To the Journal editor:
If the thousands of deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula gun season this year only brought home half as many deer as were predicted, how would the situation be evaluated?
Unless there were extremely difficult circumstances, like continuously blinding snowstorms every day, we would be told, and would go along with, a conclusion that the deer herd wasn't what it use to be.
The probable reasons given would be excessive winterkill, disease, predation, clearcutting etc., not publicized, humongous bait piles in select locations. Feed plots. Multiple permits. Did Grandma really shoot that buck with a crossbow?
Or if I went down to my favorite beaver ponds next summer and, using the same old tactics, failed to catch my usual limit of modest keepers, I would probably accept as fact that the fish simply weren't there. Too many footprints. Litter. Population decimated. I'd go elsewhere.
So when the Michigan wolf hunt, ostensibly based on sound science, targeting known problem wolves, lasting many weeks, including deer season, with good tracking weather, using bait and scent and rifles capable of hitting a beer can hundreds of yards - three football fields away, with 1,200 licenses sold or given away for political reasons, all intended to "harvest" 43 problem wolves - but producing only half that number - under nearly ideal conditions - how does the Michigan Department of Natural Resources evaluate their hunt.
"Initial wolf hunt results indicate problem packs successfully targeted.
Wrong on all counts, Feb. 7.
Not one of the deceased has been proven guilty as charged. Mistaken identity. The stated goals were not met. Apart from the money which changed hands the hunt was not successful.
As partial recompense why does the DNR not scientifically admit that their population estimate was off by a factor of two?
And then provide the additional wolf protection required.