This is an audio recording (with photos) of a two-and-a-half minute segment of the 4/12/2011 meeting of the MN Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee. In this segment, the committee--without significant discussion, and in the absence of opposing testimony--unanimously passes Sen. Gazelka's amendment to the Game & Fish Bill to repeal the wolf-hunt moratorium, a feature of the 2001 Minnesota Wolf Management Plan. In a later completion of this amendment, the gray wolf is classified as a small-game animal, and the scene is set for the recreational wolf hunt to begin ASAP following the delisting of the gray wolf from the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
* MN Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources.
** 4/12/2011 meeting, 3:00 pm.
* Hearing of the omnibus Game & Fish Bill (MN 2011 SF 943)
** Author: Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria).
* Amendment to repeal the 5-year wolf-hunt moratorium
** Amendment author: Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) .
Speakers in order of appearance:
* Senator Dan Hall (R-Burnsville).
* Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria).
* Senator Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa).
* Senator Tom Saxhaug (D-Grand Rapids).
Action taken (and its historical context):
In this meeting, the committee unilaterally modified the MN Wolf Management Plan by repealing its five-year moratorium on the public taking of wolves following the delisting of the wolf from the U.S. Endangered Species Act. At this time, the gray wolf was still listed as "threatened," but its delisting had been anticipated since the mid-1990s, by which time many considered the wolf population in Minnesota recovered and ready for delisting.
The Minnesota Wolf Management Plan was the product of a series of public hearings around the state in addition to the work of the MN Wolf Roundtable, and guidance and legislation from the MN Legislature.
The MN Wolf Roundtable was a group of stakeholders appointed to represent "environmental, agricultural, hunting, trapping, and wolf advocate organizations; government agencies; and private citizens who had specific interest in wolf management issues in Minnesota."
The MN Wolf Management Plan was completed in 2001 by the MN Department of Natural Resources and the MN Department of Agriculture, as required in MN Statute. Part of it is written in Statute, and the remainder is in the published document with the force of Statute.
The principal goals of the MN Wolf Management Plan are to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in Minnesota while addressing wolf-human conflicts. To meet these goals, the plan calls for "an integrated wildlife damage management program that combines animal husbandry considerations, cost-effective nonlethal deterrents, lethal wolf removal, and compensation payments to owners of livestock and dogs."
But listen to this meeting, and hear how easy it is for a group of like-minded legislators, without knowing or talking much about it, to just go ahead and change it.
Source of this recording:
Audio recording by MN Senate Media Services. Legislators' photos added by Scott Slocum to the unedited audio.