Last December, wolves were declared a game species after Governor Snyder signed Public Act 520. Yesterday, the Natural Resources Commission approved a limited public wolf harvest for sections of the U.P.
Michigan wolves were removed from the federal list of endangered species over a year ago following the biennial survey conducted by the DNR.
“We drive the roads. We put airplanes in the air. We have radio-collared animals out there. We basically go out there and look for tracks. We record the date, the time, the location, the number of animals, and then we come together to make sure we aren’t double counting animals. So the number of animals you see reported is not an absolute number. Rather, it is a minimum known count. There may be more animals out there, but there are at least the 658 we came up with in 2013,” explained Terry Minzey, a DNR Supervisor for the Upper Peninsula Region.
The harvest will be limited to 43 wolves in three designated areas, covering approximately 15% of the U.P. and affecting about 5% of the total wolf population.
A new recordkeeping initiative will ensure wolves presence in the region for years to come.
“We’re going to develop a 24-hour reporting system. It’ll be the responsibility of the hunters to call in and check. We will have a running total on the number of animals that are killed in each unit. As we approach and achieve our goals in those units, they will be shut down. It will then be the responsibility of the hunter to know that unit has been shut down, and to shift his activities to one of the other units or to stop hunting,” Minzey noted.
Wolf hunting licenses will go on sale, over the counter, starting August 3rd. Only 1,200 will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Once those have been purchased, no additional licenses will be issued.