Wolf population decreases, but no significant change from 2013

The results of Michigan’s 2014 wolf population show no significant change in the number of wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, wildlife biologists estimate there is a minimum of 636 wolves in the state.

In 2013, the population was estimated at 658 wolves.

“Based on the 2014 minimum population estimate, it is clear that wolf numbers in Michigan are stable and have experienced no significant change,” DNR furbearer and bear specialist Adam Bump said in a press release.  “We also did not see a significant difference in the number and average size of wolf packs as compared to 2013.”

The DNR says in the past few years the minimum population stands between 600 and 700 wolves.

The DNR primarily used a track survey to count the number of wolves, but also used radio-collared wolves and aerial observations.

About 63% of the U.P. was surveyed.

This winter, a wolf management hunt resulted in 22 wolves taken from three hunt units.  The target harvest was 43 wolves.

“The fact that the 2014 estimate is 22 animals lower than the 2013 estimate is purely a coincidence,” Bump said. “We are using an estimate rather than counting all individual wolves on the landscape. In addition, wolf numbers vary greatly within a single year due to the birth of pups in the spring, and deaths from many causes of mortality other than hunting. What the estimate tells us is that the population has remained stable.”

For more on wolf management in the state, visit michigan.gov/wolves.