According to figures established by the International Wolf Center in Ely, Mn with data provided by USDA – Wildlife Services, the wolf population in Minnesota was estimated at 2921 in 2008. After one hunting season, this figure was 2211 in 2013 the latest count.
Minnesota wolves that were taken in the hunting and trapping seasons of 2012, 2013, and 2014 (reported to the DNR) were 413, 237, and 148 respectively. In addition, the tentative numbers taken through depredation in those same years were 275, 127, and unknown; while numbers taken through illegal hunting, natural causes, auto accidents … is also unknown. The 1200 that we know were taken, then, is a fraction of those acutally lost since 2012.
Since high concentrations of wolves surround the Babbitt and Ely area where copper mining has been proposed, we have only just begun to understand potential impacts of the proposed mining on lands, waters and wildlife of the Minnesota Arrowhead, how hunting of the wolf is intertwined and what actions we can take to prevent further loss of a priceless wilderness and the apex predator that stands at the forefront of it all.