2012-08-09 / Outdoors

Fish Report

I thought you would be interested in the information I received from a party in Wisconsin.

The state Department of Natural Resources has received 3,277 applications for wolf hunting permits in the first two days of the application period, which started Wednesday. By noon Wednesday, just a few hours after the agency started taking applications, the DNR had already received 1,800 permit requests, according to Scott Loomans, a DNR spokesman.

“I guess we really didn’t know what to expect,” Loomans said. “But it sounds encouraging. We’re hoping to get as many applications as we can.”

Loomans said the agency did not yet have a breakdown of how many applications were from in state and how many were from elsewhere. The controversial wolf hunt is scheduled to begin Oct. 15 and run through Feb. 28, 2013. The agency has set a statewide quota of 201 wolves out of a population of about 800.

The DNR could issue as many as 2,010 permits, but the season would be shut down once the quota is reached, according to agency wildlife officials. Permits will be good for any of the six management zones set up by the DNR.

Quotas are different for each zone, with quotas higher in those areas where wolf predation on livestock has been a problem. The final number of permits will not be known until the Chippewa tribes declare how many wolves they intend to kill. The tribes, under their treaties, are entitled to half of the wolf hunting quota in the ceded territory — about the northern third of the state.

The final number of permits will be set at 10 times the statewide quota once the tribal quota is subtracted. Based on wolf hunts in other states, agency wildlife experts expect about 10 percent of hunters with permits to actually kill a wolf. The DNR will be accepting applications for wolf hunting permits through the last day of August. A drawing the first week of September will determine who gets permits.Loomans said the agency expects to announce the results of the drawing the second week of September.

The hunt has been controversial because the wolf was just removed from the endangered species list in the last year. Also, because the state Legislature set many details of the hunt, the DNR has had little control over how the hunt will be conducted, other than setting quotas. The law setting up the hunt allows hunters to both trap and shoot wolves, attract wolves with bait and hunt at night. Most controversial was a requirement that hunters be allowed to use dogs, making Wisconsin the only state where dogs can be used to hunt wolves.

Do we need a wolf season here in Michigan? An article written by Outdoor writer Marty Kovarik was titled Eight Wolves killed in the City of Ironwood. His article started out saying, “Working as an agent for the state of Michigan, U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service personnel killed eight gray wolves in Ironwood between March 5 and April 5. The wolves belonged to two packs that had become habituated to people, and were being seen inside city limits at an increasing rate. The DNR deemed them a threat to human safety.”

The problem with the increase in wolves has become a real problem in the western end of the U.P. in the last few years. People had wolves coming right into their yards when wildlife came around their bird feeders. People walking their dogs were seeing wolves and one party even found a deer that had been killed by wolves too close to people’s houses to feel very comfortable.

It seems they were getting to the point that they lack that fear of humans that would be there under normal conditions in remote wild areas. One party reported that they saw wolves within 10 yards of their door that ran off when they turned the lights on. The next morning they found a deer carcass they had been eating on. Before the home owner had a chance to remove it the wolves came back and finished eating it.

A person can get a permit to shoot a wolf in the case of livestock damages and even that rule has been made easier to work with on account of the ever increasing problems with wolves. In some cases the farmers no longer have to wait until after the fact that some of their livestock has been killed to shoot a wolf. “If a wolf is killed under a permit, the farmer cannot move the carcass without taking photographs of it and the surrounding area and must contact the DNR as soon as practical, but no later than 12 hours after the wolf was killed. If a wolf is shot while attacking a dog, the carcass cannot be moved at all.”

People are told, “The best thing to do if someone kills a wolf in the act of preying on livestock or a dog is to leave the carcass where it is until DNR personnel arrives,” Roell from the DNR stated.

So far (at the time of the article I read), 69 wolves have been killed either by the DNR or USDA since wolves returned to Michigan. Fifty were causing livestock damage and 19 were deemed human safety threats.

Is Michigan going to have a wolf season? There are those that feel the time has come and there is a movement in the legislator to see this happen.

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