Will The Michigan DNR Allow The Hunting for Gray Wolves Again?
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources could allow hunting for gray wolves if the federal government de-lists the species again.
Michigan Gray Wolves
At one time in the 1800s wolves were all over the state of Michigan. There were wiped out in the Lower Peninsula by 1935 and just about completely gone from the Upper Peninsula by the early 1970s.
Michigan gray wolves are a beautiful animal and a big part of the ecosystem in the Upper Peninsula. They are also at the top of the food chain. Yes, wolves eat bears. Now depending on how big the bear is and how many wolves are involved this could be debated but for the most part when wolves are hunting in a pack, often a Michigan black bear can wind up being dinner for the pack.
Wolves are also on Isle Royal and their job there is to manage the moose herd. The wolves do pretty good there but the problem has been keeping the wolf numbers up but that is a whole other story.
Today, there are roughly around 700 wolves living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They do a good job and managing the deer herd and bears but when they find livestock, that is when they become a problem.
Gray Wolves and Livestock
Two wolves and a little lamb, it doesn't seem like a fair fight right? To a wolf, a flock of sheep in a pen is equal to us humans and a buffet. A wolf doesn't know that they are costing the farmer money, they see it as an easy meal. When you have to hunt for your own food to survive, come on, who doesn't want an easy meal.
My best friend Curt lives in the Upper Peninsula and he has seen his share of gray wolves and lives near some farmers that are not too happy with the wolves when they attack their livestock.
Should Hunting Wolves Become Legal Again?
According to MLive, those who like to hunt want to be able to help manage the wolf herd by having a season but those who oppose hunting would rather us humans learn to live side-by-side with gray wolves.
The farmers with livestock are left in between the gray wolf management battle between hunting advocates and those who do not want the animals hunted.
I am an avid hunter in the state of Michigan, but I only hunt what I plan to eat and for me, the wolf is not on the menu. It doesn't mean the animal should go unchecked by the DNR. I think the DNR should be more forthcoming on the number of wolves that are needed for the ecosystem of the U.P. A hunting season doesn't really make sense unless the numbers are way off.
I think the compromise would be for the DNR to work on a case-by-case matter with farmers who are having wolf problems. If the DNR released the numbers they need to manage the herd they could determine whether to bring in some professional wolf hunters to take the right numbers in the areas of farmers in the spring when they are the most problems for livestock instead of a fall hunting season. This would allow a focus on the problem wolves and allow the other ones to do their jobs in the wild.
If the federal government de-lists the protection of gray wolves the DNR says a hunting season is possible for the state of Michigan. I'm not sure this would be the solution to the actual problem in the long run until we get the number of wolves they feel the U.P. needs or doesn't need.