But Phyllis Green, the superintendent of Isle Royale National Park, said Wednesday the Park Service doesn’t think that step is necessary yet.
Instead, she says park officials will develop a management plan to assess the wolves’ survival longer term, as well as their interactions with the moose that live on Isle Royale, the Associated Press reports. She said it’ll take about three years to put the plan together.
“This is an island,” Green told MPR. “Island biogeography is a developing science, and our understanding of how islands react to change is still really being studied in a lot of ways.”
“As long as there’s a breeding population, we’re going to let these animals have a chance to live their lives without us intervening,” Green added, according to the AP.
A long-running research project has been studying the relationship between the wolves and the moose on Isle Royale for more than 50 years. The scientists who lead that study, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University, are among the most vocal advocates for bringing more wolves to the island.
Vucetich declined comment about Green’s decision Wednesday but said he and Peterson would issue a statement next week, according to the Associated Press.
In a 2013 interview, Vucetich said it’s important to keep the island’s ecosystem healthy, with or without human involvement, the AP reports.
“As long as there are moose on Isle Royale there should be wolves on Isle Royale,” Vucetich said.
December 29, 2013 in Outdoors
2013 outdoors: Wolf issues
Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review
The gray wolf, reintroduced to the Rockies in the mid-1990s, continued to leave its mark across the Northwest in 2013 and into the legislatures. Here are some highlights.
• Idaho and Montana report significantly lower numbers of wolves for the first time since reintroduction, owing to hunting, trapping and wildlife control. But wildlife officials say wolf numbers are still too high.
• Washington estimates up to 100 wolves in the state, double the estimate in 2012.
• The cost of managing wolves in Washington, where they are still protected, is likely to increase by more than 200 percent from the past two years to about $2.3 million in 2013-14, wildlife managers say.
• Wolf hunting and trapping become issues of national attention as a wolf hunter shoots and kills a malamute romping with its owner while cross country skiing near Lolo Pass; a Sandpoint woman’s dog is caught in a snare set along a closed forest road, and a central Idaho predator hunting derby becomes the first modern contest to target wolves in the lower 48.
• Hunting authorized outside of Yellowstone Park results in the killing of wolves popular with tourists as well as radio-collared wolves vital to research.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to drop endangered species protections for the gray wolf in most of the country.
• Pro-wolf groups submit a million comments in December to the FWS favoring continued federal protection.
• Washington legislation makes it legal to kill wolves threatening pets and livestock, provides state wildlife managers more resources to prevent wolf-livestock conflict and expands criteria to compensate livestock owners for wolf-related losses.
• Idaho hires a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to take the pressure off collapsing elk herds.
• Michigan becomes sixth state with a wolf hunting season.
December 26, 2013
MARQUETTE, Mich. — Michigan authorities say at least 21 wolves have been killed in the Upper Peninsula during the state’s first wolf hunt in decades.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that’s the total as of 6 a.m. Thursday. The department has expressed doubt that the hunt will reach its quota of 43 by year’s end.
The take in the wolf hunt remained at 20 for around three weeks as frigid weather kept the killing down.
The season opened in three sections of the U.P. on Nov. 15.
Before the season, the DNR estimated that Michigan had 658 wolves
by Susan Bence
Wisconsin’s second wolf hunt reaches a turning point December 2. Licensed hunters can now use up to six dogs to help track wolves. Wisconsin is the only state to allow the practice. Some celebrate the rules and others take to court.
Lucas Withrow started hunting with his dad years ago. Hunting with dogs runs deep in their family tradition. Today, Withrow raises and trains more than a dozen dogs on his property in Brodhead.
“I have a kennel of 15 hounds. Three or four dogs that I use on coyotes, and that’s all I run them on and the rest are pretty much a mix of bear and coon hounds. “
Hunting bear is Withrow’s passion.
Eight years ago, he joined the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and now represents the group on the DNR’s wolf advisory committee. Withrow says dogs will serve a valuable function in helping manage the state’s wolf population.
“The function would be to make sure that we use and utilize all opportunities to harvest the quotas that we are responsible for harvesting to help keep the population stable and healthy,” and Withrow adds, “it’s something else that we can enjoy with our dogs.”
Withrow rebuts criticism that the practice subjects dogs to potential violent injury or death.
“From my perspective, I would tell you a dog introduced into the woods with the intention of chasing of wolf, that’s part of the responsibility of assuming the hunt. When you assume the responsibility for pursuing the wolf, you assume the responsibility for what can happen.”
“Allowing dogs to get torn up by wolves for the enjoyment of their owners, seeking to pursue wolves in this fashion, violates animal cruelty law,” Jodi Habush Sinykin says.
She is a Milwaukee attorney and represents a collection of humane societies, conservation groups and what she calls, “mainstream hunters.” She successfully took the issue to court. Sinykin argued that the DNR failed to write rules to protect hounds used in hunting wolves.
At least during Wisconsin’s inaugural wolf hunt in 2012 – a judge issued an injunction against the use of dogs. The lawsuit now rests in the hands of the state court of appeals. Sinykin has been awaiting a decision for weeks.
“Without intervention from the Court of Appeals starting December 2, dogs will be used by their owners with the known risks of what transpires when dogs who are unleashed and unprotected and at significant distances from their handlers encroach on wolf territory,” explains Sinykin. “And as we know from 25 years of depredation payments is that dogs are maimed and killed by wolves.”
For those years, hunting wolves was illegal in Wisconsin because their numbers were scarce. During that time, if a wolf killed a dog, the state reimbursed the owner.
Now that wolves have shifted to ‘hunt and trap status’, the state will not compensate hunters, if their hounds are killed during the chase.
We may not find out how many dogs are killed during the hunt. The DNR wants hunters to report dog casualties, but they are not required to do so.
The season will end on February 28 or when hunters take the state quota of 251.
By Tim Skubick | Politics Columnist for MLive.com
on December 03, 2013
If those who want to stop the next wolf hunt in Michigan fail, Walt Disney may be to blame.
One of the leaders of the Protect the Wolves coalition concedes the public’s view of wolves is based on “a lot of misinformation.”
Maybe it started at a tender young age with the reading of the classic, “The Three Little Pigs,” featuring none other than the “Big Bad Wolf.” Talk about a sinister label.
Jill Fritz in her pitch to protect the BBW does use that reference because she claims it’s wrong.
She argues the attitude that “wolves are snarling and stalking people and being very aggressive,” is not accurate. “That’s not consistent” she counters, because they are “shy animals and elusive.”
Hence the need for an image re-do. “There does need to be a lot of public education leading up to the election about wolf behavior,” she asserts.
So can we expect to see the three little pigs in an ad welcoming Mr. Wolf into their brick house via the front door and not the chimney?
The movement probably won’t go there but as they gather petition signatures to place the issue before you, they will have to find a message to soften the image.
It’s not that Michigan voters are unsympathetic to animals. They voted overwhelmingly to stop the killing of doves, but you don’t need to be Mort Neff (anybody remember him?) to realize the difference between a tiny dove and a mean-looking wolf.
The petition drive, of course, resulted when state lawmakers voted to render a previous petition drive null and void, even thought the pro-wolf lobby was this close to blocking a wolf hunting season.
Ms. Fritz contends many citizens were offended by the end-run by legislators, which is providing fuel for the petition drive fires.
“They are upset,” she explains while refusing to disclose how many signatures they have in hand.
Yet here comes another effort to mute this petition drive. The Citizens for Professional Wild Life Management are set to launch their own counter-petition drive to allow the state to control hunting seasons. So it’s possible voters will face dueling ballot questions next year, one to protect the wolves and another to render that amendment useless.
Then perhaps we can identify who is really afraid of the big bad wolf.
Watch “Off the Record with Tim Skubick” online anytime at video.wkar.org
New Michigan group seeks to protect future wolf hunts with citizen-initiated legislation
A group calling itself Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management on Tuesday announced plans to launch a petition drive for citizen-initiated legislation that would affirm the Michigan Natural Resource Commissions’ ability to designate game species and issue fisheries orders.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least 11 wolves have been killed during Michigan’s wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.
The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Monday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.
It’s the first hunt in Michigan since the wolf was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate with firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.
The DNR had estimated the state’s wolf population at 658.
Updates on wolf hunt from DNR: http://1.usa.gov/17EOq
Michigan’s first ever wolf hunt begins Nov. 15.
Casperson shifted the listing of “game species”, animals hunted in our state, to a politically appointed committee. The Natural Resources Committee cannot be reviewed by the voting public, so the 250,000 citizens who signed the ballot initiative calling for a vote on the wolf hunt, were disenfranchised, told to keep quiet, and take a hike.
While hiking in Michigan there is one thing you need not fear; a wolf attack. There has never been in Michigan’s history an attack by wolves on humans. Of course Capserson’s fairy tales tell of children being cornered by wolf packs at school. Casperson has made numerous bogus claims on the floor of the State Senate in Lansing, though admittedly, he is not sworn to tell the truth while speaking.
Worse, professional Department of Natural Resource biologists now confess to falsifying testimony to the State Senate. The Legislature resolved that wolves should be de-listed from the endangered species act, and then included wolves on the schedule of game species in Michigan.
If the DNR had enforced its own regulations requiring farmers to bury within 24 hours the carcasses of dead animals then many of the wolf attacks on cattle could have been avoided in the first place.
Cattlemen have every right to kill wolves that are attacking their herds. That is the law and always has been. The DNR pays farmers and ranchers for the loss of their livestock killed by wolves.
The upcoming wolf hunt is not designed to manage wolves in the wild; but it could make wolf attacks worse. Wolves are pack animals, they depend on an intricate social network to survive. If an alpha wolf is slaughtered the pack disintegrates, turning the survivors into rogues.
Only one biologist sits on the NRC, which listed the wolves as “game species”, and hers was the sole committee vote against the wolf hunt.
Other respected northern Michigan scientists have argued against the wolf hunt. With the deer population holding steady in the U.P., and wolf populations slightly declining, an ecological balance in the forests of northern Michigan is served by the apex predator, wolves.
Many sportsmen also oppose the new wolf hunt.
Hunting ethics written by Teddy Roosevelt, the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, warned against “frivolous hunts” like Michigan’s wolf hunt.
Michigan’s wolf hunt ignores the science of wildlife management. Michigan wolves do not need “management,” they are management.
Sen. Casperson has snatched the constitutional right of citizens to petition their government. The DNR has failed to enforce its own rules. Michigan’s wolf hunt will do more harm than good, leaving Michigan’s forests weaker. Put the wolf hunt to a vote of the people next year.
— Mark Muhich lives in Summit Township and is the conservation chairman of the Central Michigan Group Sierra Club.
By John Barnes | email@example.com MLive.com
on November 03, 2013
It is a mythical animal. Inspiring. Feared. Intelligent. Reviled. [It sounds like they're talking about bigfoot.]
And now we will hunt them, a historic first in the state.
But an MLive Media Group investigation found that half-truths, falsehoods and a single farmer have distorted reasons for the hunt. Among them:
• When state lawmakers asked Congress to remove wolf protections, they cited an incident in which three wolves were shot outside an Upper Peninsula daycare center where children had just been let out. That never happened, MLive found.
• A leading state wolf specialist said there are cases where wolves have stared at humans through glass doors, ignoring pounding on windows meant to scare them. That never happened as well. The expert now admits he misspoke.
• The Natural Resources Commission received more than 10,000 emails after seeking public comment, but there is no tally of how many were pro or con. The NRC chairman deleted several thousand, many of them identical, from all over the world. Most of the rest went unopened, a department spokesman said. They said anti-hunt groups launched an email blast so extensive the agency was overwhelmed.
• And while attacks on livestock are cited as a reason to reduce wolf numbers, records show one farmer accounted for more cattle killed and injured than all other farmers in the years the DNR reviewed.
The farmer left dead cattle in the field for days, if not longer, a violation of the law and a smorgasbord that attracts wolves. He was given an electric fence by the state. The fence disappeared. He was also given three “guard mules.”
Two died. The other had to be removed in January because it was in such poor condition. …