Photo courtesy of Arran_Edmonstone
I can’t really explain why, but I want to shoot a wolf very badly. Best I can figure, it’s a combination of their strength, physical beauty and awesome mental capabilities. They are awesome hunters, just like me (and if you believe that, Pelosi has some hunting land for sale just outside of D.C. she’s looking to sell).
And my opportunity to hunt them in Minnesota seems closer than ever.
Word has been out for almost a week now that the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region has been removed from the Endangered Species List, thusly turning their management over to state jurisdiction. This is great news—most importantly for the status of the wolf population, but equally for those, like me, who want an opportunity to hunt them.
So, what does this mean, and what happens next? I partook in a teleconference with members of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) and a wolf specialist from the U.S. Geological Survey to better understand when we could begin hunting them. Here’s the skinny:
The official delisting is set to take place this week, December 28, 2011 (Merry Christmas, baby!), at which point a 30-day “waiting period” must transpire. So, at the end of this coming January, Minnesota will officially—finally—be in charge of managing its own wolves.
This means that as of late January, Minnesota will have the jurisdiction to decide if it will allow a wolf hunting season. And according to the MNDNR officials I spoke with during the teleconference, a hunt is in the future. However, logistics must be hammered out, and as with most politics, that takes time.
In coordination with the state legislature, the MNDNR must decide ideal harvest numbers, season dates, management zones, etc. And, of course, the tree-huggers in Minnesota must be allowed to voice their opinions about why we shouldn’t be hunting wolves in this state. Again, all this will take time, but the overwhelming feeling of “cautious optimism” has been fluttering inside me for nearly a week now.
If you’ve been following this situation at all across the United States, you already know appeals are inevitable. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have been battling appeals based upon “procedural grounds” for years now. But in their situation and now in this one, overwhelming scientific evidences points to the fact that wolves are at a sustainable population level that can be—that needs to be—hunted.
When will this happen? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m guessing I won’t have an opportunity to hunt Minnesota wolves any time during 2012, but I’ve got hope for 2013. Regardless, you can bet a wolf pelt hanging in your den that I’ll be all over this issue as news continues to break.
Keep your nose to the wind.