The last day to hunt wolves during Minnesota’s early season was Sunday, November 18. The season ended before hunters could harvest the max 200 wolves allowed, yet twice as many wolves were harvested than the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimated.
A total of 147 wolves were harvested, mainly in the northwest zone, where the largest population of wolves lives. During the early season, which lasted from November 3 to November 18, only bows or firearms were allowed. Trapping is only permitted along with firearms and bows during the late season that begins November 24 and ends January 31. The harvest quota for the late season hunt is 400 wolves.
Minnesota residents took 119 of the 147 early season wolves harvested this year. Many hunters who came back with a wolf are actually deer hunters who purchased a wolf tag should they meet one in the woods. During the late season, the DNR expects more wolves to be harvested by trappers who have a statistically higher chance of successfully harvesting a wolf.
“We know that trappers are likely to be more successful than hunters so we expect to see a fair number of wolves taken through trapping,” Steve Merchant, the DNR’s wildlife population and regulation program manager, told Detroit Lakes Online. “I think we’ll see the same kind of trend here in Minnesota for the late season.” More wolves were taken by trapping than firearm or bow in nearby Wisconsin.
Trappers are more successful because they are not restrained to hunting in one location. Traps that loop around the neck or grip the leg may be set by trappers and must be checked daily by those who set them.