Michigan DNR Seeks Feedback on Wolf Management

Public asked to weigh-in on the future of the gray wolf in the Wolverine State.

Michigan DNR Seeks Feedback on Wolf Management

The Michigan DNR will use public input as part of the process for developing a new wolf management plan in the state. Photo: iStockphoto/mirceax

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is focusing its attention on the future of the gray wolf in an effort to update the current management plan that was penned in 2008 and updated in 2015. Public comment via an online survey is encouraged through Jan. 31, 2022, to develop a management course for this apex predator in response to its growing population and recent delisting from the federal endangered species list. 

The current management plan was developed using extensive public input to identify important issues and assess public attitudes toward wolves and their management and by reviewing the biological and social science relevant to wolf management. The four principal goals within the 2015 plan are to:

 

Maintain a viable wolf population

Facilitate wolf-related benefits

Minimize wolf-related conflicts

Conduct science-based and socially acceptable management of wolves

 

The plan and, more specifically, these four principal goals have guided wolf management in Michigan for the past 13 years, according to the DNR. The 2022 update will include recent scientific literature and new information regarding wolves in Michigan. 

“As we work to update the 2015 wolf management plan, it’s important that we gather feedback from the public about how we can improve the plan to protect the long-term health of wolves while also meeting the needs of local communities,” said Cody Norton, DNR large carnivore specialist. 

Michigan’s gray wolf population was nearly eliminated by the mid-1970s due to persecution and active predator control programs in the early part of the 20th century. Today, Michigan’s wolf population numbers are estimated at close to 700 individuals in the Upper Peninsula. Gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list in early 2021, a decision that is currently being challenged in court. 

While Michigan does not currently have plans for a wolf hunting/trapping season, their removal from the endangered species list opens the door to that possibility and the management plan will address methods of minimizing wolf-related conflicts. The Michigan Wolf Management Advisory Council met August 4, 2021, in Ishpeming, located in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Public input was heard from people for and against establishing a state wolf hunt, according to Michigan’s TV6-Fox affiliate. Most people at the Ishpeming meeting favored wolf management, including several state legislators who were there, according to TV6. Some attendees argued wolves negatively affected the whitetail deer population. The Council will advise the state on wolf management plan, including a possible Michigan hunting season. 

Those interested in providing feedback regarding an undated wolf management plan in Michigan should complete the online survey by January 31.

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