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WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 04, 2012, 10:06 PM

Wolf hunting season starts in Minnesota

Lancaster, MN (WDAY TV) -- Wolves in Minnesota turned out to be very elusive on this first weekend of a controversial hunt. As of last night 32 kills had been registered, though 36-hundred licenses have been issued.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ, WDAY

Lancaster, MN (WDAY TV) -- Wolves in Minnesota turned out to be very elusive on this first weekend of a controversial hunt. As of last night 32 kills had been registered, though 36-hundred licenses have been issued.

That's not good news for those who've had trouble with the animals in Northwestern Minnesota.

A growing wolf population has meant trouble for Joe Wilebski, a cattle rancher from the Lancaster area. He believes he lost four cows last year to wolfs, and many more back in 2006

Wilebski : "Lost 26 calves to it. and that is a quarter of my income, and that is a lot to swallow."

Wilebski has done what he can to fight the wolfs, with no luck. Now, he's getting some help from the DNR, trying to bring down wolf numbers with this statewide hunt.

Dan Stark/DNR Wolf Management Specialist: "And wolves are new to that, and we are going to manage them just like we do other species. "

Wolf Specialist Dan Stark says the goal is to reduce wolf numbers by about 400. The current wolf population in Minnesota is estimated to be 3-thousand.

Stark: "In 2011 we had the highest levels ever recorded on those surveys. "

Stark says the hunt won't affect the survival of the species.

Stark: "Be able to specifically evaluate trapper and hunter success to that we can use that to inform (us in) future hunting seasons."

Wilebski does not need permit to shot wolves on his land,

Wilebski: "If I seen one right there right now I could shoot it."

So he will not be taking part in this years hunt but would open up his property to anyone who wants to hunt wolfs.

Wilebski: "Blessings, Blessings." If they start biting your pocket book something has to happen."

2 groups protested the hunt in different parts of the state today.

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