When the Minnesota House of Representatives inserted last-minute language prohibiting the hunting of wolves into a bill that deals with the finances of the state department of natural resources, it set up a showdown with the state’s upper chamber, the Senate, which has not supported a ban in the past.
The focus on Minnesota senators is even more sharp because Gov. Tim Walz (DFL), has signaled his support for a ban as well. As a Conference Committee of state senators and representatives meet this week to negotiate the differences between the two different versions of Senate File 2314, the bottom line is that the Minnesota Senate holds the key.
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Take Action Today! Minnesota members should contact their senator and ask them to support the removal of the Wolf Hunting Ban in Senate File 2314. Calls are needed to encourage them to hold the line and remove this language. Members can contact their senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
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The hunting ban is a pre-emptive strike by Twin City Rep. Pete Fisher (DFL). Wolves remain federally protected even though Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump have all supported removing the Great Lakes population of wolves from the protections under the Endangered Species Act. Democrat U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has also consistently voiced support for the removal of federal protections, demonstrating that the issue has been bipartisan in the past.
Despite the fact that wolves in that region have greatly exceeded the threshold set for the removal of protections, anti-hunting groups have been successful in persuading several federal judges to prevent the delisting. Rep. Fisher’s amendment is likely a reaction to a recent announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it is planning to once again move forward with a delisting order for wolves throughout the Lower 48 states. If the language remains in SF 2314, the state of Minnesota would preemptively ban a wolf hunt even if it were to be permitted federally and as part of the post-listing management plan.
Even though both the Minnesota House and Gov. Walz favor the ban, the Senate still has the advantage. SF 2314 provides funding for many programs with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which is held up by the impasse.
The Sportsmen’s Alliance and its Minnesota members are calling on state senators to stay strong and refuse to approve the legislation that includes the wolf hunting ban language.
“Minnesota sportsmen weren’t even given the courtesy of a public hearing to discuss this language,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Our only hope now is that cooler heads will prevail and members of legislature will realize how unfair this is to hunters. The bottom line is this – any decision on a wolf hunting season should be made by wildlife professionals, not based on politics.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.