A very well-attended meeting to discuss the delisting of the gray wolf was put on by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday in Brainerd.
I do not have the final count on attendance, but the room was packed with citizens at large and people from various groups, especially agriculture. A representative from Congressman Pete Stauber’s office, as well as state Reps. John Poston, Josh Heintzeman , Dale Lueck, Brian Johnson, Nathan Nelson and myself also were on hand and expressed concerns from our districts on wolf depredation.
I personally spoke with folks as far away as Hillock, Minn., and far into the Arrowhead region of the state.
Estimates show there are around 2,900 wolves in Minnesota. I do question the area where they took their numbers from and personally know there are packs outside these areas.
In northern Minnesota, we hear of livestock kills on a regular basis. But, at Tuesday’s meeting, there also were more stories of household pets being killed. The wolves appear to be expanding into heavier populated areas of the state as well. We know from state DNR statistics wolves are a big part of the decline in moose in Minnesota.
The proper management of predator animals is crucial not only for the protection of livestock and pets, but the safety of humans as well. Over-population of animals has reduced their fear of humans. Only last week a black bear was not 50 feet away from my grandchildren who were playing in their yard.
Although I could not get a confirmation, I have been informed the DNR has transplanted around 300 bears from the metro area to northern Minnesota.
Management of predators needs to be taken seriously. Allowing their over-population is irresponsible.
Thank you to the USFWS for taking time to come to Brainerd to hear our concerns. The comment period on delisting is open until July 15. I encourage everyone to take time to send their thoughts by visiting http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.
State Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston