It's no secret that Michigan's Upper Peninsula has wolves, but how is the population doing?

1240 WJIM AM logo
Get our free mobile app

Michigan Wolves


Gray wolves flourished in Michigan prior to 1838, they were actually everywhere in the state. When more European settlers began to set up living in the Mitten state, wolves were discovered to be a problem for livestock and small animals so some were shot and killed, bounties were put out, and others were trapped. At the same time, most of them were actually poisoned because it is hard to get close to a wolf because of their sense of smell. The population was wiped out in the process.

Wolf Sitting on the Stone in Autumn Forest.
Veronika Dvo?ÃÂÃÂÃÂákovÃÂÃÂÃÂá/ThinkStock/GettyStock

In 1991, because of the Endangered species Act for Wisconsin, the wolf population in that state began to grow to the point that wolves began migrating to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Soon, a wolf pack was confirmed in the state, and plenty of new offspring was born each year that followed.

Four wolves in fresh snow in the mountains

Before the Upper Peninsula began to rebuild its wolf population, in 1958, wolves were put on Isle Royale and have since been the largest study of wolves around the globe.

How Is Michigan's Wolf Population Doing Today?

Grey wolf in the forest

WOOD reported that the gray wolf population is stable in Michigan. According to data that was collected by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources the are an estimated 631 wolves with roughly 136 packs containing about 4 or 5 in each group. This number of wolves is consistent with the amount of food, water, land, and breeding numbers.

Timber wolf in winter

The only real detail that stuff out for this most recent DNR survey is where the wolves were located in the U.P. Some populations went down on the west side of the U.P. while the populations on the east side grew. Since these animals live based on food sources and competition their whereabouts will shift from time to time.

So to answer the question, how is the wolf population in Michigan? It's exactly what it's supposed to be.

9 Animals That Are, Surprisingly, Legal to Own in Michigan

Michigan's Deadliest Animals & Critters

You may have even seen a few of these in your home or around the state.