Environment & Science
12:30 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Fewer wolves than expected have died so far in Michigan's wolf hunt

It’s been a month since hunters took to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to hunt wolves.

So far, the wolves have been doing better than expected.  

Since the start of the hunt, only about 20 wolves have been killed. That's less than half of the 43 wolves state wildlife officials set as the goal to be killed in the hunt.   The hunt ends December 31st. 

Adam Bump is the Department of Natural Resources’ point man on wolves.  He admits he’s not sure why hunters have had more success bagging wolves in some parts of the U.P. than in other parts.

“After the season’s over, and we’re able to do a hunter survey, we’re probably be able to get some more information that will help inform that,” says Bump.

He says lessons learned from this wolf hunt may help wildlife officials plan better for future wolf hunts in Michigan, if there are any future wolf hunts. 

“The number of licenses and technics that could be used….the length of the season…the timing of the season…all of those are things that we could look at to potentially try to achieve our target harvest,” says Bump.

But it is unclear if this year’s wolf hunt will be the first or the only one to be held.   

The wolf hunt has sparked a great deal of controversy  There are even dueling referendum petition drives.  One challenges the state law allowing the hunt.   The other would reaffirm the hunt law.

Supporters say the hunt is needed to protect livestock and pets from the U.P.’s growing wolf population.

Opponents say the hunt is unnecessary and could harm Michigan's wolf population, which was only recently removed from the endangered species list.