MARQUETTE - From hunter success rates, to wolf pack movements and behavior impacts, Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists expect to learn a great deal from the state's first managed wolf hunt.
At least six wolves have been killed during the wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results this morning. The wolf season started Friday 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 estimates the state's wolf population at 658.
On Friday, three wolves were shot, including one that was killed in Unit A in Gogebic County. Two more wolves were shot Friday in Unit B - which includes parts of Gogebic, Ontonagon, Baraga and Houghton counties. One wolf was killed Saturday in Unit C, which has a quota of eight and covers parts of Mackinac and Luce counties.
The hunt will continue until Dec. 31 or until the quotas in each of the management units are reached.
DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump said the hunt is not about managing the number of wolves, but reducing conflicts. Beyond trying to maintain viability and not having gray wolves relisted as threatened or endangered species, the DNR doesn't have set population goals.
"Our approach is novel for management of wolves. There has never been a hunt that's been this localized, this focused and that has its primary or sole purpose to be to help resolve conflicts," Bump said. "So when we're looking at it, we're implementing kind of a new idea and we're going to be learning about it as we implement it."
Bump said the quota of 43 wolves was derived from a few factors.