To the editor:
The Minnesota Legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow hunting and trapping of 400 Minnesota wolves each year. Minnesota had a five-year plan in place to study whether the hunting of wolves could be done sustainably. However, certain members of the Minnesota Legislature are attempting to ignore the established plan and instead allow the trapping and hunting of wolves less than one year after their removal from the endangered species list. This is being attempted without any accurate study of the effect this hunting season will have on the Minnesota wolf population. The last actual count of the number of wolves in Minnesota was conducted in the winter of 2007-2008.
Wolves are known to keep the wilderness habitat healthy for the forest ecosystem. The Minnesota DNR claims it doesn't have the funding to control the deer browsing of trees in Northern Minnesota, yet they are proposing to kill at least 400 natural predators of whitetail deer each year by allowing the hunting of wolves. Trapping wolves is also inhumane. Animals often suffer greatly in the traps before being put down. Scrolling half-way down the website "earthfirstnews.wordpress.com" it shows a recent picture of a U.S. Forest Service employee smiling as he poses for a picture in front of a crippled wolf that has been suffering in a trap. Wolf traps are also not specific to wolves, so other animals such as dogs are injured and killed in these traps.
The government has spent millions of dollars over the past 40 years to bring the wolf back from the brink of extinction to a fraction of the territory they once occupied. This issue deserves a closer look instead of opening a season on 400 wolves a few months after they were removed from the endangered species list. The Minnesota Senate will soon be considering Senate file 1943, which is the Omnibus Game and Fish Bill. This bill currently contains a provision for wolf hunting and trapping.
An amendment will be proposed the week of April 16 to remove wolf hunting from the bill and to reinstate the original five-year plan. More information on this legislation can be found at the website "howlingforwolves.org." If you support this amendment I encourage you to contact your legislators and the governor's office this week.