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Minn. wolf management program overturned by federal judge

The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association says it will do what it can to restore the state's former wolf management program. The state's Department of Natural Resources announced on Dec. 19 that, effective immediately, Minnesotans no longer can...

The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association says it will do what it can to restore the state's former wolf management program.

The state's Department of Natural Resources announced on Dec. 19 that, effective immediately, Minnesotans no longer can legally kill a wolf except in the defense of human life. The announcement was in response to a federal judge's decision to reinstate federal endangered species protection for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The wolves now have the same protection status they had before they were removed from the endangered species list in January 2012.

Minnesota ranchers welcomed the 2012 action, saying it was a good and necessary step to protect their animals from depredation. The state DNR subsequently began a wolf management plan that included giving ranchers in the northwest more latitude in dealing with wolves that pose "an immediate threat" to their livestock.

"The DNR and other agencies we have worked with agreed that the wolf matter was in a good spot," says Tim Nolte, president of the Minnesota cattlemen's group. "Our members also agree, the Minnesota DNR has done a great job of working toward controlling the wolf population and allowing protection of valuable livestock."

Minnesota cattle producers will continue to work with elected officials and state and federal agencies on what should be done next to control the state's wolf population.

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For now, all depredation of pets and livestock should be documented with the local conservation office, the Minnesota cattlemen's group says.

For more information, visit www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/disaster/wolf.aspx .

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