Press Release: Minnesota DNR's Failure to Follow Its Own Wolf Management Plan Continues to Produce Unreliable Wolf Count Data and Endangers the Wolf


Dr. Maureen Hackett, Howling For Wolves
Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications Co.
TWIN CITIES -- December 31, 2013  -- The recreational wolf hunting and trapping seasons in Minnesota and Wisconsin ended recently with 237 wolves killed in the former and 257 wolves killed in the latter. Both states exceeded their legal quotas. In Minnesota, 17 extra wolves were killed by hunters and trappers. And six extra were killed in Wisconsin, where hunters are able to use dogs to track and kill wolves.
“The true number of wolves killed as a result of this season will never be known because when wolves die as a direct result of the hunt, other non-targeted wolves will die or never be born," says Dr. Maureen Hackett, M.D., the founder of the wolf advocacy group, Howling For Wolves.  "These extra 17 wolves this year and 13 extra in last year’s hunt are like a slap in the face to those who value the wolf, which is a vast majority of Minnesotans."*
"We will never know how many wolves there really are in Minnesota, since wolves are killed all the time by poachers, vehicular accidents, disease, malnutrition, and inter-wolf strife, none of which are calculated by the DNR," Hackett adds. "The DNR's failure to follow its own Wolf Management Plan continues to endanger the wolf, the only original wolf population in the lower 48 states." 
After the 2012 wolf hunting and trapping season, Minnesota's wolf population was estimated to be at its lowest since 1988, while the average pack sizes have declined with every survey since 1977. And now the wolf packs are the smallest ever with  4.3 wolves per pack. “The hunt fragments what is clearly a dwindling family size that needs each member to survive,” Hackett notes.
Despite opposition to the wolf hunting and trapping season by the majority of Minnesotans in both 2012 and 2013, the hunt continues to decimate the wolf population. In a 2012 DNR poll and an independent 2013 poll, the majority of Minnesotans oppose the hunt. *
The first hunt in 2012 saw 413 wolves killed by shooting, and the indiscriminate methods  of  baiting, snaring, and trapping, which sent the population to 25% below 2008 levels.  Last winter’s (early 2013) count saw the lowest number of wolves since 1988. 
"By failing to establish a strong, scientific baseline while not factoring in the incidental kills -- plus neglecting to support non-lethal methods available to farmers and ranchers in wolf country -- the state puts the wolf in a very precarious position that could lead again to its extinction," Hackett says. "That's why we need to act with an abundance of caution. "
"Once again, we've proven how good we are at killing wolves in America. We need to suspend this recreational season and pursue measures that ensure the Minnesota Gray Wolf – and by extension, all lower 48 wolves do not become  endangered again. The Minnesota population’s survival means the survival of  the lower 48 wolves since wolves have been virtually eliminated in nearly every state already. "
Howling For Wolves Website:
For more information -- or to interview Dr. Hackett about this issue -- please contact her at the number above, or Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications Co., 612-220-6515,
*DNR and Independent Surveys Reflect Minnesotans Opposition to Wolf Hunt
In a 2012 DNR online survey and an Independent 2013 survey, Minnesotans value wolves and do not want them hunted or trapped.
79% of DNR survey respondents opposed shooting, trapping and snaring wolves. 
79% of Minnesotans believe wolves are an asset that should be protected for future generations*.
66% of Minnesotans oppose the use of traps and snares to hunt wolves*. 
66% of Minnesotans believe a recreational wolf hunt is unnecessary if people already have the right to kill wolves to protect themselves and their animals*. 
*Independent statewide survey of registered voters conducted by Lake Research Partners, Spring 2013


December 31, 2013