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Minnesota DNR: No wolf season until 2022 at soonest

July 7, 2021 GMT
FILE - This April 18, 2008, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows a gray wolf. As many as one-third of Wisconsin's gray wolves likely died at the hands of humans in the months after the federal government announced removal of legal protections, according to a study released Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)
FILE - This April 18, 2008, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows a gray wolf. As many as one-third of Wisconsin's gray wolves likely died at the hands of humans in the months after the federal government announced removal of legal protections, according to a study released Monday, July 5, 2021. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday it won’t consider holding a wolf hunting or trapping season until 2022 at the earliest.

The agency said in a statement that it’s taking longer than expected to update its 20-year-old wolf management plan, and it’s now expected to be done by March.

“We will use our updated plan as we determine whether and how to use various management tools to ensure continuation of a healthy and sustainable wolf population in Minnesota,” the statement said. “Consideration of whether to hold hunting or trapping seasons will be guided by the updated plan.”

Then-President Donald Trump’s administration in November ended Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the United States, leaving states and tribes in charge of overseeing the animals. Minnesota held wolf seasons from 2012-14 until courts blocked them.

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Some states moved quickly to liberalize hunting and trapping rules. In neighboring Wisconsin, a weeklong season was quickly implemented and then cut short early after hunters and trappers killed nearly double the number of wolves the state had allotted. Bills introduced this year in the Minnesota Legislature would have directed the DNR to hold a wolf season in 2021, but they weren’t included in a final environment funding bill.

The Center for Biological Diversity praised Minnesota for moving deliberately. Collette Adkins, the Arizona-based group’s carnivore conservation director, said the state had “wisely prioritized first updating the management plan to reflect new science and the values of all Minnesotans.”