Gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula are a step closer to being hunted this fall.
For many years, the Gray Wolf was on the endangered species list. Now, there are an estimated 687 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. That’s far more than is needed for the wolves to have a viable population, according to state wildlife biologists.
“When you look at 687, it’s probably not the appropriate number to look at in context of ‘Do we need public harvest to resolve conflicts?’” says Adam Bump, a specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
By ‘conflicts’, Bump is referring to attacks by wolves on livestock animals in the U.P. Those attacks have risen as the gray wolf population has grown.
State wildlife officials plan to study the data and decide this Spring whether a wolf hunt is warranted.
J.R. Richardson is the chairman of the state Natural Resources Commission. He promises a thorough review to see if a wolf hunt is needed.
“We know it’s an emotional issue,” says Richardson, “At the end of the day, we want to do it with the science, based on that we’ll set up a management plan and we’ll go forward.”
Critics say there is no need for a hunting season because it’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that threaten dogs or livestock.