Should the Minnesota wolf hunt be contingent on a census?

A gray wolf rests on the snow an opening in the forest north of Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. A pilot with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources located the wolf from the air after listening to its radio-collar signal. AP Photo/Duluth News Tribune, Bob King

“A bill sponsored by DFL Senator Foung Hawj will get a hearing in the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Tuesday. It would require the Department of Natural Resources to conduct an annual wolf census as well as assess public opinion on hunting wolves,” writes MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar.

The bill would also ban wolf baiting within 10 miles of tribal lands and require the DNR to produce a map showing where wolves are a threat to livestock.

Maureen Hackett of the group Howling for Wolves says the DNR needs to collect more data on wolf deaths and how the hunting season affects the overall population.

“Once we get this clear understanding of all these factors, we could talk about a hunt, but until then we would suspend the hunt,” he said. “That’s what we’re asking for.”

DNR officials have said wolf population estimates are done according to standard wildlife management principles and that the agency already keeps closer tabs on wolves than most other species.

Today’s Question: Should the Minnesota wolf hunt be contingent on a census?