BRANDED: Minnesota is the model for gray wolf management
By Rep. Pete Stauber (MN-08)
Western Caucus Members are highlighting the need to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) this week to empower those that know best, including states, private landowners, and job creators, to protect wildlife and live our way of life without the intrusion of faraway bureaucrats. Managing gray wolf populations, for example, is always top of mind for my northern Minnesota district.
Minnesota is the model for gray wolf management. Gray wolves were never extinct in Minnesota, and we currently estimate our population at over 2,700 gray wolves, while the ESA Recovery Plan goal for our state is 1,400. In fact, we have more wolves than the rest of the lower 48 states combined. Only Alaska, the last frontier, has more. And, in 2013, nearly a decade ago, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources removed the gray wolf from its “special concern status,” and held several successfully managed wolf hunts with lottery systems.
The Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden Administrations, along with our very own Department of Natural Resources (DNR), have all agreed: it is a scientific fact that the gray wolf has recovered. According to the below chart provided by the DNR, the gray wolf population is thriving in Minnesota. However, this has not stopped well-funded, radical, activist groups from fighting against science to keep the gray wolf on the endangered species list in Minnesota, putting our deer herd and livestock farmers at risk.
Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Most recently, a liberal California judge, in the bluest state in the nation that’s roughly double the size of Minnesota, yet with 270 times fewer gray wolves in existence, relisted the gray wolves under the ESA, taking away our own power to manage populations.
We have the scientists, know-how, and experience to responsibly manage the gray wolf, including implementing a hunting and trapping season. This is our way of life in Minnesota, and if wolves are above their ESA targets, which they are, federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. or judges in California, should not be able to take away our management powers, just because of their ideological views, or because they want to give favors to radical activist groups.
It’s far past time to get the Federal government out of the way and allow state and local authorities to manage our gray wolf populations.
In order to accomplish this, we need to modernize the ESA. That’s why I introduced the Manage Our Predators Act with my neighbor to the east, Rep. Tom Tiffany, which removes the ability for these judges from faraway places to dictate how we manage the wildlife in our own backyard.
The ESA as it’s written has failed America and its species. It’s instead abused by the wealthy green lobby as a cash fund for lawyers. Although our commonsense bill is a small step forward, I hope we build on this reform to make the ESA work for people and animals once again.
Actions like these are critical to both protecting our species and the livelihoods of the American people.