Wolves in region must be managed

To the Journal editor:

Although I agree with Terri Bocklund’s letter published in the April 21 edition of The Mining Journal that anti-wolf bias remains among some hunters in the Upper Peninsula, the letter writer reflects their own bias as well.

There is absolutely no way wolves in Michigan or the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Minnesota belong on the endangered species list. With the Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimates of a minimum of more than 600 adult wolves in the U.P. during winter surveys, wolf numbers easily exceed 1,000 after pups are born each spring.

Bocklund insinuates that if wolves were removed from the endangered species list, all protections will be removed which is totally false. Management of wolves would simply revert to the Michigan DNR and wolves would remain protected. Management is the key word. As large predators, wolves primarily prey on deer, but they can also take moose and sometimes cattle and pets such as dogs. They can also pose a threat to people.

I’ve interviewed two hunters who were treed by wolves and youngsters are more vulnerable to attack by wolves than adults. Historically, wolves have killed people in Michigan and they’ve preyed on people during modern times in Canada and Alaska.

To minimize problems from wolves when they prey on livestock and pets and post a threat to people, the animals need to be managed. If any wolf hunts are planned in the future, it would be for management purposes and would be carefully controlled.

The fact that some wolves born in the U.P. have been leaving the region is a sign that the wolf population may have reached carrying capacity. A young female fitted with a radio collar by the DNR during 2017 in the east U.P. traveled west looking for unoccupied habitat.

Not finding any, she turned around and went back east, ending up in Ontario.



Editor’s note: Richard P. Smith is an outdoor writer of note who resides in the Marquette area.


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