Posted at: 01/03/2013 4:05 PM
Updated at: 01/03/2013 6:24 PM
By: Travis Dill
Minnesota's first wolf hunt is officially closed.
The DNR closed the state's northwestern zone after sunset on Thursday. It is the largest and final zone to close in Minnesota, but the DNR scheduled the hunt through the end of January.
“You know it's a new season for all of us. It's hard to know. That's how it worked out,” DNR Wildlife Manager Chris Balzer said.
Statewide hunters have reached the quota of 400 wolves.
That is something many didn't expect because wolves are so elusive. Representative David Dill spoke about that in October before the season opened.
“There's about a 1 percent success rate out in the western states in hunting, in terms of hunting,” Dill said.
Dill authored the bill that established the hunt and has experience hunting the animal in Canada. But now the numbers seem to contradict that thinking.
“We reached the quota before the season ended so that makes it seem like it was very successful, and it was successful,” Balzer said.
Balzer said the quota can paint the wrong picture. 6,000 people signed up for the hunt, and only 400 wolves were harvested.
“That means 93 percent of the people weren't able to get a wolf so it wasn't like it was easy for people,” Balzer said.
And he said the quota protects the wolf population. He even offered a positive view on the closing of the hunt.
“To bring an animal back from where it was, you know, years ago to be able to have it as a game species again and have a successful hunt. I think it's a success story,” Balzer said.
Wisconsin hunters also reached their quota of 115 wolves ahead of schedule. The Wisconsin hunt closed late last month.
Future wolf hunt seasons are expected to take place in both states, but the DNR in each state will determin that after looking at data from this season.