Quick thinking saves hunter, dog from wolf during grouse hunt

Populations of gray wolves, such as these seen in Yellowstone National Park, have recovered to the point the animals are are legally hunted in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Hunting season are expected to begi this year in Minnesota and Michigan.

The wolf hunting season has not officially begun in Minnesota, but a hunter had to make a rapid decision to either take the wolf or get himself or his dog mauled.

On a ruffed grouse hunt last week near Park Rapids, Minn., an unidentified hunter and his dog were tracking the birds when a wolf entered their vicinity.

“The dog ran back to the hunter with the wolf on its heels,” State Conservation Officer Sam Hunter told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The hunter shot the wolf at about eight yards as it was coming directly at him and his dog.”

Officer Hunter said the hunter used a shotgun loaded with birdshot to kill the wolf. Because killing a wolf to protect yourself, livestock or pets is permissible by law, the hunter will not be cited.

Immediately after the incident happened, the hunter called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to report it. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there were only 12 wolves killed by livestock or pet owners in the past year, making this a rare occurrence.

Wolf hunting is allowed in Alaska, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. In January, federal officials removed Great Lakes wolves from the endangered-species list, a move that spurred Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin lawmakers to draft bills establishing hunts.

Wildlife officials estimate there are now 700 wolves in Michigan and 850 in Wisconsin. About 3,000 roam Minnesota, the largest wolf population in the lower 48 states.

Michigan’s hunt legislation is pending, but Wisconsin’s season is scheduled to start Monday. Minnesota’s season is on track to begin Nov. 3.


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