MARQUETTE - As part of its recommendation development process on a potential wolf hunt, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division will survey residents in four Michigan communities this month, including Marquette.
Four meetings have been set - two in the Upper Peninsula and two in the Lower Peninsula - to provide information to the public and answer questions on wolf management and then survey attendees on their opinions about the potential of a wolf hunting season.
"The public input we receive through this survey will provide valuable information as the Wildlife Division develops its recommendation on wolf hunting for consideration by the Natural Resources Commission," said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. "We encourage anyone interested in learning more about wolf management and a possible wolf hunting season to attend these meetings to have their questions answered and participate in the survey."
All of the meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. local time. The Marquette session will be Wednesday in the Michigan Room at Northern Michigan University. An additional U.P. meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood.
Previously, the DNR had tentatively planned to hold another meeting in Newberry. That session has been removed from the schedule because of the potential for additional meetings later this spring. Dates and locations for any more meetings will be announced once determined, the DNR said.
In addition to the U.P. meetings, the DNR will hold meetings March 19 in Gaylord and March 21 in Lansing.
DNR officials said the meetings will include a presentation by DNR Wildlife Division staff on wolf management techniques, including the potential use of public harvest as a management tool as prescribed in the state's Wolf Management Plan, which was developed through consensus by a roundtable of stakeholders representing a wide variety of interests related to wolf management.
Following the presentation, DNR staff will hold a question-and-answer session with members of the public. Meeting attendees will also be asked to participate in a survey regarding the possibility of the use of wolf hunting as a management tool in Michigan.
In January 2012, wolves in Michigan were removed from the federal list of endangered species. In December, wolves were declared a game species when Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 520 of 2012.
After that, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission directed the DNR Wildlife Division to perform a series of tasks to develop a recommendation on whether a wolf hunt should take place and if so, what the parameters of the hunt should be.
The NRC holds the exclusive authority to set hunting regulations for game species in Michigan.
The DNR Wildlife Division recommendation development process currently under way includes completing a wolf population survey; compiling a thorough review of documented wolf conflicts, including depredation of livestock and pets; meeting with the Wolf Management Advisory Council to discuss a possible wolf harvest aimed at resolving conflicts; providing public input opportunities at meetings and through written comments and conducting government-to-government consultation with tribal governments.
The DNR's recommendation on a wolf management hunting season will be presented to the NRC for consideration no later than June.
For more information about attending the meetings, contact Bump at 517-373-1263. To learn more about the state's wolf population and Wolf Management Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/wolves.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.