken 135 wolves in the Northwest Zone, where the quota is 187. The season is scheduled to continue through Jan. 31 unless that target harvest is reached.

The wolf hunting and trapping zone remains closed in the Northeast and East-Central Zones, where the target harvest has been reached. In the Northeast, hunters and trappers took 58 wolves and the target harvest was 56. In the East-Central Zone, hunters and trappers took nine wolves, and the target harvest was 10.

The late hunting and trapping season began Nov. 24. In the early wolf hunting season, held during the firearms deer season, hunters took 147 wolves.