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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Michigan elected Officials are seeking to mandate Wolves as game animals, thus pointing the way to institute a hunt to manage the now estimated Upper Peninsula 700 animal population.................Many environmental groups argue that a hunt is not necessary to manage the wolves as existing statutes are already in place that allow landowners to dispatch Wolves that attack livestock and pets...............With Wisconsin and Minnesota involved in their first Wolf hunting season, one would expect that farmers and hunters will continue to ante up the pressure on politicians to get the lobos classified as a game species and hasten a hunt for the 2013 season

Michigan lawmakers consider opening door for a wolf hunting season

Michigan's gray wolf population is estimated to be around 700 animals. The recovery goal for the population was between 250-300 wolves.

Now, state lawmakers are considering legislation to make gray wolves a game species in Michigan. That would open the door to a possible hunting and trapping season for wolves. Adam Bump is the Bear and Furbearer Specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  He says most of the wolves are in the western Upper Peninsula and that's causing some conflicts with people.
"Wolves are something people are very passionate about one way or another. We have residents in the U.P. that would just as soon not see any wolves in the U.P. and would very much like to see a season, and to see wolf numbers reduced. We have others in the U.P. that I think would be very happy if we never implemented any harvest season and didn't kill any wolves unless absolutely necessary."
He says the DNR is supportive of making wolves a game species because it would give the agency another tool to manage the animals.  State Representative Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) introduced HB 5834 to make the gray wolf a game species. Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced a similar bill (SB 1350) in the state Senate.
If either of these bills eventually pass, the state would have to take more steps to establish a hunting season."Then there has to be discussions at the department level with the Natural Resources Commission, with the public, do we want and need a hunt and if so, what would it look like?"
Wisconsin and Minnesota opened their first regulated wolf hunts this fall.  They're controversial.  Environmental and animal welfare groups sued to try to stop the wolf hunts.  A number of tribes in the Great Lakes region also oppose the hunts.
Other groups argue that wolf hunting seasons are premature.  When wolves were delisted, the DNR was authorized to issue permits to landowners to kill wolves that have a history of preying on animals. Nancy Warren is with the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.  She points to a Michigan law that also allows people to kill a wolf in the act of attacking their pet or livestock. "So we already have all these tools available and so we don't feel the listing of the wolf as a game animal is needed at this time." 
Warren helped draft the state's wolf management plan.  The plan went into effect when wolves were delisted. "And we think we should allow the plan to run its course, allow the plan to be effective. Wolves were just delisted back in January so we've only been working with this plan for 10 months."
The DNR says, so far this year, 25 wolves have been killed under permits or because they were in the act of attacking livestock or a pet.
Nancy Warren says her group's concerned that the combination of these permitted wolf kills along with a hunting season could hurt the wolf population. "Wolves are very territorial. Wolves are pack animals, so if you take out the alpha male or alpha female you could cause the entire pack to disband.  Depending on how the hunt is structured it could affect the population growth."
But supporters of a wolf hunting season argue it would be carefully managed.
  Kent Wood is the Legislative Affairs Manager with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
   I would firmly believe that a regulated hunting and trapping season for wolves would be just that – it would be regulated.  And it would be the same thing: it would be looked at every year. You know, I think it's also just sort of the same sort of false mindset that hunters want to get rid of these species. We don't.  First and foremost the goal is conservation." He says the last thing his group wants to see is the wolf going back on the endangered species list.

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