Wolf - Western Great Lakes
Midwest Region


Map that outlines the 8 states of the Midwest Region: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.


Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Summary of Minnesota's State Law Pertaining to Wolf Management


HF 3046, as passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Ventura


Contrary to much discussion in the media, this law is not a wolf management plan. It changes existing state statutes to give the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the authority necessary to manage gray wolves, specifies how wolves may be legally taken in Minnesota, and requires the development of a wolf management plan. It does not include any wolf population goals, habitat protection features, or population or health monitoring requirements; these presumably will be included in the wolf management plan the DNR is directed to develop. Most of the provisions of this bill can be implemented by the State only after Federal delisting of the gray wolf has been completed.


Management Plan.The Departments of Natural Resources, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, shall develop a wolf management plan with the goals of (1) ensuring the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, (2) reducing wolf-human conflicts, (3) minimizing wolf depredation on livestock and domestic pets, and (4) manage the ecological impact of wolves on their prey and other predators.


Compensation. The owner of livestock killed by a wolf, or livestock so injured by a wolf that they must be destroyed, shall be compensated at the fair market value of the animals.


Zones. Minnesota is divided into Zone A and Zone B. (Map of zones, courtesy of MN DNR) Zone A consists of Wolf Management Zones 1-4 in the Federal Recovery Plan for the Eastern Timber Wolf and is roughly the northeastern one-third of Minnesota. It is estimated that about 90 percent of Minnesota's wolves are in Zone A. Zone B is identical to Wolf Management Zone 5 in the 1992 Federal Recovery Plan and includes about 64 percent of the State. (In earlier versions of this legislation these zones were called the Gray Wolf Zone and the Agriculture Zone.)


Taking of Wolves.The taking or harassment of gray wolves in Minnesota is allowed as follows. (Taking of wolves in any other manner is a gross misdemeanor.)


1. Taking in defense of human life - Wolves may be taken by any person anywhere in the State in defense of the person's own life or the life of another person.


2. Harassment to discourage wolves from contact or association with people or domestic animals - Wolves may be harassed anywhere in the State if they are within 500 yards of people, buildings, dogs, livestock, or other domestic animals. Injuring wolves is prohibited. Wolves may not be purposely attracted, tracked, or searched out in order to harass them.


3. Taking to eliminate immediate threat to livestock, guard animals, or domestic pets - Wolves may be taken anywhere in the State by the owner or the owner's agent if the wolf is in the act of stalking, attacking, or killing livestock, guard animals, or domestic animals and pets (in the case of a pet, the wolf may be taken only by the owner of the pet). Livestock or guard animals must be on property owned, leased, or occupied by the owner of the animals. Domestic pets must be under the supervision of the owner. Following such taking of a wolf as a result of threats to livestock or guard animals, the county extension agent shall recommend livestock best management practices that are needed to prevent future depredations; carrying out those practices is voluntary.


4. Taking to protect animals in Zone B - Wolves may be taken in Zone B at any time to protect a person's livestock, domestic animals, or pets by (1) shooting them on land owned, leased, or managed by the person or by (2) employing a certified predator control trapper, who may trap wolves on such land, or within one mile of such land.


5. Taking in Depredation Control Areas - If wolf depredation (mortalities) on livestock, domestic animals, or pets is verified and if the owner requests wolf control, the DNR Commissioner shall open a predator control area, not exceeding a one-mile radius, around the depredation site. Taking of wolves in the depredation control area must be done by state-certified predator controllers, who may be paid $150 by the State for each wolf taken.


In Zone A - The depredation control area is open for up to 60 days, and can only be reopened if additional wolf depredation is verified.


In Zone B - Verified wolf depredation (mortalities) of livestock, domestic animals, or pets within the previous five years can open a predator control area for the remainder of the calendar year. The owner can request reopening the area in subsequent years if still within five years of the verified depredation.


Cooperative Agreement with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services. DNR may develop an agreement to have USDA Wildlife Services control problem wolves, conduct training for state predator controllers, and perform other functions.


Reporting Wolf Takings. All takings of gray wolves, except as done by certified predator controllers, must be reported to a conservation officer within 48 hours, and all evidence must be protected.


Public Hunting or Trapping.There will be no open season for the trapping or hunting of gray wolves for five years following the Federal delisting of the gray wolf, and then only after public comment.


Hybrid and Captive Wolves. Wolf-dog hybrids may not be released. Captive wolves may not be released without a permit from the DNR


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Last updated: October 15, 2018