MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - State officials have asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to reject an attempt by animal welfare groups to block the resumption of wolf hunting in the state.

Attorneys representing the Department of Natural Resources say the lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves is without legal merit.

The lawsuit contends the DNR did not allow for adequate public comment before it issued regulations for the state's first wolf season since the animals came off the endangered list. It seeks a preliminary injunction to stop the season from opening Nov. 3.

But attorneys for the DNR counter in a response filed late Tuesday that the agency received extensive public comments, and that fears the hunt will harm the state's wolf population are unfounded.

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