Biologists Know Best, According to New Wolf Hunt Data
LANSING–The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released new statistics from last season’s public wolf hunt – Michigan’s first – which showed that the majority of wolves taken by hunters were likely from problem packs.
17 of the 23 wolves taken by hunters were taken in pack territories in the Upper Peninsula with high incidents of wolf depredation on livestock or pets. Most were taken within five miles of a depredation incident, according to DNR biologist Adam Bump. DNR biologists know the approximate territories of wolf packs, which aggressively defend their territories from other wolves.
“It’s not surprising to us that Michigan’s professional wildlife biologists used sound science to structure a hunt to achieve specific management goals, and that it likely achieved some of those goals,” said Drew YoungeDyke, spokesman for Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, which is circulating petitions for a citizen-initiated law to protect the DNR’s ability to designate game species using sound science.
“It may have been a surprise, though, to people who were only listening to the anti-hunters when they said that a hunt would decimate the wolf population or that they would be shot from helicopters,” he added. “Our state’s professional wildlife biologists know what they’re doing, and our petition will make sure that they’re the ones making wildlife management decisions, rather than radical out-of-state special interest groups.”
According to the DNR’s memo to the Natural Resources Commission recommending the hunt, the DNR had two primary goals for the hunt. One was to reduce the abundance of wolves in areas with a high number of wolf-human conflicts, like depredations and incidents of fearless behavior. The second goal was, over time, to make wolves in those areas more wary of humans through public hunting pressure.
Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM) is a ballot committee composed of hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation organizations from across the State of Michigan. To request a petition to sign or circulate, visitwww.citizenswildlife.org.