ST. PAUL, Minn. - Wildlife officials say Minnesota's wolf population is stable enough to boost the number of licenses for the upcoming wolf hunting season, which begins November 8.
Hunters and trappers can apply for their license beginning Friday, Aug. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced. A total of 3,800 hunting and trapping licenses will be available, 500 more than last year. The statewide target harvest of wolves is 250, 30 more than last year.
The DNR's latest population survey estimate reveals 470 wolf packs and 2,423 wolves lived in Minnesota's wolf range this past winter, 212 more than last year's estimate.
"Estimates show a stable population with no significant change from the 2013 estimate of 2,211 wolves," said Dan Stark, DNR large carnivore specialist. "We will continue to evaluate the wolf population annually to ensure the wolf population remains well established across northern and central Minnesota."
The DNR's goal for wolf management is to ensure the long term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing conflicts between wolves and humans.
Starting Friday, Aug. 1, hunters and trappers can apply for 2,300 early-season and 1,500 late-season licenses. The deadline to apply for the hunting and trapping license lottery is Thursday, Sept. 4. To apply, applicants need to pay a $4 fee, show proof of a current or previous hunting license and choose one of three available license options, using the season's letter designation when buying:
- Early season hunting (Season A) is open at the same time the firearms deer season is open unless a wolf zone closes earlier because the target harvest is met. The early season runs from Saturday, Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 23, in all Series 100 deer permit areas, and Nov. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 16, in Series 200 deer permit areas. In the east-central zone, the early season is scheduled to be a two-day hunt this year, concluding when legal shooting hours end on Sunday, Nov. 9.
- Late season hunting (Season B) runs from Saturday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first. If the east-central zone's target harvest is met during the early season, the late east-central season will not open.
- Late season trapping (Season C) runs from Nov. 29 through Jan. 31, 2015, or when the target harvest is met, whichever occurs first.
The statewide bag limit is one wolf and licenses are not zone-specific. Lottery winners will receive a wolf hunting booklet with their notification.
Wolf license fees are $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents.
More Information on wolf hunting is available on the DNR website.