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DNR hears debate on a potential wolf hunt

Most people at the meeting were in favor of wolf management while several spoke against it
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - The room was packed for the Michigan DNR Wolf Management Advisory Council’s first meeting.

The group will give recommendations about how to manage a growing wolf population which could include a hunting season. On Wednesday, in Ishpeming, the advisory committee heard passionate debate.

“When are we going to start managing the population,” asked one resident in favor of wolf management. “When are we going to stop talking and actually do something?”

“Wolves are intelligent, aware and social animals who self-regulate their population,” said another person against a potential wolf hunt.

Most in attendance are in favor of wolf management. Many arguing that wolves killing deer has led to fewer successful hunting seasons. Others claim wolves help decrease car-deer crashes.

Michigan DNR numbers show in 1992, the state’s wolf population was just 20. Now, it has grown to at least 600; all in the U.P.

Earlier this year, wolves were officially taken off the endangered species list in nearly every state.

“It is the opinion of the department of natural resources that wolves have met and exceeded the biological recovery goals that would have necessitated protection,” said Dan Eichinger, Michigan DNR Director.

At the meeting Republican lawmakers including Senator Ed McBroom, Representative Beau LaFave and Representative Greg Markkanen all voiced support of a hunt.

Wolf management in Michigan is guided by the state’s 2015 plan which is currently being updated. The new plan is what the council will eventually give final advice on around May of next year.

The DNR says who those recommendations go to will depend on what kind of management is recommended which could include lethal and non-lethal options.

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