Archive for the ‘Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Tag

DNR: Gray wolves have spread across entire Upper Peninsula   Leave a comment

From The Outdoor Journal on August 2, 2015 by Howard Meyerson

Gray wolves now live in every Upper Peninsula county/

Gray wolves now live in every Upper Peninsula county.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – One or more wolf packs now live in every Upper Peninsula county, having spread from west to east over the past 20 years. Most –for now – are concentrated in Western counties, according to state wildlife officials.

“More live in the Western U.P. than East, but it’s not a huge difference,” said Kevin Swanson, the statewide wolf and bear program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “There is at least one pack in every county now, and many more in some.”

In all, there are 125 packs, approximately 636 wolves, according to data from the agency’s last winter wolf survey in 2013/2014. The survey was not conducted last winter because of the “controversy over them and because they were listed again as an endangered species,” Swanson said.

“We are looking to do a winter survey to see how many there are,” he said. “We haven’t seen (U.P.) deer density this low in decades, probably not since the early 1980s. We’re wondering what we will see because deer are their main prey. The winter started out very badly last year, but we had an early break up and deer were able to get away. I’ve seen more fawns this year. It looks like we have had good fawn production.”

Two to five wolves per pack

Wolves travel in packs, but pack sizes vary. Survey data indicates that 23 packs were roaming pairs. Other packs were larger, averaging five wolves. Wolf territories also varied widely, from 5 square-miles to 291 square miles, averaging 45 square miles. Wolf territories have shrunk as the population has grown, Swanson noted.

“We had exponential growth from the 1990s to early 2000s:  68 packs in 2003 and 125 packs in 2013 and 2014,” Swanson said, adding that wolf reproduction is assumed to be good. The next survey will tell more.

Livestock depredation continues to occur. Eleven incidents have been recorded so far in 2015.  Ten cows have been killed, along with one pig. Dogs have been spared, but it is still early in the season.

“Last year (2014) we had 43 total depredation incidents – 26 cattle and 17 dogs,” Swanson said. “The vast majority (of dogs killed) were hunting dogs. Most were bear hounds, but some were beagles out hunting snowshoe hare. The dogs were all far from the hunter or owner when they were attacked and killed.”

Attacks on dogs typically occur in mid-to-late summer or fall once the dog training season opens in early July, Swanson explained.

No wolf presence has yet been confirmed in Lower Peninsula, according to Swanson. There are signs, but no hard-evidence.

“We haven’t confirmed any since 2008 when one was confirmed,” Swanson said. “We’ve seen tracks that are wolf-like, but their presence has not been confirmed. I’d guess we might have a few (in the northern Lower Peninsula, but they are hard to detect.”

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© 2015 Howard Meyerson

Appears in Michigan Outdoor News.

Reward Offered in Wolf Poaching Cases   2 comments

From:  WILX.COM

Posted: Thu 2:14 PM, Dec 04, 2014

A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible for killing two wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The first case happened on November 26, near the Mackinac-Luce county line, close to M-117 southwest of Newberry. The wolf was found near County Road 468, dead from a gunshot wound. Investigators determined it had been killed at another location and then dumped there.

The second poaching happened in Schoolcraft County near Gulliver, also on November 26. In this case, the wolf— which was part of a wildlife study– was killed and the tracking collar was removed and thrown away.

Wolves are a protected species in Michigan and cannot legally be killed except in the defense of life.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to contact their local DNR office or conservation officer. Information may be left anonymously. Callers may remain anonymous and still be eligible to receive a reward.

The maximum penalty for poaching a wolf is 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, plus reimbursement of $1,500 to the state for the animal. Poaching convictions also usually include a suspension of hunting privileges for a period of four years.

 

MICHIGAN CONSERVATION AGENCY SEEKS INPUT FOR WOLF MANAGEMENT PLAN   1 comment

From:  Watchdog Wire Michigan

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Dept. of Natural Resources conducting survey

November 20, 2014

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is soliciting comments as the state conservation agency retools its 2008 Wolf Management Plan.

The 2008 plan was crafted with extensive public input. Among its principal goals were to maintain a viable wolf population, minimize wolf-related conflicts, and conduct science-based, socially acceptable management of the species.

Since the plan was enacted, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the gray wolf population (Canis lupus) in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, had recovered and no longer needed the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).* The species was removed from the ESA in 2012, and, hence, the Wolverine State assumed “full management authority” for the wolves. The DNR estimates that in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the wolf population has grown to over 600 which is up from 20 animals in 1992.

Great Lakes wolves remain divisive creatures. Either they are viewed as a dangerous nuisance by Michiganders who have lost pets or livestock in a wolf attack, or they aresacred icons, as many American Indian tribes view them. While the 2013 state-sponsored wolf hunt in Michigan yielded 22 animals being legally killed, organizations, like Keep Wolves Protected (a force behind the largely symbolic November 2014 ballot proposals) have rejected “trophy hunting” this natural predator.

Phase 1 of the comment period is now open. Interested parties can participate in an electronic survey in which respondents are asked questions about the 12 strategic goals from the 2008 plan. Comments and answers will be accepted until December 11, 2014. Those unable to participate in the survey electronically can contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453 to receive a paper survey.

The Michigan DNR, whose mission it is to conserve, protect, and manage the State’s natural resources, hopes to have the wolf plan update completed by the spring of 2015.

*This list features the gray wolves, in other regions of the United States, that are still protected by the ESA. These species are either in danger of extinction or are threatened (may become endangered).

Image: Michigan Tech University

English: Wolves chasing an elk

English: Wolves chasing an elk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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