Minnesota Wolf Hunting

Minnesota House Moves to Ban Wolf Hunting, and the Vote Was Razor-Thin

A razor thin, one-vote margin helped a bill amendment pass in the Minnesota House that would ban wolf hunting.

The only Lower 48 state that never saw a full wolf eradication, Minnesota may reverse procedure and ban wolf hunting, if a recently state House-passed bill continues through the legislature.

The Pioneer Press reports that the ban, proposed by Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, was an amendment to a larger environment and natural resources bill, which passed by a 70-63 vote.

It was a 66-65 vote to pass the amendment.

Now the wolf hunting ban will move to the state Senate, where it's unsure how things will turn out.

Wolf hunting isn't currently allowed, but that could change if the Trump administration follows through on its plans to remove them from the protection that the Endangered Species Act provides. That Federal protection could end if they're taken off the Endangered Species List, and Minnesota could attempt to have a season as early as 2020.

Minnesota was the first state to establish a formal wolf hunting season when it became legal in 2012, and trapping was also allowed. In 2014, when it was ruled that upper midwest states (Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin) had inadequate approaches to wolf populations within their wildlife management plans.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says there are approximately 2,655 wolves in the state.

The typical assumptions surrounding a measure like this is that the urban, left-leaning lawmakers oppose wolf hunting, and rural conservatives are in favor. A closer look, and it's not quite as cut and dry.

Rep. Rick Hansen, a hunter and one of the leaders of the House Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Caucus on hunting-related issues, voted in favor of the bill proposing the hunting ban.

Former Gov. Mark Dayton allowed wolf hunting back in 2014, and U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar has voiced her support, and has publicly suggested a "Governor's Wolf Hunting Opener," according to the Pioneer Press. Both Dayton and Klobuchar are Democrats from Minneapolis.

How current Gov. Tim Walz views the hunting ban is uncertain.