Once Minnesota's wolves are removed from the federal endangered species list, some residents have questions about how this change will affect what they can legally do to protect their livestock and pets from wolf depredation.
Following are a few frequently asked questions about wolf management in Minnesota.
How will wolves be managed under the state plan?
The state wolf plan is designed to protect wolves and monitor their population while giving owners of livestock and domestic pets more protection from wolf depredation. It splits the state into two management zones (1.28 MB) with more protective regulations in the northern third, considered the wolf's core range.
Similar to federal regulations, the state plan allows anyone to take a wolf to defend human life. Any wolves taken must be reported to a DNR conservation officer within 48 hours, and the person who took the wolf must protect all evidence.
What will change under the state plan?
State regulations allow harassment of wolves that are within 500 yards of people, buildings, livestock or domestic pets, to discourage wolves from contacting people and domestic animals. Wolves cannot be attracted or searched out for purposes of harassment, and cannot be physically harmed.
Can I shoot a wolf to protect my livestock or pet?
Once wolves are removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, owners of livestock, guard animals, or domestic animals may shoot or destroy wolves that pose an immediate threat to their animals, on property they own or lease in accordance with local statutes.
“Immediate threat” means the observed behavior of a wolf in the act of stalking, attacking, or killing livestock, a guard animal, or a domestic pet under the supervision of the owner.
Additionally, the owner of a domestic pet may shoot or destroy a wolf posing an immediate threat on any property, as long as the owner is supervising the pet.
In all cases, a person shooting or destroying a wolf under these provisions must protect all evidence, and report the taking to a DNR conservation officer within 48 hours. The wolf carcass will be surrendered to the conservation officer.
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What's the difference between Zone A and Zone B?
Outside the wolf's core range, in the southern two thirds of the state (Zone B), a person may shoot a wolf at any time to protect livestock, domestic animals or pets on land they own, lease, or manage. The circumstance of “immediate threat” does not apply.
A DNR conservation officer must be notified within 48 hours, and the wolf carcass will be surrendered to the conservation officer.
How will we ensure the wolf population is maintained?
The plan establishes a minimum population of 1,600 wolves to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota. If the population falls below the minimum, the DNR will examine reasons behind the decline and adjust wolf management accordingly. The population will continue to be monitored through population surveys every five years. The endangered species act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor wolves in Minnesota for five years after delisting to ensure that recovery continues.