By the end of the day on October 23, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had already sold a total of 3,584 of the 6,000 licenses available to hunt wolves in the state. The majority of those licenses, 3,600, are for early season hunting. Approximately 600 have not yet been sold. Hunters have until midnight on October 24 to purchase the remaining licenses.
Just a few days ago, wildlife officials were worried that all the licenses offered to those whose names were drawn in a lottery would not purchase all the licenses. As of October 19, only 2,000 of the available early season 3,600 wolf hunting licenses had been purchased.
The DNR received a 23,500 total of applications for the state’s first wolf hunt in decades. Of those applicants, only 3,600 would be randomly selected in a lottery to be able to purchase a license.
At first, Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist and technical adviser for the International Wolf Center, wondered why hunters who were drawn in the lottery weren’t jumping at the chance to buy licenses. Stark had told reporters, “I’m not sure what the make of it.” There were rumors that anti-wolf hunt activists had purchased applications with no intention of hunting wolves simply to take away the chance to hunt a wolf from hunters, but Stark believes only a small percentage of those may have actually done so. Forty-four permit applications were rejected because the buyer could not prove he or she had previous hunting experience. The DNR requires proof of a current hunting or trapping license or a trapper education certificate to apply.
Hunters are known to wait until the last day to purchase applications or licenses. For example, almost 20 percent of the wolf permit applications were received on the last day. “It’s not unusual for people to wait until the last day,” said Scott Pengelly, DNR public information officer. “That’s what happens with the fishing opener a lot. We have 1.6 million anglers who wait until the last day.”
If the remaining licenses are not purchased by midnight October 24, “any early season licenses not sold by that date will be made available at noon on Monday, Oct. 29, on a first-come, first-served basis to early or late season applicants not selected in the lottery.
Any eligible hunter, regardless of whether he or she entered the wolf season lottery, may purchase a remaining early season license at noon Thursday, Nov. 1.” according to a DNR press release.