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Minnesota wolf population jumps 25 percent
By John Myers
A gray wolf looks out from a snow-covered shelter. USFWS photo
Minnesota’s wolf population jumped 25 percent in the past year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday, thanks in part to an increasing northern deer herd.The DNR said its annual survey showed an estimated 2,856 wolves spread among 500 packs, up from 2,278 wolves in the 2015-2016 survey.
Wolf numbers had remained flat for several years before this year’s jump,DNR officials said the wolf numbers are up because there are more deer in northern Minnesota for them to eat. Higher deer densities allow for more wolves, biologists said. Deer numbers in the wolf range are up about 22 percent over last year.
But wolf numbers also have recovered after two years of not being hunted or trapped. Minnesota held hunting and trapping seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014 before a federal judge in December 2014 ended state wolf management and declared the animals again protected.