Michigan's first regulated wolf hunt is now underway

Nov 15, 2013

The season will run from Nov. 15 until Dec. 31 — unless 43 of the state’s estimated 658 wolves are killed before the end of December. That’s the limit set by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

But MDNR officials suggest that the odds will not be in the hunters’ favor.

According to MLive’s John Barnes, the MDNR estimates “no more than 3 percent of wolf hunters will be successful.”

If one of the state’s 1,200 registered hunters bags a wolf, they’re expected to call the DNR and report their kill. The kill will then be reflected on their website. The numbers will be tallied in a graphic that looks like this:

The tally of wolves killed in each region as of 6am, Nov. 15.
The tally of wolves killed in each region as of 6am, Nov. 15.
Credit Department of Natural Resources

Wolves are allowed to be hunted in three regions of the Upper Peninsula, all located in portions of Gogebic, Baraga, Houghton, Ontonagon, Luce and Mackinac counties. Each region has a limit for how many wolves can be killed within it:

The three regions permitted for wolf hunting in Michigan.
The three regions permitted for wolf hunting in Michigan.
Credit State of Michigan

The three zones were chosen due to “problematic” wolves in the area — wolves killing dogs or livestock - accordign to MDNR.

An investigation from MLive, however, revealed that several of the anecdotal pieces of evidence for wolves endangering communities has been based on misinformation. The MDNR says the decision for a hunt was based on more than these stories that turned out to be false.

Before each hunter begins their hunt, the law requires them to call the MDNR to check and see how many wolves have been killed in their zone.

If the limit is reached, that region is closed for the season.

These regulations, of course, don’t include the number of wolves illegally hunted in the state. Poaching and illegal wolf killings have been present in the U.P. for years. Interlochen Public Radio's Bob Allen reported on the poaching problem in 2011.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom