On February 19, Representative Lislegard (DFL) of Aurora, Minn., introduced House File 3903.

This bill has two goals: to mandate an open wolf season once the gray wolf is federally delisted and to establish the Northeast Deer Management Taskforce to develop effective and timely policies to increase deer populations in the northeastern part of the state. 

The bill is co-authored by Rep. Skraba (R) and Rep. Johnson (R). The companion bill in the Senate, SF3988, introduced on February 20, was authored by Senator Hauschild (DFL) from Hermantown, Minn.

The Northern Minnesota‚Äôs deer population has declined in recent years. These bills provide a common-sense solution to one of the many factors contributing to this decline: predation. While there are a number of natural predators of the white-tailed deer; including bears, coyotes, bobcats, and wolves; the gray wolf is currently the only species we do not actively manage. 

The target recovery number for wolves in Minnesota was set by the US Fish and Wildlife Service at 1251-1400 wolves. The DNR expanded that goal to 1,600 wolves. Current estimates put the Minnesota wolf population at 2,700-2,900 wolves, approximately half of the entire population in the contiguous US. The Minnesota wolf is more than fully recovered and active wolf management must resume as soon as possible.

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association wanted to thank Representatives Lislegard, Skraba, Johnson, and Sen. Hauschild for leading the charge in this effort. They said the bipartisan support for these bills marks a significant milestone in the fight for responsible wolf management in Minnesota.