The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may have to take another look at its rules for the wolf hunt it wishes to implement this fall. On Tuesday, two groups filed a lawsuit against the DNR saying the comment system offered by the Department was not sufficient.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves said the DNR rushed the process of preparing a wolf hunt since the wolf was federally de-listed off the Endangered Species List in January, 2012. In doing so, they did not hold a formal comment period, but rather held a 30-day online survey to solicit public opinion and suggestions for the hunt.
“There’s nothing in the Minnesota law that says an online survey can substitute for formal notice and comment on rulemaking by the agency,” said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney for the Center, to Minnesota Public Radio. She cited the plight of people who live in remote northern parts of Minnesota without Internet access.
The DNR has not yet commented on the lawsuit, but it said that 7,000 responses were received from the survey.
The groups asked for a preliminary injunction to halt the hunt, which is scheduled to open November 3. The DNR still has time to file a response before any ruling is made and a court date has not yet been scheduled.
The DNR planned to issue 6,000 permits with a target of 600 wolves allowable for harvesting. See more Minnesota wolf hunting highlights and regulations here.
In neighboring Wisconsin, a judge recently put a stop to the use of dogs in the state’s upcoming wolf season set to begin October 15. Whether the hunt may be cancelled due to complications from the judge’s ruling remains unclear.