Wolves attacked and killed five hunting dogs and a cow in a string of attacks just days apart last week in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The wolf attacks occurred in Chippewa County in the eastern region of the Upper Peninsula. The most recent attack was last Wednesday when wolves killed a hunting dog. Wolves also attacked and killed four other hunting dogs and a cow in two separate attacks on Tuesday and Monday.
According to mlive.com, this is the first time in the state’s records of wolf attacks in the Upper Peninsula that so many attacks on hunting dogs have occurred within such a short period of time.
DNR spokeswoman Debbie Munson Badini said the attacks demonstrate unusual wolf behavior.
“Usually, these sorts of attacks are random, one-time occurrences, so when a pack establishes a repeated pattern of attacks on dogs or livestock, and demonstrates a lack of fear of humans – the wolf in the Schoolcraft County attack came within close proximity of the hunter – that indicates a problem.”
There are a couple theories as to why these attacks have occurred in such a short time. August is training season for hunting dogs, and there are more hounds in the field than other times during the year. August also happens to be a time when wolves are more territorial than usual.
“It is not uncommon for wolves to become more territorial toward other canines during this time of the year, when wolf pups are left at a ‘rendezvous site’ while the adults hunt,” said Badini. “Other canines – such as hunting dogs training for bear or rabbit hunting – that inadvertently come too close to these rendezvous sites may be perceived as a threat by the pack.”
Last week’s string of wolf attacks came in the middle an ongoing public debate over the state’s controversial wolf hunt. This year was the first time the state opened a wolf hunt on the Upper Peninsula to the public. The quota was for 43 wolves, but hunters harvested 23.
Voters will decide whether to continue the hunt with referendums on the November ballot.
What do you think about the latest string of attacks? What is your stance on the Michigan’s public wolf hunt? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.