Influential hunting group asks public’s help documenting wolf numbers

Earlier this month a new group called Hunters for Hunters made headlines by holding standing-room-only public meetings to publicize the need to overhaul the Department of Natural Resource’s management of gray wolves. Now the powerful Minnesota Deer Hunters Association has ramped up the advocacy group’s efforts to put pressure on state wildlife officials, as well.

The MDHA has joined forces with Wolf.Report to seek the public’s help in making the case for resuming a managed hunting season for wolves by submitting encounters with the predator to an online platform with photos and other documentation.

Reporting your wolf-related encounters online is easy and straightforward. You can fill out an electronic form on our website, which asks for details such as date, photo, location, and a description of the event. Reporting your wolf-related encounters helps the us gather important information about wolf distribution and behavior, which can use to manage wolf populations and prevent conflicts with humans.

Some hunters attribute the unchecked growth in the wolf population, along with harsh winters, for the decline in the number of whitetail deer in northern Minnesota. The state allowed controlled hunting and trapping of gray wolves under DFL Governor Mark Dayton, until a federal court placed the predator under federal protection again. The DNR puts the current wolf population at 2,700, but many hunters believe the number to be considerably higher.  

By reporting wolf-related encounters, we can help protect Minnesota’s deer herds from being decimated by wolves. It helps managers to monitor wolf populations and prevent them from over-preying on deer herds, which can destabilize the ecosystem. Protecting our deer populations is not only essential for our hunting tradition, but it also ensures that the ecosystem remains balanced and healthy for all species to thrive.

A photo submitted by a bow hunter showed what remained of a big buck his friend shot this fall near Lake Vermillion, after a pack of wolves got to it before they did. The original photo can be viewed on the Wolf.Report website.

My question is, who can I share this with at the DNR? Because everything was gone from the deer but the skeleton, it seems there is a pack of wolves in the area that are very comfortable with people. So I’m figuring any dogs in that area are probably at risk, and the DNR should deal with this hungry pack!”

Wolf.Report plans to make citizen-contributed data available to hunters and wildlife agencies in an effort to rev up the dialogue on Minnesota’s approach to wolf management.