Jessica Lange to Governor Dayton: Suspend the Wolf Hunt
September 25, 2013
The Honorable Mark Dayton
Governor of Minnesota
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Dayton:
Minnesota’s wolves have been on my mind. I first became concerned last year when I learned of the Minnesota DNR’s plan to hunt and trap these native and iconic animals. We both know the vast majority of Minnesotans’ views were not fairly represented in the legislation that authorized our state’s first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season. Nearly all Minnesotans believe the wolf is an asset that should be protected for future generations.
There are compelling reasons to think the wolf hunt was rushed by the legislature and the DNR to cater to particular groups, who for years had been clamoring for the chance to kill wolves. Despite widespread public opposition to a wolf hunt, and legitimate concerns about a hastily aborted management plan developed with significant public input, these groups got their way.
413 wolves were killed by hunters and trappers; not to protect public safety, not to control the population size, and not to reduce conflicts with people. It was for sport, for fun and for trophies. More than half the wolves killed were less than 2 years old and almost a third were less than 1 year old. They were not problem wolves; they were not in conflicts with people, livestock, or domestic animals. They were just wolves living wild and free in our north woods.
The recently announced 25% decline in the Minnesota wolf population should compel action. We haven’t had this few wolves in our state since 1988 and over this time period there has been a steady decline in pack size. Packs are family units made up of siblings and other relatives that support activities essential for survival, notably hunting and raising pups. We know that the random killing of non-problem wolves tears apart wolf families and diminishes their ability to survive and reproduce.
More than anything else, the cruel methods allowed for hunting and trapping wolves are deeply disturbing. The majority of Minnesota voters oppose these inhumane and unethical, yet legally sanctioned practices: Metal leg-hold traps that crush limbs, wire choke snares that cause painful brain bleeding, and bait like food and the calls of wolf pups in distress that lure adult protectors to their death.
As you again ask Minnesotans for the opportunity to lead our state, I ask that you show leadership on this issue by suspending the 2013-14 wolf hunt and direct all concerned state government bodies and agencies to get back to their stated goals of ensuring the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, and reducing conflicts between wolves and humans.