Michigan Wolf Hunting/Trapping Season? Take Action Now!
January 2, 2013
Now that the wolf has been designated a game animal in Michigan by legislation, the MI Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resource Commission (NRC)will be deciding if there will be a wolf hunting / trapping season.
The Chair of the NRC, JR Richardson, has requested that the MI DNR provide a status update on Michigan wolves at the next NRC meeting scheduled for 1/10/2013 at the MSU Diagnostic Center, Lansing, MI
To view the agenda, go to:
The NRC is accepting comments via email sent to:
Deb Whipple email@example.com
If you would like to address the Commission in person contact Deb Whipple at 517-373-2352 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
Wolfwatcher initiated a petition which to date has triggered 1363 email messages to the NRC and DNR. To sign the petition, go to:
While petitions are good, individual email comments are more effective and we ask that you personalize your comments as much as possible, especially if you have even encountered a wolf. Have you ever visited the U.P. of Michigan in the hopes of seeing a wolf or finding a track or hearing them howl? Are you a hunter who does not support the hunting of wolves?
Wolves belong to all of us; they use our national forests and other public lands. Your voice matters whether you live above or below the bridge, in another state or another country. Wolves do not recognize state or national boundaries. Speak up for wolves!
The NRC meeting on January 10th is just the first of what should be several opportunities to comment on a wolf hunting/trapping season in Michigan. The NRC meets monthly, so even if you cannot submit comments by the 9th, you should still send comments. One criterion the NRC must consider is public support for a hunting season. The DNR will also hold a public hearing once a plan is drafted.
Here are some sample statements for you to use in formulating your comments. Your comments do not need to be long, just a few sentences that convey your opposition to a wolf hunting/trapping season in Michigan.
Legislators failed to use scientific data and refused to listen when facts were presented prior to designating the wolf a game animal. Rather, they relied on opinions of a small vocal minority driven by fear and misinformation. The NRC, however, is required to utilize principles of sound scientific management in making decisions regarding the hunting of wolves.
There is no evidence that wolves are decimating deer populations. By eliminating the sick, injured, weak, strengthen the deer herd. Research indicates wolves may eliminate diseases such as CWD.
With only 700 wolves, in 131 packs, spread across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it is premature to consider a wolf hunting season. MI DNR supports a “limited” wolf hunting season but “limited” has not been defined.
To date, 23 wolves have been legally killed. It must be determined the impact of lethal control will have pack dynamics and population growth. Additionally, nine collared wolves have died from human related causes. Pup survival rates are low. Although the overall population has grown approximately 7% per year, research shows that as prime habitat becomes occupied, wolf populations stabilize. The need to manage wolves is self created and self justifying and is merely an excuse to kill wolves. Wolves self-regulate by prey availability and pack interactions.
The effects of a hunting season must consider population size, age and sex structure, immigration and emigration rates, birth rates, and natural and human-induces mortality rates (Beyer et al 2006).
DNR has said publicly that a wolf hunting season is needed as a management tool, but, DNR already has many tools available to manage problem wolves. The MI DNR has the authority to remove wolves responsible for depredation as well as issue landowner permits. Both livestock producers and dog owners have the authority to kill a wolf in the act of attacking their livestock or dog. Livestock producers are compensated for their losses. There is no evidence to suggest a hunting season will reduce depredations. Randomly killing wolves not responsible for depredation can actually cause depredations to increase.
In 2012, there were a total of 34 depredation events, 38% of which were at one farm. This same farm experienced 57% (2010) and 51% (2011) of all depredations. One absentee producer should not determine whether a hunting season takes place.
The DNR has publicly acknowledged that the combination of non-lethal measures and individually directed lethal control has been effective in reducing wolf conflicts. Therefore, in accordance with the approved wolf management plan, a hunting season is not necessary since the plan states that a hunting season would be considered if these methods were ineffective.
No wolf has threatened or harmed anyone in Michigan. DNR has the authority to remove wolves that have become habituated to people, further minimizing any potential risk to humans.
The approved wolf management plan outlines approaches for managing many wolf-related issues. The approaches were chosen based on scientific evaluation of the potential impacts to the wolf population, their feasibility and their probability of success and because they appear to be acceptable to most Michigan residents. The approaches in the plan were supported by a majority of interested respondents to the 2006 public attitude survey and directly reflect the diverse interests represented on the Roundtable. This plan must be given adequate time to work – one year is simply insufficient.
According to the fiscal analysis presented to legislators, “The establishment of a wolf hunting season would result in new, but indeterminate costs that would likely be offset to some extent by additional revenue from license sales. These costs would be related to the establishment of a wolf hunting season, law enforcement, and administration of the season. It is unknown whether these costs would be greater or less than the amount of new revenue received, so the fiscal impact is indeterminate.”