Wolf Management Advisory Council to Make Recommendations to NRC

The Michigan Wolf Management Advisory Council (WMAC) will meet Wednesday, April 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Little Bear Arena, located at 275 Marquette St. in St. Ignace and Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) will be represented on the Council.

The Wolf Management Advisory Council (previously known as the Wolf Forum) was codified under a law passed by the Legislature in December 2012 that reclassified wolves as a game species and directed the WMAC to report its recommendations on wolf management annually to the Legislature and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC). The NRC has the authority to determine whether public harvest of wolves should be allowed and to regulate season structure and method of harvest.

At the April 24 meeting, staff from the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division will gather input from council members regarding a current proposal to use hunting and trapping to manage and resolve conflict issues. Members of the public are welcome to observe the council’s discussions and will have the opportunity to provide written comments at the meeting.

The NRC is in the process of considering the authorization of the hunting and trapping of wolves as a management tool. The NRC may take action on a proposal for the public harvest of wolves in May. The council will develop information at the April 24 meeting to help inform the NRC in preparation for its decision.

For those of you interested in actual facts about the wolf population in Michigan and the hunting and trapping proposal, the DNR Powerpoint Presentation from the April NRC meeting is a good place to start (begins on page 50 of the PDF).

As you can see, the wolf population continues its upward trajectory, although this recent winter’s minimum population count (658 wolves) saw a slight decline from two years ago (687). wolf-winter-pop

(Click image to enlarge)

Another trend that is important to note is the annual population cycle. When the DNR does its count, the wolf population is at its lowest level of the year. The summer population of wolves in Michigan is still over 1,000.


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Armed with this information and a variety of other data sources, the DNR has recommended to the NRC a limited hunting and trapping season with a target of 43 wolves: 16 wolves (down from 21) from Wolf Management Unit A (see link for detailed description and map) in Western Gogebic County, 19 for WMU B (up from 18 in portions of counties in the Western Upper Peninsula), and 8 for WMU C in portions of Luce and Mackinac Counties in the Eastern UP. The level of proposed harvest and size and location of the WMUs are commensurate with the level of nuisance complaints and depredation events.

In 2013, the season is recommended to open on November 1 and go through December 31, or whenever the desired unit harvest is met (which ever comes first). To manage this highly controlled season, a hunter will be required to report successful harvest by the end of the day via a designated phone line and also check it within 3 days to a DNR check station to allow them to collect biological information. Once the harvest is met (or expected to be met imminently) for a WMU, the entire unit will be closed for the season. Licensed hunters will be required to check daily online or by calling in to see if any units have been closed.

Two options are offered to regulate the disbursement of wolf licenses: Option 1 would be a lottery system allowing 1,200 licenses in total (application period would be Aug. 1-Sept 1) and Option 2 would allow licenses to be sold over the counter in advance of the season (Aug 1-October 31). The DNR recommends allowing any current legal hunting device for hunting a wolf, including firearms, crossbows, and bow and arrow. They have also recommended allowing the use of foothold traps, only on private land and checked daily.

As Michigan does with each and every game species and hunting/trapping regulation, the DNR intends to use adaptive management practices, which will evaluate the success of management, population levels, and the amount of effort spent to reach the desired harvest. This information will help to aide them in determining the parameters for future seasons.

MUCC supports the general framework as outlined, but will be providing input on specific aspects as this regulation change moves forward.

For more information about the WMAC meeting, contact the council’s DNR liaison, Adam Bump, at 517-373-1263. To learn more about Michigan’s wolf population and Wolf Management Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/wolves.

  • Bruce Welnetz

    Didn’t WMAC have the opportunity to review the proposal BEFORE it was presented to the NRC? Sure seems as though this process is seriously flawed. The population count is done when the wolf population is at its lowest level is because wolves have very high pup mortality (70-75% of the pups shown in the chart will be dead by winter). In addition, adult mortality is also high (25-30%). When there is a conflict, it needs to be addressed immediately. You must point out this hunt will be in addition to Wildlife Services & landowners killing problem wolves. So, where is the science to support the hunt?

    • Reality22

      Now look at what Paul Harvey would say is “the rest of the story” Page 5 on the link below. The Science is clear but wolf science tends to try make it cloudy…ON PURPOSE.


      Montana’s data is much the same where depredation is down overall since hunting has started.

      Wolf science uses a few big kills on sheep in 2012 as wolf science to pimp its “cause more damage with hunting” theory…quite damn to your no science nonsense.

      • NormMackey

        Yep, I see that page. 2011, 109 depredation incidents, 198 animals; 2012, 122 incidents and 345 animals; 2013 data not in yet. Any effect on livestock of wolf harvest happening in the later part of the year isn’t going to show up until the next year as depredation change.

        • Reality22

          Why Norm is it so important to you to max out the depredations on domestic animals in Michigan?

          Do you get some kind of gratification from seeing wolves kill domestic animals? The bigger question is where has the wolf EVER lived in peace around people!


          Never has this animal lived side by side with people. The 70 animals that were killed and maimed in the year mentioned (in the article) above means that over the lifespan of the wolf (8 years) 560 domestic animals would be killed and maimed at that rate of 70 CONFIRMED Killings and Maimings. As I said the lifespan of eight years and a population LESS than 560 wolves back in 2010 tells us that this animal can have OVER a 100 percent ON AVERAGE chance of depredating on livestock or pet over its life span. Norm hear is interested in having more years like 2010 …. me I’d rather that the wolf be kept at the Wolf management plan levels & hunting will accomplish this.

          • Reality22

            I did want to acknowledge that I used a year where they did have more depredations than other years…..BUT my analysis was done to show you that Norms miniscule comment is bogus Yes, because of the constant law suits for these vermin they have demonstrated that they do not live well around people.

          • NormMackey

            Wolves don’t get along well with one particular remote farm” where cattle are left unattended by humans, and that has accounted for half the predation reported. They get along better with livestock in Michigan around people.

            I don’t see “average chance over life span” as relevant. It doesn’t increase the chance of a problem at any time for wolves to live a particular number of years. You leave the “divide by number of years after adding the total problems in those years together” part out besides, as you admitted, not adding up the totals over years but simply multiplying the worst case year by the number of years. You are not computing a risk that’s meaningful, one might as meaninglessly, but technically correctly, calculate a chance of a wolf causing a problem “over the history of the United States” by multiplying the chance in 2010 by 235. It makes a big number that looks impressive. It doesn’t reduce the number of wolves that never cause a problem. Not that I stipulate an 8-year average hunting lifespan for wolves in the wild, but that’s minor.

            Wolves can’t file lawsuits. The reason for the lawsuits is opposition to changes made removing protections for wolves. It isn’t because wolves are litigious as opposed to, say, the Amish.

          • Reality22

            Ahhh so, proving that wolves have the capacity to depredate at a rate where ON AVERAGE the adult of the species has OVER A 100% chance of killing or maiming someones livestock or pet over its life span means nothing! That year proves they DO have the capacity to do as such in Michigan! Wisconsin’s numbers are even worse! This is one of the reasons that true wolf lovers are abandoning you wolf pimp left and right. The “donate now” crowd don’t give a hoot for they only care about getting the button pressed. And controversy is the best way to accomplish that.

          • NormMackey

            They “have the capacity” by your so-called “statistics” – so “true wolf lovers” must attack wolves pretending that is actually what they have done?

            As, for example, deer should be managed not according to what crop and forage damage they actually do, but according to what someone wishing to minimize the number of deer calculates they could cause as a maximum, multiplied by the number of years the average whitetail lives? No wonder deer were pursued with the intent to destroy them as vermin until protected about twice as long ago as wolves – by calculations like yours they likely “on average” ate several times as many crops as farmers raised in a year. Or could be said to have the “capacity” to do so.

            Your calculations? Yes, you are correct, they mean nothing.

          • Reality22

            Talk about putting your foot in your mouth! …… DEER are NOT managed according to their Biological Carrying capacity! THEY are managed by their Social carrying capacity! http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/WildlifeHabitat/documents/DTR/populationgoals.pdf I shake my head ….. you’re such a bozzo! So Yes, Wolves should be managed by a social Carrying Capacity… Taking into consideration what
            the local people want! Walla…a state wolf management plan! YOU MADE MY DAY!

          • NormMackey

            Reality22, I am fully aware of how whitetails are managed in Michigan. Social Carrying Capacity isn’t going to be a scientifically useful concept for managing wolves or deer either if it depends on whether or not it is an election year.

            More important, since that lower SCC for deer is based on problems caused, deer dispersing more in their habitat as a response to wolf presence, and causing less damage to row and forage crops, orchards and browse, could mean a higher SCC for deer. Even farmers who have had wolf problems in the past admit less deer damage than was tolerated before, offering an option of more deer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/norm.mackey.5 Norm Mackey

    The Annual Wolf Population Cycle graph shows an almost certainly accurate dashed line I am fairly sure is calculated based on wolf litter size, wolf pack size, and minimum yearly wolf population. A trend really essential to note. Most of the population only exists from whelping until before the start of a wolf hunting season’s date, so the number is already near the new minimum by that date.
    But put a dotted line on top with the same calculations, just reducing the size of the wolf packs by hunting individual wolves from them, and see, and let your deer hunting audience see what happens. I think if you use wolf packs half as large, you’ll see the spike go to 3 times the minimum population instead of 2.

    All those wolf pups are small, but only at first, while growing game animals are also small. Meanwhile you’ve doubled the food budget for new wolves. Still, most will have died off to no use by the start of a wolf season, though – will more wolves be left in the spring? I’d like to see the graph…

    • Reality22

      Norm you’re grasping at straws…..

      • NormMackey

        Pardon, Reality22? I didn’t put up the graph above that so well shows the problem that reducing wolf pack sizes would cause. Do you have a problem with calculating the pups in spring as number of wolf packs times an average litter size?

        • Reality22

          wolf science NORM ….. show me an example in HISTORY where allowing more wolves on the landscape decreases depredations!

          • NormMackey

            decreasing wolf pack sizes and increasing the number of pups born is allowing more wolves on the landscape. The point.

          • Reality22

            According to your wolf science Idaho should have been Teaming with depredations after the 2009 hunts. ESPECIALLY when the population slightly increased. YET they were down 40%. Your garbage science comes from people trying to get their books sold……George Wuerthner would be so proud of you!

            see page 5 of the Idaho stats in the link below….enough said!

          • NormMackey

            One thing separating human beings from animals is a sense of time, that allows them to do things like determine a wolf hunt late in a year will mainly affect numbers added up over the next year, change the fates of wolves that disperse in late summer from packs hunted or not in the last, and so on. Try the concept.