ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota wildlife managers say fewer wolves are being shot or trapped for predator control.
Department of Natural Resources wolf specialist Dan Stark told a legislative hearing Tuesday the number of wolves killed because they were preying on livestock fell from 295 in 2012 to 127 last year.
Stark attributed the decline to the mild winter of 2011-12. He says wolf depredation on livestock tends to increase during mild winters that make it harder for wolves to hunt deer.
The hearing room was packed with opponents who want the state to suspend wolf hunting and trapping, which resumed in 2012. Opponents questioned the accuracy of the state’s estimate of the wolf population of 2,211 as of last winter.
Minnesota hunters and trappers killed 413 wolves in 2012 and 237 last year.