In a landmark decision this evening, the Natural Resources Commission approved a limited wolf hunting and trapping season for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. MUCC members have long supported a sustainable hunting and trapping season for wolves.

“Wolves are a conservation success story, with populations having been recovered for a decade.  Having hunters and trappers assist the Department with their management continues the scientific-based framework that has been so successful in sustaining other recovered populations like elk and turkey in Michigan”, said MUCC Executive Director Erin McDonough.

Armed with quality information from a variety of in and out of state wildlife experts, the NRC made some amendments to the season initially proposed by the DNR wildlife staff.

There will be a target of 43 wolves among three management units; the level of proposed harvest and size and location of the units are commensurate with the level of recent nuisance complaints and depredation events.

Commissioner John Madigan, chair of the NRC Wildlife and Fisheries Committee, stated “As with other states that have authorized the public hunting of wolves, we believe that any target harvest level for a first hunt should be conservative….We believe that our recommendation will lead to a pragmatic and flexible program for managing wolves that recognizes the wide range of values people have for wolves.”

In 2013, the season will open on November 15 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 in 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 an area, 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.

The NRC has proposed to offer 1,200 licenses over the counter, and available for sale on August 3, 2013 until October 31, or when ever they are sold out. Proof of a hunter safety certificate or previous hunting license must be shown at the time of purchase. Any legal hunting device, including firearms, archery, and crossbows, will be allowed for hunting as well as the use of foothold traps, on both public and private land.

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.

Logo courtesy Michigan United Conservation Clubs

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