Four hunting dogs and a cow reported killed in three new wolf attacks; wolf also killed in cattle attackby John Barnes - Click HERE for original article appearing on MLive.com
Wolf attacks on livestock and hunting hounds escalated this past week in the Upper Peninsula, with reports of three events just days apart.
Two reported attacks occurred on Monday and Wednesday in Schoolcraft and Delta counties, according to Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Debbie Munson Badini. A nearby resort owner said two hunting dogs were killed in each attack.
Days earlier, over the weekend in Dickinson County, a wolf killed one cow. The landowner also killed the wolf.
“It feels like a war zone. It’s scary man. It’s crazy,” said Bill Thome, owner of Kenbuck Resort in Schoolcraft County, near where the dogs were killed. He says there have been multiple sightings this summer.
“One was running right down the middle of the freakin’ road."
One of the dog owners, Michael Crippen, a guest at the resort, had two hunting dogs killed on Monday, Thome said. Crippen also had two bluetick hounds killed last fall.
The dog owner witnessed one wolf in the act of Monday's attack, and tried to collar the dog, which was killed.
“They were face to face for quite a few minutes,” Thome said. “One dog was baying up and barking at this big wolf. He (Crippen) could hear brush breaking all around him. They had him circled."
Four other dogs were saved, Thome said.
July 8 marked the beginning of the dog training season, when attacks by wolves on hounds typically begin. There had been no hound attacks prior to this week’s incidents.
In Wednesday’s hound attack, about nine miles from Monday’s, Larry Martin was training his beagles when two were attacked and killed by wolves, Thome said.
“They dragged one of his dogs a mile away and buried it,” Thome said, adding the dog was found because it wore a tracking collar. The incident happened less than three miles from his five-cabin resort, about 18 miles south of Munising.
Thome said Martin told him a wolf pack in the area was on an 11-day cycle, providing him some confidence, but the pack showed up in the middle of the cycle.
The depredation, under routine investigation for verification, would bring total attacks on livestock and dogs to 15 for the year. There are a minimum of 636 wolves estimated in the Upper Peninsula.
The attacks come as conflict over hunting wolves in Michigan is peaking. As many as three proposals could be on the ballot this fall, but lawmakers could make all that moot this coming Wednesday by short-cutting voter input.
Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in Michigan in 2012, opening the door to the state’s first managed hunt beginning Nov. 15, 2013.
But an MLive.com investigation found government half-truths, falsehoods and wolf attacks skewed by a single farmer distorted some arguments for the hunt.
The hunt was of limited success: Up to 43 animals could be killed; less than half that were taken. Eleven were males, 11 females. The median age was 2.6 years; two were more than seven years old.
Two anti-hunt referendums will be on the November ballot. The first was created to stop the hunt. Lawmakers made that question irrelevant by shifting power to the Natural Resources Commission for declaring game species. A second proposal was added by anti-hunt forces to the ballot to trump that move.
The latest pro-hunt initiative would shift the battle back to lawmakers, who could again do an end-around a statewide vote.
The House and Senate are scheduled to return from summer break Wednesday.
If lawmakers approve the pro-hunt initiative, the Natural Resources Commission, with input from state wildlife biologists, would determine game hunts. The anti-hunt questions on the ballot would be moot.
If lawmakers reject the initiative, or do not act, voters will face all three questions Nov. 4.
For more on the wolf attack, click HERE