Gray wolves are a conversational topic in many parts of the United States, and that is definitely the case here in The Northland. In recent years the gray wolf has been on the federal protected endangered species list. On October 29, 2020 the trump administration has removed most of the gray wolves from the protected list. This could open the door to another state managed wolf hunt.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) has information on wolf populations and background insight into this divisive topic. Until the early 1970s there were no protections in place for wolf populations. Numbers were very low in the late 20th century. However, under population numbers started to return.

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The Minnesota DNR began a wolf hunt when the state managed the wolf population in 2012. That continued until 2014 when the wolves were added to the federal protected list. Since 2014, it has been illegal to hunt wolves. Now with the restrictions lifted that could open the door to state managed hunts again.

Many deer hunters, livestock owners, and people who live in rural areas fear wolves and would like to see the population managed with a hunting season. Other people object to the hunting of wolves for their own personal or religious reasons and criticize some of the methods such as trapping as inhumane.

Wolf population estimates go back as far as 1998 on the DNR website. They estimated 233 wolf packs in MN, totaling approximately 1,521 wolves. The most recent wolf survey for 2020 estimates that we now have 631 wolf packs with approximately 2,696 wolves. The wolf numbers have nearly doubled in the past 20 years. According to the DNR statistics, in the years the wolves were hunted they population stayed steady. In 2012 there was an estimated 2,211 wolves and in 2015 there were 2,221.