The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) earlier this week approved a limited public wolf harvest in three distinct regions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The decision followed a process of dedicated conversation with the public and experts, along with a thorough review of the pertinent science.
"The recovery of Michigan's wolf population has been a remarkable success story," said Natural Resources Commission Chairman J.R. Richardson. "Today's decision by the NRC supports ongoing scientific management of this game species, just as voters intended when by an overwhelming margin they approved Proposal G in 1996.
“The public harvest proposal approved by the commission ensures the long-term presence of wolves while providing a valuable tool for managing conflicts between wolves and human populations. This is a thoughtful, science-based decision."
The commission adopted the regulations during its regular monthly meeting, held in Roscommon. The regulations establish a limited harvest of 43 wolves in three areas of the Upper Peninsula where wolf-human conflicts — including depredation of livestock and pets and human safety concerns — have been persistent despite employing a number of control measures.
Michigan's wolf population has grown significantly since 2000, with a current minimum population estimate of 658. The target harvest is not expected to impact the overall wolf population trajectory, based on published scientific research.
"This decision was the culmination of a long and thorough process by the NRC," said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Keith Creagh. "The DNR will continue to work closely with the commission to be certain that Michigan's wolf population is managed according to the principles of sound science."
The regulations create three Wolf Management Units (WMU):
WMU A in Gogebic County in the far western Upper Peninsula — target harvest of 16 wolves;
WMU B in portions of Baraga, Houghton, Ontonagon and Gogebic counties — target harvest of 19 wolves; and
WMU C in portions of Luce and Mackinac counties — target harvest of eight wolves.
The 2013 wolf season will open Nov. 15 and will run until Dec. 31 or until the target harvest for each WMU is reached. The bag limit is one wolf per person per year. Firearm, crossbow and bow-and-arrow hunting and trapping (foothold traps only, with an outside jaw spread of 5.25 inches to 8 inches) will be allowed on public and private lands.