The first Michigan wolf hunt in 53 years had only half of its intended quota met this year.
As of Friday, 23 wolves have been killed. The hunt ends on Tuesday.
1,200 hunters participated in the special season that had a quota of 43 wolves. The Michigan wolf hunt was limited to specific hunting zones in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
We first started to follow the Michigan Wolf Hunt in September, as it represented a unique approach to predator hunting. Only four additional wolves were harvested since Wide Open Spaces last covered the hunt earlier this month.
“We were able to pull this off using a system unique at least for Michigan,” said wildlife biologist Brian Roell of the DNR’s Marquette office, in the Detroit News. “We’re the first state that went to a very small quota in specific zones.”
Differing Reasons for Low Kills
Wolf conservationists and hunters differ on the reasons for this season’s low numbers.
Some hunters blame the extreme cold temperatures in the Upper Peninsula hunting zones for keeping hunters out of the woods.
Another reason for the low numbers could be Michigan’s wolf hunting regulations. Compared to nearby states Minnesota and Wisconsin, Michigan has a relatively conservative wolf hunting season. Minnesota and Wisconsin have higher kill quotas and allow hunters to trap and use wolf bait. The Michigan wolf hunt restricted hunters to wolf calls and stalking.
Wolf conservationists are claiming that wolves do not pose the threat to humans to the level deserving of a hunting season or kill quota, and that the elusive animals avoid human contact. Stories of wolf attacks on livestock partly inspired the hunting season.
Shortly after the New Year, Michigan DNR officials will work with biologists to do an annual wolf count, and help determine the future of wolf hunts in the state.