MARQUETTE - Though questions remain about the incident, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists have confirmed wolves killed at least five hunting dogs in Chippewa County earlier this month.
The incident was publicized after a news release Thursday by state Sen. Tom Casperson who said the reported attack and killing of beagles near Rudyard "points to the dire need and urgency for improved management of the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula."
However, DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said Friday not all of the facts have been verified in the reported wolf-beagle incident, including the number of dogs killed in the attacks.
Today, DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell in Marquette said the incident is being officially logged as a wolf depredation incident. The Ohio man who reported the Aug. 6 incident provided photos showing five dogs killed by wolves and he told DNR investigators nine dogs were killed. Two have since been located.
The Ohio man, who state officials did not identify, and two other individuals from out of state, were training the beagles for hunting when the attacks occurred.
Roell said the killings occurred in the same area where a beagle was killed by wolves last year and likely the same pack was responsible. Roell said this type of incidents were used to determine where to designate wolf management units for this fall's wolf hunting season.
This year's three hunting areas, where a total of 43 wolves can be killed, are all located west of Chippewa County. However, a future hunt might include that area where the dogs were killed over the past two years.
"This would be an area we would definitely consider opening," Roell said.
Dog owners are not financially compensated for their losses to wolves in Michigan.