Science should dictate wolf policy
In his letter published 12/11, Perry Lund failed to mention that since the 1997 plan was written, understanding of wolf biology has improved significantly and that scientific data was incorporated in the updated Michigan Wolf Management plans of 2008 and 2015.
Lund quoted the 1997 plan stating that when wolf population reaches 200, they will be considered for removal from the Michigan Endangered Species List which happened in April 2009 when wolves were reclassified as state protected non-game species. In 2016, the legislature classified wolves as a game species.
The 2015 plan clearly states, “The minimum criterion of 200 wolves does not reflect the maximum number of wolves the available habitat in Michigan can support…. this minimum requirement is not necessarily sufficient to provide all of the ecological and social benefits valued by the public. Accordingly, 200 wolves is not a target population size. Management will be conducted to maintain the wolf population above the minimum size requirement and facilitate those wolf-related benefits while minimizing and resolving conflicts where they occur… This plan does not identify a target population size, nor does it establish an upper limit for the number of wolves in the State…”
It has taken 30 years for the wolf population to reach approximately 700 (not 3,000) animals spread across the 16,300 square miles of the U.P. The population has remained steady for the past 10 years consistent with science that indicates wolf populations self-regulate based on habitat and prey base.
Also consistent with science, weather, not wolves, has the greatest impact on deer populations. Further, research suggests that wolves may limit the spread of diseases such as CWD. By removing the sick and the old, wolves help maintain a healthy deer population, leaving plenty of deer for human hunters.
Yes, Mr. Lund, wolves should be managed based on the best available science and not fears, myths or politics. And, there is no scientific need for a wolf hunting/trapping season as the wolf population has remained steady, conflicts have been low and wolves maintain healthy deer populations.