Bills introduced to prohibit any wolf hunting, trapping in Minnesota
The change would remove the option for the DNR commissioner to hold seasons.
ST. PAUL — Bills removing any option for a wolf hunting and trapping season from Minnesota statutes have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature.
The Senate introduced SF 2062 on Monday, sponsored by Sen. Mary Kunesh, DFL-New Brighton. It was referred to the Senate Environment, Climate and Legacy Committee.
The House companion bill, HF 2144, was introduced last week, and is sponsored by Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood.
Minnesota state law currently allows the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner to hold wolf hunting and trapping seasons if and when the wolf is removed from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. The DNR commissioner is not required to do so.
The new bills — if they pass the House and Senate and are signed by the governor — would prohibit any wolf season even if the animal loses federal protections. A similar ban on wolf hunting in Minnesota passed the full House in 2019.
Some hunters and cattle farmers want a state-sanctioned wolf season to reduce wolf numbers. But statewide polling by the Minnesota DNR and University of Minnesota showed most Minnesotans want to keep about the current number of wolves in the state.
Maureen Hackett, president of Howling For Wolves, a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization, said her group strongly supports the new legislation, saying breaking up wolf packs by killing individuals can cause more problems than it solves for livestock farmers.
“There is no need to kill wolves in a public hunting and trapping season. As apex predators, they have social and biological systems to control their own pack behavior and numbers. We need to leave wolves undisturbed to function as social packs,” Hackett said in a statement Monday.
Other bills have been introduced to require the DNR commissioner to hold a wolf season if delisting occurs.