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Game and fish bill to full House

Published (3/30/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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A potential Minnesota wolf hunting season could be debated by the full House after the House Ways and Means Committee approved the omnibus game and fish bill March 28 on a divided voice-vote.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar), HF2171 includes a $26 license for the opportunity to take one wolf — the same cost as a deer hunting license. Hunting seasons for both animals would be held simultaneously.

Prospective wolf hunters would pay a

$4 fee to enter a lottery to receive a license. Up to 400 wolves, less than one-seventh of Minnesota’s estimated wolf population, could be taken, under the bill.

By comparison, the Department of Natural Resources reported that 192,331 deer were harvested during the 2011 hunting season.

Other bill components include limiting minnows imported into Minnesota to “containment facilities” to minimize the threat of the small fish escaping into state waters.

That language was included because some minnows look just like small silver carp, an invasive species that has been found in the Missouri River and several South Dakota rivers and streams. Minnesota officials fear invasive carp could escape from containment facilities in that state and invade Minnesota waters.

The bill also contains language allowing for the electronic sale of hunting and fishing licenses if the state government shuts down. A fiscal note for the bill indicated that the DNR lost $2.2 million in license sales during the three-week 2011 government shutdown.

Road authorities would be given authority, under the bill, to kill beaver that are causing damage without first notifying a DNR conservation officer, as is currently required, and would give the DNR authority to temporarily drain shallow lakes to help control invasive species.

A companion, SF1943, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the full Senate.

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