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Published May 28, 2013, 10:40 AM

Groups opposed to Minnesota wolf hunt lose in court

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Groups challenging Minnesota rules for a wolf hunting and trapping season were dealt another blow Wednesday in their effort to stop the practices.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Groups challenging Minnesota rules for a wolf hunting and trapping season were dealt another blow Wednesday in their effort to stop the practices.

Minnesota's Court of Appeals dismissed a petition aiming to undo rules that allowed for a wolf hunting season, the first of which was held starting in November.

The appeals judges decided that the two groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves, lacked sufficient legal standing to challenge the Department of Natural Resources rules.

"It's hard to put into words our disappointment and sense of injustice over this decision," said Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling For Wolves.

The group contended the DNR set its rules in a way that minimized public input. The organization is now evaluating its options for further court action after this second setback, said Hackett, a forensic psychiatrist and former Air Force officer.

Minnesota resumed sport hunting and trapping after the region's wolves came off the endangered species list early last year. Hunters and trappers then killed 413 wolves during the state's first wolf season, which ended in January.

The DNR plans to make decisions about a 2013 hunt this summer after a population survey is completed, said Ed Boggess, director of the Fish and Wildlife Division. Boggess said the agency is committed to balancing the hunt with long-term sustainability goals.

"We manage wolf seasons like we manage seasons for dozens of other game species," he said.

Legislation seeking to impose a five-year moratorium on wolf hunts stalled during the Legislature's just-completed session.

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