This undated photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a gray wolf. / AP
Less than two hours after the sale began at noon, 991 of the 1,200 licenses that are available for the hunt had already been sold. By 5 p.m., more than 1,100 had been sold during a day that Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Golder said went “extremely well.”
Tim Payne, the DNR’s Southeast Regional Wildlife Supervisor, considered the day a milestone. He’s been with the DNR for more than 40 years but had never seen a wolf-hunting license. Although only one sale had taken place at the Southfield office by 12:30 p.m., it was still special, he said.
“It was cool,” he said.
Wolf season runs Nov. 15-Dec. 31, and any remaining licenses will be on sale until Oct. 31. They cost $100 for state residents and $500 for nonresidents, Payne said the hunt is necessary because wolves have attacked livestock and dogs in the Upper Peninsula and it’s important to keep them from becoming acclimated to humans like some coyotes have become. He noted that the number of wolves killed will be small.
A wolf-hunting season almost didn’t happen this year after animal-rights groups turned in enough signatures to call for a statewide referendum. Despite legislative action that allowed the hunt to move forward this year, groups were out on Saturday collecting signatures for a second attempt to get the issue before voters. “It's not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be hunted and trapped for trophies,” according to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected’s Web site.
“This hunt is only moving forward because the Legislature did some dirty tricks and a runaround on the first petition drive,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and state director of The Humane Society of the United States. “Legislators knew that the citizens of Michigan do not want their wolves hunted.”
The state’s Natural Resources Commission approved the killing of 43 wolves in three areas of the Upper Peninsula. Hunters are required to call 855-345-9653 to report their wolf kills before the end of the day, and are encouraged to call before heading out to make sure the limit has not been reached.
“The odds of us having an impact on the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula as a whole is close to zero,” Payne said.
But Fritz was critical of the motives behind the hunt, and claimed the 43-animal limit is a small number designed to avoid scrutiny. “Their claim that a wolf hunt is needed to address livestock depredations is not telling the whole story,” Fritz said. “The current law already allows farmers to protect their animals from predators ... including wolves.”
End Wolf Hunting in MinnesotaBy Jennifer Hartmann
Target: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton
Goal: Discontinue the practice of hunting wolves for sport in Minnesota
Wolf hunters claim that the goal of the state-approved wolf hunt in Minnesota is to control population and reduce the frequency of attacks on humans and pets in the area by wolves. Yet most people are aware that wolf populations are dwindling and that hunting them for sport is destructive in many ways. Urge Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to suspend this year’s hunting season and opt for future non-lethal forms of wolf management to control populations if needed.
The wolf hunt is set to start in November of 2013, but many organizations are speaking out about the dangers of the practice. Though hunting permits were decreased this year, the state is still allowing the harvest of 220 wolves. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) claims that the harvest quota ensures the long term survival of wolf populations, but others disagree. Wolf population levels are at their lowest since 1988, and hunting and trapping dramatically decreases their numbers in a short period of time. Last year, the wolf harvest quota was a whopping 400.
Humane Society of the United States representatives have argued that the risk is simply too high. Wolf populations must recover from mass hunting and trapping, and they are presently believed to be too low to sustain themselves if another hunt is scheduled as soon as this upcoming November. Ideally, future hunting will be rendered unnecessary, if not banned, due to long-term and non-lethal management goals that provide wolves with expansive and safer habitats free from human encroachment.
Urge Governor Mark Dayton to speak out against wolf hunting and trapping, and ask him to fight for wolf protection as long as their populations are at risk.
Click here to sign the petition!!!