MARSHALL - The second phase of the first-ever regulated wolf hunt in Minnesota is scheduled to open Nov. 24, and those not lucky enough to win a chance in the lottery to purchase a wolf hunting or trapping license will be able to buy unclaimed licenses Monday - if they get a good spot in line.
According to Dan Stark, large carnivore specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 187 unsold hunting licenses and 130 trapping licenses will go on sale at noon on Monday.
About 23,000 people applied for a total of 6,000 licenses to be chosen by lot; 3,600 for the early season and 2,400 for the late season. About 600 lottery winners failed to claim their licenses for the early hunt, which went on sale on a first-come first-served basis.
"They were gone in five minutes," Stark said.
The early hunt began Nov. 3 in three zones of northern Minnesota roughly north of Minnesota Highway 95 in the eastern part of the state and north of Interstate 94 in the west.
Wolves, which had been on the endangered species list since 1974, were taken off early this year for the third time, in a controversial move that angered animal rights protesters.
Marshall resident Brad Strootman didn't win in the lottery but waited in line at Borch's Sporting Goods and was lucky enough to get a license.
"There's two reasons why I applied," Strootman said. "We hunt in a wolf area and for four or five years someone in our party has seen one. The other reasons is all the work the DNR, state legislators, biologists and scientists put in getting the wolf taken off the endangered species list and re-established as a game animal. It was a way of sticking out your tongue at the animal rights people I get so weary of."
Strootman didn't bag a wolf this year though. But he said that's OK.
"The majority of wolves taken as an incidental trophy to deer hunting," Strootman said.
On Nov. 15 two of the three wolf hunting zones closed when their quotas were met. According to the DNR website, the 59 wolves were harvested from the north east zone, out of a target of 58. In the east central zone, eight were harvested out of a target of nine. The northwest zone remained open as of Friday, with 62 wolves taken out of a target of 133.
"We're not trying to manage wolves and don't have a population objective," Stark said. "We have a minimum population of 1,600 wolves but we're not trying to reduce their numbers to that."
The late season was scheduled at a time of year the pelts of fur-bearing animals are thickest and will allow trapping as well as hunting. The late season concludes Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, provided late season harvest targets in each of Minnesota's three wolf zones are not met. Unsold licenses can be purchased at any outlet that sells hunting licenses or online at the DNR website.