MN DNR Wolf Management Plan

  • BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2136355

    This was released a couple weeks ago, and I’d encourage everyone to enter their feedback. The plan itself is about 37 pages with another 13 of notations/bibliography.

    My two cents on the plan is that the DNR is not accurate in their population assessment with minimal growth over the last decade to an estimated 2700 wolves currently in the state, their territory assessment (ends basically from Cambridge to Fort Ripley to just north of Fergus Falls) is incorrect according to trail cam and community info I see regularly, the current population greatly exceeds the 1992 USFWS population recovery goal of 1251-1400 wolves state wide, and generally the plan seems subservient to the tribes and Twin City activists who do not believe a wolf hunt should ever take place again.

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/wolves/wolf-plan.html?fs=e&s=cl

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136358

    There have been wolves in Sartell and a farmer by St Stephen apparently ran over a den with the pups in it while swatting hay last summer or the summer before. Didnt take out any of the pups apparently.
    The DNR also says there are no resident Mountain Lions too.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13985
    #2136367

    The Star Tribune had very long detailed article about wolves in MN not long ago. It was almost an entire section and I read most of it.

    I do think that the overall population is larger than 1992 recovery goal too. If I remember correctly the estimated population in MN now is about 2700.

    There’s really nothing we can do as individual states in the Great Lakes Region until the federal government removes them from the Endangered Species list again, and keeps them there. The courts keep putting them back on the list after they are removed. What Wisconsin did recently, having a hastily put together February wolf hunt, and going way over a quota, is not how it should be done. The other issue in Wisconsin is that they are hunted with dogs and that is a far more successful strategy that is not legal in other states.

    I would like to see a lottery drawn, quota-based hunting and/or trapping season here. I’ve never seen a wolf in the wild and there’s a chance I never will. If I remember correctly the average success rate for hunting one in MN when we had a season years ago was about 5%. While I do think they are an essential part of the landscape, they still need to be managed properly.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2136370

    There have been wolves in Sartell and a farmer by St Stephen apparently ran over a den with the pups in it while swatting hay last summer or the summer before. Didnt take out any of the pups apparently.
    The DNR also says there are no resident Mountain Lions too.

    Yeah, pretty common to see them around Sartell/St. Stephen now, and have another friend who regularly gets them on trail cam by Parkers Prairie (just north of Alex, SE of Fergus).

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 10714
    #2136375

    The DNR also says there are no resident Mountain Lions too.

    I know people love to jump all over the DNR for this mountain lion thing and portray it as the DNR lying and/or denying the sightings and photo/video evidence. The DNR does NOT deny (nor have they ever denied) that there are (at times) mountain lions in MN.

    They are following an established definition of “resident” that defines a resident as having established a breeding territory and reproducing population within the state.

    From the DNR’s website:

    “The cougar – sometimes referred to as a mountain lion or puma – was found throughout most of Minnesota prior to European settlement, though never in large numbers. Today, they are rarely seen but occasionally do appear.

    While evidence might suggest the animal’s prevalence is increasing, the number of verified cougar observations indicate that cougar occurrence in Minnesota is a result of transient animals from the Western Dakotas.

    In addition, DNR annual scent-post and winter tracking surveys have recorded no evidence to suggest the possibility of a resident breeding population of cougars in Minnesota.”

    As far as the draft wolf management plan goes, the range estimate is probably essentially accurate from what I’ve encountered. Again, I don’t seen anywhere in the report where they say wolves NEVER cross the territory line, but rather the range is the area in which packs are known to CONSISTENTLY occupy.

    I have no idea whether the population estimate is accurate or not, but I will say their overall population estimates over time track almost exactly with the years where we had peak wolf activity on trail cams on my farm near Hinckley. I’m sure part of the issue is that it is damn difficult to get wolves to sit still in the middle of a field or a frozen lake so they can all be counted.

    What I want is for the DNR to have the full right without Federal court interference, to manage wolves to the best plan that can be established as the DNR does with EVERY other species in MN right down to sparrows and crows.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2136381

    Again, I don’t seen anywhere in the report where they say wolves NEVER cross the territory line, but rather the range is the area in which packs are known to CONSISTENTLY occupy.

    My issue is the DNR has been made aware of the packs around Sartell/St Stephen, including pups as CaptainMusky mentioned, and don’t update it. And this has been for years, I think the first sighting was over 5 years ago. And as far as population goes, they estimate no population increase for basically the last 20 years, which again is not only illogical but provably false if they took any sort of public input/trail cam info. I spend a lot of time in Nevis, where we never used to even hear wolves 15 years ago, and now you hear them regularly North, East, South and West and I’ve seen multiple wolves in the Paul Bunyan State Forest just north of Nevis in the last 5 years where, again, we never used to even hear them.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136476

    I know people love to jump all over the DNR for this mountain lion thing and portray it as the DNR lying and/or denying the sightings and photo/video evidence. The DNR does NOT deny (nor have they ever denied) that there are (at times) mountain lions in MN.

    Grouse, with all due respect, the DNR will deny the resident mountain lions until they are blue in the face. The reason being is they were BROUGHT here in a good amount of numbers intentionally to reduce the deer population essentially forced by insurance companies. They constantly say they are young males, yet there was a roadkill South of Bemidji that was a breeding age female just a few years ago.

    glenn57
    Participant
    cold spring mn
    Posts: 9824
    #2136517

    yea but will the DNR listen and take into account our input???????/

    Red Eye
    Participant
    Posts: 849
    #2136521

    2700 wolves in the state. I think the dnr counts wolves like they count elk in northern mn and walleyes in Mille Lacs.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2136523

    The reason being is they were BROUGHT here in a good amount of numbers intentionally to reduce the deer population essentially forced by insurance companies.

    Do you have any info or links to support this? I have never heard that before.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136525

    Do you have any info or links to support this? I have never heard that before.

    I dont unfortunately, but I believe it was posted here before, but cannot come up with it anymore. It was reported from a closed door meeting back when there was a Wolf hunt and the topic of Mountain Lions came up and a DNR person actually admitted it.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 17877
    #2136526

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>TheFamousGrouse wrote:</div>
    I know people love to jump all over the DNR for this mountain lion thing and portray it as the DNR lying and/or denying the sightings and photo/video evidence. The DNR does NOT deny (nor have they ever denied) that there are (at times) mountain lions in MN.

    Grouse, with all due respect, the DNR will deny the resident mountain lions until they are blue in the face. The reason being is they were BROUGHT here in a good amount of numbers intentionally to reduce the deer population essentially forced by insurance companies. They constantly say they are young males, yet there was a roadkill South of Bemidji that was a breeding age female just a few years ago.

    No offense but I really think that is an old wives tale because it is so outrageous and unbelievable.

    Reef W
    Participant
    Posts: 2084
    #2136530

    Well since this is now a mountain lion thread… I don’t think there is some conspiracy about hiding their existence. The DNR lists all the verified sightings here: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/cougar/cougar_verifications.html They just say there is no confirmation of a breeding population as far as I know. The first episode of Beargrease podcast was about mountain lions in southern states and the biologist they interviewed was pretty informative about how far they travel. I’ve also read that one that had its DNA sampled from scat in Minnesota got hit by a car and killed in Connecticut, it’s wild how far they can roam.

    For wolves I think there are probably a few more than they say but the plan seems pretty reasonable. For a population of 2700 it says the harvest level consideration is “10-20%” which, on the high end, is a lot more than I thought they would even consider were a hunt to happen again. I believe the feds currently kill up to about 180/yr in MN. Personally I don’t care about the ability to hunt wolves just for the hell of it and am more interested in what the impact would be on other things like moose. If the wolf population gets knocked down there will presumably be more deer and moose calf survival but will more deer equal more moose dying of brain worms they get from deer? I don’t know how that would all play out and think it’s a more important consideration than hunting wolves just for the sake of being able to.

    Chris Messerschmidt
    Participant
    Minnesota
    Posts: 567
    #2136538

    I have a pack of 6 from what I can tell from trail camera pictures and video. That’s just the most I have counted in one picture/video at a time.

    Always know when they’re making the rounds because the deer disappear.

    The wolves hung around all winter long and I never once got any deer photo’s.

    While I hate the dumb things, its cool to see the patterns they have in timing and how much they DO NOT care about people.

    My dad was out working in the garage making a bunch of racket and I was on the phone with him and got a notification of a picture from my camera which is around a 100 yards from where he was working. I looked and told him the wolves are out running around pretty close at 11am.

    I have some pretty cool video and photo’s.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136541

    Yeah they are interesting animals for sure. When they start getting too comfortable around humans is when your concern level should start raising.

    Chris Messerschmidt
    Participant
    Minnesota
    Posts: 567
    #2136544

    Yeah they are interesting animals for sure. When they start getting too comfortable around humans is when your concern level should start raising.

    I literally have never seen one yet with my own eyes and neither has my parents up there. Only on camera.

    We carry up there and don’t let the dogs run.

    The neighbor down the road had a mountain lion on his camera and within a couple of days of that photo, his golden retriever disappeared. Unfortunately we think the mountain lion got him. I have never gotten one on camera but basically everything else.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136546

    I have seen 3 wolves in person. 1 off the Gunflint Trail, the other 2 were around Bemidji. One was just last Fall where it ran across the road in front of my truck as we were going scouting for deer hunting.
    That is a bummer about the dog. No doubt the dog would try to protect family or property at their own demise. I hear so many stories of guys hunting rabbits/grouse and their dogs having a run in with wolves (mainly in the UP) and it not ending well.

    Reef W
    Participant
    Posts: 2084
    #2136552

    Pretty much anywhere I put cameras around my cabin I get wolves. Attached a few of the recent ones before I took them down for summer. One of these pictures has a video where two more come through right after so there’s at least three unique ones. I’m pretty sure there’s more but I’d have to study all my pictures a bit. I’ve seen tracks in the snow through the yard, picked up hair-filled poop in the yard, and got them on cameras visible from cabin but I’ve still never seen one myself. I don’t really want to since I always have two dogs with me. I don’t let them run too far from the cabin and don’t let them out at night without Alpha collars that have GPS and lights. Not sure if the lights would do anything or not but at least I know where they are at all times.

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    Don Meier
    Participant
    Butternut Wisconsin
    Posts: 1485
    #2136561

    I live in the heart of wolf country . Over the years multiple neighbors had live stock killed . Had a wolf come onto my basement patio ,was a few feet from back door when lab went nuts trying to get him . Have found numerous deer carcass , wolf killed on our property . They hunt my food plots . Sure there is a place for wolves , just not where I live ! Coyotes are bad enough have an abundance of them also , i call BS on those who say Wolves will displace coyotes . They both exist on the same ground .

    gizmoguy
    Participant
    Crystal,MN
    Posts: 754
    #2136566

    Had one run in front of my deer stand last season. I hunt the Isanti/Kanabec county line. Not sure if it affected the hunt as we had standing corn in all the fields. I know that affected my hunt. Saw one about 15 years ago while working on my stand prior to the season. It had 3 pups following.

    Red Eye
    Participant
    Posts: 849
    #2136587

    And actually I’m not really sure there are any wolves in the whole state. I think they are just big coyotes and should be treated as such. Varmints.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13985
    #2136654

    Nice trail cam photos Reef! Where about is your cabin?

    I have never seen a mountain lion or a wolf. I have hunted for 28 years every firearms deer season in the Chippewa National Forest for days on end in November. I would love to see either one in the wild. I have seen bobcats, fishers, and black bears while deer hunting there.

    One time I did hear howling in the distance as I was walking to my stand in the dark. That got my attention. I’ve also seen wolf tracks in the snow. They are both extremely elusive predators and if you’ve seen one, consider yourself lucky.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 9603
    #2136656

    I have hunted for 28 years every firearms deer season in the Chippewa National Forest for days on end in November. I would love to see either one in the wild.

    What part of the Chip? I’ve been surrounded by them with just my bow while hunting by Remer before, and as I stated before seen a wolf a few times in the Paul Bunyan during deer season.

    glenn57
    Participant
    cold spring mn
    Posts: 9824
    #2136661

    My home away from home is the Chippewa national forest. Just north of bowstring and Jessie lake!!

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 13985
    #2136662

    What part of the Chip? I’ve been surrounded by them with just my bow while hunting by Remer before, and as I stated before seen a wolf a few times in the Paul Bunyan during deer season.

    About halfway in between Remer and Leech Lake.

    Sadly, that 75 year tradition of hunting up there is done as of last year though. We don’t have enough people to fill a 10 person cabin anymore so I won’t be hunting there for the foreseeable future. But that is another topic for another day.

    Reef W
    Participant
    Posts: 2084
    #2136665

    Nice trail cam photos Reef! Where about is your cabin?

    I have never seen a mountain lion or a wolf. I have hunted for 28 years every firearms deer season in the Chippewa National Forest for days on end in November. I would love to see either one in the wild. I have seen bobcats, fishers, and black bears while deer hunting there.

    One time I did hear howling in the distance as I was walking to my stand in the dark. That got my attention. I’ve also seen wolf tracks in the snow. They are both extremely elusive predators and if you’ve seen one, consider yourself lucky.

    Embarrass. You can especially tell they’re all over the place once it snows, couldn’t walk more than 5 minutes in any direction without coming across tracks after a fresh snow. The property next to mine got a mountain lion on camera about 2 years ago but I haven’t got one myself or heard about another one since then and that guy has something like 40 cameras out.

    I heard bringing some donuts to Sawbill Landing is a good way to see some wolves: https://wtip.org/people-feeding-wolves-donuts-leads-to-closure-of-camping-area-near-the-sawbill-trail/ lol

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 17614
    #2136667

    I heard bringing some donuts to Sawbill Landing is a good way to see some

    People really are dumb.

    Michael Best
    Participant
    Posts: 780
    #2136722

    There is a very logical reason why the population of wolves in Minnesota could be stabilized.
    I am sure everyone here can figure out what that reason is.

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