November 17, 2014
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Urged to Stop the Trophy Hunting of Wolves
Nov. 4 vote in nearby Michigan highlights overwhelming opposition to this needless killing
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is being urged to stop the trophy hunting of wolves, in the wake of the nation’s first statewide vote on wolf hunting in last week’s election. In nearby Michigan on Nov. 4, voters overwhelmingly rejected two wolf hunting measures, Proposals 1 and 2, with the “no” side winning by a 10-point margin and a 28-point margin, respectively. On Proposal 2, the “no” side received more than 1.8 million votes, more than any candidate who won statewide office, and prevailed in 69 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
This was the first statewide vote on wolf hunting in any state since wolves were stripped of their federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, and since more than 2,200 wolves were killed across the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies regions over the last two years. The Humane Society of the United States is urging decision makers in Minnesota to pay attention to this vote in Michigan, and see how regular citizens feel about the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves.
The Michigan election results mirror public opinion polling showing that Minnesotans, by huge majorities, appreciate wolves and want them conserved. In 2012, before the first wolf trophy hunting season, the DNR conducted an online survey, and 79 percent of residents opposed wolf hunting and wolf trapping.
Howard Goldman, Minnesota senior state director of The HSUS, said: “Michigan and Minnesota are states with strong hunting and farming traditions, and the resounding votes in Michigan demonstrate that voters think trophy hunting and commercial trapping seasons for wolves are premature and unacceptable. Nobody eats wolves, and there are already tools that exist to manage problem animals.” I’m confident that Minnesotans would have voted similarly if they had a chance to decide this issue directly.”
Minnesota is home to approximately 2,400 wolves and the DNR set this season’s hunting quota at 250 (30 more individuals than permitted in the last season). In 2013, a total of 602 wolves died, and the numbers of wolf packs have declined from 503 in 2008 to 470 in 2014 – a loss of 33 entire packs of wolves. Biologists warn that hunting this iconic species—even at low levels—harms not only the animals but also pack dynamics. When fellow pack members are killed, wolf packs can disband, leading to starvation of the pack’s youngest members.
Wolves keep deer and other ungulate herds healthy and scientific studies show that because of wolf predation, both plant and animal communities become far more diverse. The Minnesota DNR’s own data show that wolves prey on miniscule numbers of livestock.
Goldman continued: “We want state lawmakers and the Minnesota DNR to take heed of the overwhelming votes in Michigan. Most voters want wolves and their packs protected from needless killing, and they recognize wolves bring economic and ecological benefits to the state.”
Minnesota permits cruel and unsporting trophy hunting methods to kill wolves, including trapping the animals with leghold traps and neck snares. The state also allows hunters to lure in wolves using electronic calls and bait.
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