We used simple linear regression to analyze 8-23 years of data on a wolf (Canis lupus) population and human harvest of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) bucks in northeastern Minnesota to determine any effects of wolves on buck harvesting. Over the long term, wolves accounted for at least 14-22% of the inter-year variation in buck harvest in the region, but an unknown amount of variation in hunter effort may have obscured any more precise estimate. For part of the area with poorest habitat, we found strong inverse relationships (r2 = 0.66-0.84) between annual wolf numbers and buck harvests from 1988 to 1995 when hunting pressure was considered relatively constant. However, in better habitat, where our buck harvest sample was larger, we found no evidence of wolves influencing buck harvest. Our findings tend to confirm the suitability of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's deer harvest regulations for a sustainable yield.
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Do wolves affect white-tailed buck harvest in northeastern Minnesota?