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Michigan Wolf Hunt Discussed by Hunters, Trappers, and Anti’s

April 25th, 2013

At the April meeting of the Wolf Management Advisory Council (WMAC), a group created by Public Act 520 of 2012 (the Wolf Management Law), members were brought together to submit recommendations to the Natural Resources Commission and Michigan Legislature on the management of wolves.

Rather than waste our time and breath debating (once again) among groups diametrically opposed on the issue of public harvest, the DNR had a facilitator lead a discussion and exercise to draw out what the groups’ perspectives were on the potential consequences (both positive and negative) of the wolf season proposal currently before the NRC and scheduled to be acted on at their May 9th meeting.

The WMAC was also asked to prioritize these potential consequences that they would like to emphasize in their report to the NRC.

Among those consequences of a public wolf harvest, the most popular one cited by attendees was that a wolf season would  increase the “social carrying capacity” of wolves for the benefit of wolf conservation. Several members of the WMAC believe that hunting and trapping (which will lower the human-wolf conflicts and localized population) will actually both help with tolerance of wolves and garner more support for their conservation.

Sounds like a win-win to us!

  • Tim

    How many wolves do we have in Michigan? I love hunting and fishing. But.. lets have a hunting season on tame dogs that have been in the wild too long. I bet people have missed reporting these dogs as wolves…

    • Dan Macut

      …perfect example of why we need to leave the management of our wildlife to those who know what they are talking about…our highly trained wildlife biologists.

      • Bruce Welnetz

        Sure sounds good but the biologists are being muzzled. Look at the Deer management plan…DNR made scientifically sound recommendations which were rejected.

        • Andy Evans

          If we are talking antlerless quotas, IIRC the only county where NRC overruled the biologists was Roscommon Co. – due to the actions of a couple of activists (one a State rep). The DNR has propsed taking just over 40 wolves in 3 problem areas – sounds like a good balanced approach.

          • Bruce Welnetz

            We already have tools to remove wolves in problem areas. Taking 40 wolves can actually cause more problems, not less.

          • huntgk

            You really believe that Bruce???? That is truly flawed science

          • Bruce Welnetz

            Where is YOUR science that hunting reduces conflicts? I would love to read it. Please post a link as I did earlier that showed wolf hunting is essentially based on hate (which isn’t science) – Hunting will reduce populations (but the goal, according to DNR is to reduce conflicts) And, DNR admited it may not. How will hunting wolves in prime habitat, reduce depredations on farms? DNR is just making an educated guess regarding which packs may be responsible.

          • John Caretti

            It’s been working fairly well with respect to black bears….

          • Ryan Simon

            I live in lower Michigan Bruce, and I can tell you that nearly everyone I talk to about this doesn’t want to hunt wolves out of hate at all. It’s about having another quarry to be able to hunt, especially one that will be not all that easy to be able to pursue. Maybe it’s hate up there where you guys are directly affected, but don’t lump everyone together. And hunting will absolutely reduce conflicts on farms. Wolves from the ‘prime’ habitat traverse miles a day. So you can’t say that wolves do not come across farms and snag an easy meal. In any case, no one is restricting hunting to only the remote areas of wolf country. People with tags will go where the wolves are. Also, as wolves are territorial, some packs and lone wolves may continue to be forced to more urban interfaces as a result of an increasing population. I realize the DNR has pressure and influence, but they do have success stories, and happen to be the best bet we have for population data and regulated hunting guidelines…

          • John Caretti

            We do? What might they be? Non-lethal methods have already been tried in these areas and haven’t worked. And if you want my tax dollars to be used to pay the USDA to come in and shoot or trap them my answer is “No”. I’m tired of tax money being spent to pay for things that could be done for free or that could actually raise money from people willing to spend it.

        • John Caretti

          Really? I talked to our wolf biologist and he thinks this hunt is the right thing to do….

    • Bruce Welnetz

      The population has stabilized over the past 2 years – there are about 658 wolves.

      • William Fries

        SAYS WHO??To believe the population has stabilized @ 650 over the past couple of years is to believe in the tooth fairy! Do you ever travel the wild places in the UP in the winter? What is your “social carrying capacity”-1000?

        • Bruce Welnetz

          Yes, I live in “wolf country” – WMU A to be exact – I own dogs, I hunt and fish. I eat what I kill. I just don’t see the reason to hunt wolves. It gives reasonable hunters a bad name.

    • William Fries

      Yeah, right Tim, tame dogs gone wild – what planet have you’ve been living on – sounds like LSD.
      Why don’t you think about taking your valuable gun/pet dog for a walk anywhere in the UP & observe wolves rip it’s guts out & enjoy their lunch?

  • Bruce Welnetz

    I thought MUCC supported the use of science in wildlife decisions? May want to read this study Essentially
    hunters of wolves showed little inclination to conserve
    I suport the removal of problem wolves, but it needs to be done when there is a conflict. Saying that “several members believe” is opinion not science.

    • rork1

      “which will lower the human-wolf conflicts” also didn’t have any data behind it I think.
      When you’ve got evidence, you point to it. When you don’t, you line up anecdote and testimonial. It’s famous in medical quackery.

  • Andy Evans

    Keep in mind that USDA has been shooting problem wolves in the U.P. for years now. Why not let hunters do the same work for free – and gain a few license dollars for more CO’s and more habitat work? Seems like yet another win-win.

    • Bruce Welnetz

      Because it isn’t an either or situation. USDA will still be killing problem wolves; livestock owners will still be given permits and DNR/USDA will still be implementing non-lethal measures. Most livestock depredations occur during spring calving. Hunting will take place in the fall. Also, if you read the fiscal analysis for hunting wolves, it will not be a money generating activity. Hunting a species at such a small scale will be very expensive…will need additional monitoring of the population, need to handle the call-in lines, need to register each animal killed, need to insure not overharvested (which is very likely with low quotas) One other important point…hunting is not likely to reduce the depredation for several reasons…packs not involved with depredation will be hunted, and if the packs involved with depredation are killed, other wolves are likely to move into the territory.

      • John Caretti

        Huh? According to the DNR’s Wolf Biologist they spent about $240,000 over two years ($120,000/yr) studying and managing wolves. The licenses to be sold will raise $120,000/year. While it may not cover everything, it’s a lot better than taking hunting license dollars away from the management of game species and using it for a protected species.

        And in case you didn’t know it Bruce, the DNR’s fish and wildlife management work is primarily funded by hunting, trapping and fishing license dollars and the matching Pittman Robertson Funds.

  • Milt Clark

    The DNR has been using controlled hunting for elk for many years with much success. In this case, hunting is just a tool to manage excess or problem animals. It’s hard for me to believe that folks would prefer to go against what wildlife professionals recommend. Why not see what happens. Removing 40 animals from a population of nearly 700 really doesn’t seem too excessive. I’m sure that at least that many are born every year. I think balance would be the key.

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