Jun 29

Residents cry wolf over new neighbors

Residents cry wolf over new neighbors

Threatened species comes to Door County

By DAN EGAN
degan@journalsentinel.com

Last Updated: June 28, 2003

Newport State Park – The stuffed wolf on display at this Door County park
headquarters was always just for show.

Visitors would come in swearing they saw a wolf loping about the park’s
forests and meadows, but then they would get a close-up look at the
animal’s actual size. They would leave convinced that what they saw was
only a coyote, or maybe a fox.

Wolves, after all, may have returned to the deer-thick forests of northern
Wisconsin, but nobody figured the king of the carnivores would settle in a
place as tame as Door County.

Then last month, an 82-pound wolf was shot by a hunter at the northern end
of the county. The shooter claimed he thought he had a coyote in his
sights.

The timber wolf is considered threatened under the federal Endangered
Species Act, and killing one can lead to stiff penalties, but no charges
were filed.

“The primary reason is, Door County has never had a confirmed wolf,” said
Mike Neal, Department of Natural Resources warden. “They’re not supposed
to be here.”

Don’t tell that to the wolves.

Wolves may be from Michigan

Evidence of wolves in the county has trickled in over the past several
years. Some people have reported hearing howls. Others have seen tracks.
Hunters have reported seeing the animals trying to chase down deer.

The reports were initially treated as suspect by the DNR, and the animals
often written off as coyotes or dogs. Look at a map, and it is easy to see
why. Much of the county is actually an island, thanks to the canal at
Sturgeon Bay. This time of year, the animals would have to cross a bridge
to get into the area. Also, the City of Green Bay and its suburbs stand
between the county and the wolf packs that populate northern Wisconsin.

But take a closer look at the map. Door County is separated from the wilds
of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by only about 15 miles of rolling blue water
- an insurmountable distance in summer, but “just a hop, skip and a jump
in winter,” said Dick Baudhuin, an avid hunter who says wolves have been
prowling around his property just north of Sturgeon Bay.

The wolves, which can cover more than 20 miles a day, may be crossing
Green Bay via Chambers Island, which sits almost directly between Door
County and Michigan’s Menominee County, about seven miles from each shore.
Another possibility is that the animals are island-hopping south from the
Garden Peninsula.

“I guess Door County would have a terrific deer population, but if (the
wolves) stayed there too long, they’d be stuck,” said Adrian Wydeven, head
of the DNR’s wolf recovery program.

That might be exactly what happened this year. Reports of wolf sightings
have been on the rise, and warden Neal said the evidence suggests that
there may now be as many as a half dozen animals in the county.

Making a comeback

The fact that wolves are at the Door is just the latest chapter in a
remarkable comeback for the once-reviled species.

Wolves in Wisconsin were hunted, trapped and poisoned into oblivion by the
1950s, but thanks to protections under the Endangered Species Act, they
have steadily expanded their range in the past two decades from northern
Minnesota into Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

The latest count is 335, though Wydeven says the actual number may be
higher, since wolves that leave their packs are hard to track. Whatever
their number, it’s apparent that the animals are steadily creeping out of
the forests and into the paved corners of the state. In April, a wolf was
killed by a car in Waukesha County. The year before, one was hit by a car
in Dane County. The year before that, a wolf was found dead along I-94 in
Jefferson County.

Evidence is mounting that Wisconsin may be overfilling with wolves.

“This is probably an indication that the habitat in the forest is starting
to become saturated,” said Wydeven. “We shouldn’t assume that, because
wolves are showing up in these places, that these places are necessarily
suitable for wolves.”

Wolves could mean problems

Because of the rising numbers, the federal government in April
reclassified the wolf from “endangered” to “threatened.” That means
problem animals, such as those that grow addicted to livestock or pets,
can be killed by state or federal employees.

That’s good news to hunter Baudhuin, but not good enough. He says more
should be done to control the animals, and soon. There have been no
reports of wolves preying on livestock or pets in Door County, but
Baudhuin says it is a matter of time before conflicts start popping up.

“No question they can exist up here,” he said. “But are they going to
co-exist with residents and not create problems? No.”

Ephraim resident Steve Sauter takes a different view. He was excited to
spot what he thought was a wolf last winter. He figures there is room in
the county for them, especially in light of the large deer population. He
doesn’t think the annual hunt does enough to control deer numbers.

“We need to get rid of some of the damn deer,” said Souter. “The coyotes
can’t take them down, and the car is the only thing left.”

The automobile might also take its toll on Door County wolves. For now,
only government employees can shoot them, and Neal said the next hunter
who accidentally shoots a wolf could end up with a stiff fine.

“To kind of put it bluntly, they are on notice,” he said. “(Wolves) are
here. Now it gets back to one of the first things you’re taught in hunter
safety – unless you’re 100 percent sure of knowing what you’re shooting
at, you do not shoot.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 26

Wolf plan detailed

Wolf plan detailed

by Cat Urbigkit

Since the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has released the draft
statewide wolf management plan to the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, a
non-governmental special-interest entity, this newspaper has determined
that the document is indeed public and thus should be subject to news
reporting to the remainder of the public. The final draft that will
actually be submitted for public review is due to be released July 18.

The state law

The wolf legislation approved in the 2003 Wyoming Legislature calls for
the maintenance of 15 packs of five or more wolves in the state, with
seven of those packs located primarily outside of Yellowstone and Grand
Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. So long
as wolf numbers stay at these levels, wolves would be classified as trophy
game animals within the parks and parkway and “those federally designated
wilderness areas contiguous” to these areas. Because of the one-mile long
common boundary where the Gros Ventre Wilderness touches Grand Teton
National Park, wolves in the Gros Ventre will have trophy game status, but
those 10 miles away in the Bridger Wilderness will be classified as
predators. Wolves located outside these federally designated protected
areas would be classified as predators so long as the population levels
stayed up.

Should the wolf population drop to less than the 15 packs, with seven
packs outside the parks, the legislation empowers the WG&F Commission to
revoke the predator classification, instead designating wolves as trophy
game in an expanded area of the state, to be determined by the commission.

It should be noted that even in areas where wolves would be classified as
predators, all harvested wolves must be presented to a WG&F Department
employee so biological data can be obtained.

The draft plan

The WG&F Department’s latest version of a statewide wolf plan creates a
large area called a “Data Analysis Unit.” If wolf numbers fell below those
15/7 packs described in the law, trophy game classification would be
expanded throughout the DAU, which encompasses most of northwestern
Wyoming.

The plan states: “This classification will remain indefinitely, regardless
of future pack numbers in this area, as it will have been demonstrated
that the initial trophy game area is not large enough to provide adequate
regulatory mechanisms to sustain seven wolf packs due to unregulated
public take under predator status.”

The DAU’s southern boundary is Boulder Creek, then northeasterly to the
Wind River Indian Reservation Boundary. It includes not just U.S. Forest
Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, but also private lands all
the way to Meeteetsee and Cody, on north to the Montana border. To the
west of Pinedale, the southern boundary of the unit follows Highway 191 to
Alpine and connects with the Idaho border.

According to the draft: “The Wyoming Range and the lower end of the Wind
River Range were excluded from the DAU because of the potential for
consistent conflicts due to large numbers of domestic livestock.”

The state wildlife agency is required to monitor the wolf population to
ensure that state and federal goals are met, but the plan notes that if
the WG&F Commission decides to implement the DAU, “the department will
restrict data collection to determine population status to only the DAU.”
Any wolves outside the DAU would retain their predator status and would
not be monitored.

Dealing with conflicts

Livestock depredations were given little attention in the draft plan, in
contrast to the section dealing with the potential for wolves to conflict
with other wildlife species.

In general, the plan notes that where wolves are classified as trophy
game, WG&F will be the lead agency in responding to wolf-livestock
conflicts, but will continue to contract with U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services
in assisting in investigating and resolving conflicts.

“The department will decide on an appropriate management action, based on
the specific circumstances of each conflict,” according to the plan.
Instead of a specific set of guidelines for how to handle the conflicts
between wolves and livestock, the plan states, “Management actions could
include a variety of responses, and will be determined on a case-by-case
basis.”

The plan does acknowledge that lethal control is often the most effective
management option for wolves that kill livestock.

In areas where wolves will be classified as trophy game, WG&F will be
responsible for compensating property owners for damages or losses caused
by wolves. The plan notes, “The department is determined to keep economic
losses from a recovered wolf population to a minimum.”

In areas where wolves are classified as predators, the department will not
manage nuisance wolves, nor will it compensate for damages.

As for conflicts with big game populations, the department doesn’t
anticipate excessive depredation on ungulates in most circumstances. The
plan does note: “However, some wintering elk, moose and bighorn sheep
sub-populations on native winter range and elk on winter feedgrounds or
near cattle feed lines could be susceptible to negative impacts from wolf
predation and management action may be necessary under specific
conditions.”

Economics

The WG&F estimates the annual cost of managing wolves in Wyoming will be
$450,000. The plan notes that a recovered wolf population will bring both
positive and negative economic impacts, with positive impacts arising from
increased tourism, and negative impacts may be experienced by livestock
producers, hunters and outfitters.

The plan acknowledges that the economic impacts associated with wolves are
difficult to predict.

“Because of the high profile of wolves and the nationwide public interest
in them, the presence of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Area was
expected to increase tourism in the area, however, overall visitation to
Yellowstone National Park has decreased for unknown reasons since wolf
restoration.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 26

Wolf plan released to environmental group

Wolf plan released to environmental group

by Cat Urbigkit

Although marked as “Not for Public Distribution,” the latest draft of the
Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s wolf management plan was e-mailed to
various government officials, both at the state and federal level, and was
also released to the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

The plan was e-mailed last Friday to select WG&F Departmental personnel,
WG&F Commissioners, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials,
representatives of state wildlife agencies in Montana and Idaho, others
within Wyoming government, including the state representative who
sponsored Wyoming’s wolf legislation (but not the senator), and was also
sent to the WWF’s executive director, Larry Baesler, along with a request
for input.

WG&F Director Brent Manning and WG&F Commission President Jerry Sanders
were interviewed Monday and when asked who decided to release the plan to
the WWF, Manning said he was the responsible party.

“I made that decision because the Wyoming Wildlife Federation represents a
number of wildlife groups, fisheries groups and environmental groups
across the broad spectrum of many constituents.”

When asked if any agricultural organizations were granted the same
privilege, Manning said: “No, the director of agriculture is involved -
John Etchepare. He will represent agricultural interests.”

Manning said the document was marked as “Not for public distribution”
simply because it is in draft form. He said WWF appeared to appreciate the
opportunity to provide input in this early stage of the process.

When asked about the fairness of WWF getting to provide comments now, when
other groups aren’t afforded the same courtesy, both Manning and Sanders
maintained the organization would share with other groups and would
represent them as well, including the newly created Sportsmen for Fish and
Wildlife, a group whose membership has been quickly increasing and which
claims the WWF doesn’t represent their interests at all.

Sanders said: “The Wyoming Wildlife Federation will work with other
conservation groups … I’m sure they’ll be sharing it will other folks as
well …”

Manning called WWF’s Baesler into the interview. Baesler said he sent the
draft plan out to a host of conservation groups who also want to be
involved. He said while some of the groups he works with also questioned
why the plan didn’t go out to everybody for involvement, he decided to
take advantage of the opportunity and “if we can get a comment into them
that might make some difference before it goes out as the final draft …
that’s what we’re doing.”

Sanders explained, “This is allowing the people who are more closely
involved with this to comment.”

Baesler said SFW came into the scene late in the process and wasn’t
involved in the legislative process. Manning suggested that SFW could
request a copy of the plan from WWF, but Baesler suggested the group
request a copy from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, at which point
Manning specifically requested Baesler take the more proactive approach
and go ahead and send it to SFW.

“Yeah, I can do that,” Baesler said.

“We can’t go to every individual in the state,” Manning said, “because
there are 450,000 individuals in the state and, quite frankly, they all
have an opinion. If I’m looking at the response to a survey, over 70
percent would like to have wolves in the state.”

When asked if this is going to be the typical way in which plans will
proceed, Manning said, “There is nothing that is identical to wolves,” and
said such procedures will be decided in each specific situation.

WWF and the Wyoming Department of Ag both took action to send the draft
plan out to their constituents, so while the document is marked “not for
public distribution,” copies are relatively widespread at this point.

During Tuesday’s WG&F Commission meeting, Manning explained that Governor
Dave Freudenthal had requested the procedure WG&F is using to gain input.
Manning said Freudenthal decided that Ag Director Etchepare would
adequately represent agricultural interests and that Baesler would
represent sportsmen’s interests.

“He said we needed to keep it at a very small, working level,” Manning
reported, adding that this stage of the planning process is not a WG&F
Commission action but instead is a Freudenthal Administration action, as
is a July 2 meeting to discuss the plan involving Etchepare, Baesler and
WG&F Commission President Jerry Sanders.

WG&F’s John Emmerich added that the internal WG&F document was e-mailed to
the selected group of people who were asked “to consult with constituents
within their realm of interests.”

Comments from these people are due back to Emmerich by June 27, who will
compile them and release another internal draft on July 7.

The three-person July 2 meeting, to be held in Etchepare’s office, was the
next subject of controversy at the meeting, with Commissioner Doyle Dorner
of Evanston suggesting that to maintain continuity and historical
knowledge, Commissioner Kerry Powers should represent the commission at
the meeting.

Sanders responded, “Personally I don’t think we need that,” but Powers
acknowledged his willingness to do so, should the commission desire.

Commissioner Ron Lovercheck said if the governor wanted to keep the group
to a minimum, the commission should do so, while Commissioner Bill
Williams said he felt the commission would have enough involvement later.

Manning said that Sanders’ role at the July 2 meeting will be as
facilitator, to which Dorner responded that it was all the more reason
that the commission should be represented and “have a seat at the table”
since it has a vested interest.

When it came time to vote on whether Powers should be involved, the
commission split down the middle, with Dorner, Powers and Kreycik voting
for his involvement, and all others opposed. Sanders broke the tie by
voting against the motion.

Dorner then made a motion to remove Sanders from his role as facilitator
at the meeting and instead have the groups meet and then have the
department deliver the plan to the entire commission.

Lovercheck called Dorner’s idea “cutting our nose off to spite our face.”

The vote on the motion was again a tie, with Sanders again breaking the
tie, deciding to remain in the facilitation position.

Although Representative Mike Baker of Thermopolis was sent a copy of the
plan, Senator Delaine Roberts of Etna was not, something Emmerich said
Tuesday would be corrected.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 25

Another wolf dies in Apache Forest

Another wolf dies in Apache Forest

By Tom Jackson King, Managing Editor

Another Mexican gray wolf has been found dead in Apache National Forest
north of the Black River, and while the cause of death isn’t stated, it
could be one more shooting death in a series of gunshot wolf killings that
have filled the last year.

Arizona Game and Fish Director Duane L. Shroufe, in a report to the AGF
Commission, gave the details of the latest wolf fatality.

“On June 9, 2003, Bluestem pack yearling male wolf 756 was found dead
north of the Black River near Wildcat Crossing on the Alpine District of
the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests,” Shroufe said.

“U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents are investigating
the case and trying to determine the cause of death. There are at least
four other members of the Bluestem pack still free-ranging, including the
alpha pair who appear to be raising pups. There has been no determination
on the cause of death from FWS,” he said.

In similar wolf deaths that occurred away from heavily traveled roads in
the last year, all were later determined to be due to gunshot wounds.
USFWS, however, frequently takes months to acknowledge what is obvious in
the field when a wolf dies from a gunshot.

The recent wolf death co-occurs with two wolf group releases, one by the
White Mountain Apaches on their reservation and one by AGF of the Red Rock
Pack in the Maness Peak area. While the number of radio-collared wolves
has been as low as 19 prior to the recent releases, the new releases
should increase overall wolf numbers in Arizona and New Mexico.

Shroufe reported that an effort to trap an uncollared wolf in the Greens
Peak area has stopped due to an inability to locate the wolf, while wolf
832 has visited the outskirts of the town of Alpine, near the Greenlee
County-Apache County border.

He said five other packs in Arizona, Bluestem, Hawks Nest, Cienega and
Bonito, seem to be denning in their ranges and thereby possibly raising
one or more pups.

The Thomas Fire that has burned in the Hannagan Meadow area has not
adversely affected any of the Arizona Mexican gray wolves, according to
Shroufe.

The next open to the public wolf meeting is set for July 9, 10 a.m., in
Glenwood, N.M. The meeting will discuss a memorandum of agreement,
outreach plans, the five-year review timetable and an update of the
project.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 24

Lincoln County seeks ‘insurance’ against wolves

Lincoln County seeks ‘insurance’ against wolves

By Rick LaFrombois
Wausau Daily Herald
rlafromb@wdhprint.com

MERRILL – Lincoln County officials have asked the state Department of
Natural Resources not to relocate problem timber wolves to the county,
even though the DNR says it has no such plans.

Adrian Wydeven, head of the DNR’s wolf program, assured County Board
supervisors the agency would not bring wolves to Lincoln County that had
been linked to livestock and pet killings. Even so, the board has passed a
resolution opposing such moves.

Timber wolves killed at least 50 domestic animals in 2002 – the most ever
recorded – and numerous Lincoln County residents have complained that
wolves in the area are growing more brazen.

“One gal lost a hunting dog and several farmers were concerned, because
the pack would come out and lay in the field and watch them while they
were doing their spring plowing,” said Supervisor Ken Roesler, who
introduced the resolution to the county’s Forestry, Land and Parks
Committee after fielding complaints.

In another incident, a wolf followed a child down a road after he got off
his school bus and walked toward home. The wolf did not attack the child.

There are no documented cases of a wolf attacking a person since they were
returned to Wisconsin in 1975. But the burgeoning population, which has
grown almost tenfold since 1993, from 40 wolves to 335 wolves, continues
to raise eyebrows.

Lou Zak, a horse breeding farmer from the town of Harrison, keeps his eye
on a lone wolf that inhabits a wooded, 10-acre section of his 55-acre
farm.

The wolf hasn’t bothered his 15 horses, including two colts, but that
doesn’t make the wolf’s presence welcome.

Zak noticed canine prints in the snow near a number of deer carcasses he
found on his property last winter. He attributes the deer kills to the
wolf.

“The colts are smaller than some of the deer he’s taken down,” Zak said.
“He hasn’t messed with any of our stuff, but just the fact that he’s there
means he could.” The 55-year-old horse farmer went to the DNR office in
Merrill to register his concerns, but got no response from the agency.

In the past, problem wolves were relocated to surrounding counties. It was
hard for the DNR to get a permit to kill a wolf, because it was on the
federal endangered species list, said the DNR’s Wydeven. Only once can he
remember getting a permit to kill a problem wolf.

That changed this spring, as the wolf was removed from the federal
endangered species list. It’s now listed as threatened, although that will
be upgraded soon, too. With 335 wolves, Wisconsin’s population exceeds the
threatened listing requirement of 250 wolves. But it might take federal
authorities years to change the status, Wydeven said.

Once that occurs, authority for managing wolves will completely transfer
to the state. In the meantime, being listed as threatened allows
Wisconsin’s wildlife officials to euthanize problem timber wolves.

They began doing so this spring. Three wolves were destroyed on a farm in
Burnett County and one from a farm in Barron County.

That trend will continue if wildlife officials are not able to prevent or
correct a problem wolf’s behavior. Wydeven said euthanasia would be the
solution because wolves populate almost all their acceptable habitat and
their numbers already meet the DNR’s management goals.

He assured Lincoln County supervisors before they passed their resolution
that no problem wolves would be relocated into their county. But
supervisors passed the resolution anyway, and called it an insurance
policy, because other northern counties were passing similar resolutions.

“And it’s not even a strong insurance policy because we can’t dictate what
the DNR does,” Roesel said, who made it clear that the resolution was not
a statement against having any wolves in Lincoln County.

Zak was glad to here his supervisors formally register an objection to
relocating problem wolves. “They’re pretty animals out in the woods, but
if he started messing with my animals, one way or another, he’d have to
go.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 20

Group will determine policy for future of wolves in Utah

Group will determine policy for future of wolves in Utah

CALEB WARNOCK The Daily Herald on Friday, June 20

A new task force will decide the future of wolves in Utah and
Utah County in coming months.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, acting on a joint
resolution of the Utah Legislature, has named 12 people to a group that
will develop a wolf policy for the state.

There is little doubt the wolves will soon be coming to Utah
and
Utah County, said Kevin Conway, director of Utah DWR.

“Basically this group will work together as concerned citizens
to assist in the development of a wolf management plan to address wolves
recolonizing Utah naturally,” he said.

The gray wolf was reintroduced to the western United States in
1995 when 14 wolves from Canada were transplanted to Yellowstone. Today,
650 to 700 wolves live in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Last year, a male from Yellowstone National Park became the
first confirmed wolf in Utah in nearly 70 years when it was caught in a
coyote trap about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City. The Utah Wolf Forum
would like to prepare residents for as many as 700 more of the creatures
– and they are advocating the Book Cliffs in Utah County’s southeast
corner as prime wolf habitat.

“Wolves could be in Utah County next week or in 10 years,”
said
Allison Jones, biologist with the Utah Wolf Forum.

The DWR is now in the process of hiring a professional
mediator
to lead the group, he said. The group’s first meeting is expected to be in
August; meetings will continue for 12-18 months, until the group has a
draft plan for wolf management. The plan would then have to be ratified by
the Utah Wildlife Board.

“We have been told that the wolf task force will create its
own
road map for a wolf recovery and management plan,” Jones said. “We are
cautiously optimistic about this project. There are a lot of sticky issues
and tricky issues to wade through.”

Task force members include two Utah State University faculty
and
two members of the Utah Wolf Forum, in addition to one member each from
the Utah Wildlife Board Member, Utah Audubon Council, Utah Wildlife
Federation, Utah Woolgrowers Association, Utah Farm Bureau, Sportsmen for
Fish and Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Ute Tribe and the
Utah Association of Counties.

For more information about the Utah Wolf Forum, visit
www.brwcouncil.org/ html/wolves.html.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 19

Alaska – Senator defends aerial wolf-kill plan

Senator defends aerial wolf-kill plan

WebPosted Jun 19 2003 06:53 PM CDT

WHITEHORSE – A practice banned in the 1990s is being resurrected, as
Alaskans prepare an aerial wolf kill program.

The new bill, signed into law by the state Governor on Wednesday, allows
private individuals to shoot wolves from airplanes.

The predator control program would only be allowed in areas where wolves
are killing moose and caribou populations.

Senator Ralph Seekins, who sponsored the bill, says animal rights groups
opposed to the practice are ignoring scientific facts.

  • LINK: Senator’s statement on aerial hunting bill

    “They have not so much concern for the animals as they do for how they can
    continue to raise funds by distorting the facts, not telling the truth,
    raising the emotions of folks and at the same time asking for a
    contribution so they can continue to drive their high priced cars around,
    live in big homes and have comfortable lifestyle,” he says. “We can
    actually show that you can support a larger wolf population if you control
    it for a while so you can build the prey population back.”

    Opponents of the program warn that a national outcry could produce a
    tourism boycott.

  • LINK: Defenders of Wildlife wolf page

    Source

  • Posted in Uncategorized
    Jun 19

    Wolf cases now up to three

    Wolf cases now up to three

    By RALPH ANSAMI

    Globe News Editor

    Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials who had been
    investigating two wolf killings in the Ironwood area now have a third case
    on their hands.

    A recent report from the DNR indicated conservation officers Phil
    Wolbrink, David Painter, Brett Gustafson and Det. Michael Johnson are
    investigating an illegal wolf killing discovered around the end of May in
    the Ironwood area. There was also a June 8 report of a wolf killing a
    month-old calf in the area.

    Grant Emery, a DNR conservation officer who recently transferred to
    Ironwood, is also investigating the latest wolf death, a spokesman for the
    DNR’s Crystal Falls office said this morning. Further information on the
    case hasn’t been released by the DNR.

    Late last year, the DNR said $3,000 rewards were being offered for
    information in six open cases involving the illegal killing of wolves in
    the U.P., including the following two Gogebic County:

    –On Nov. 16, officers responded to a mortality signal from a tracking
    collar and found a dead wolf in the Black River, north of Powderhorn
    Mountain, in Gogebic County.

    –On Nov. 6, a female wolf was found dead of gunshot wounds eight miles
    north of Ironwood, in the Little Girl’s Point area.

    Several Ironwood area residents have been interviewed by DNR and federal
    investigators in the past six months regarding the Gogebic County wolf
    killings.

    The most recent MDNR survey indicates there are at least 321 wolves
    roaming the U.P. Since 1989, the wolf population has increased every year,
    except 1997, when a small decline was noted.

    Last winter, biologists spent more than 2,000 hours conducting the latest
    wolf survey, using tracking, aerial observations of packs with
    radio-collared wolves, and other evidence to determine the population
    estimate.

    The MDNR regularly monitors about 40 wolves that have been fitted with
    radio collars to determine their movements and survival.

    DNR biologist Dean Beyer said wolves were found in all UP counties except
    Keweenaw. “We had found wolves in Keweenaw County in the past,” Beyer
    said.

    The U.P. wolf population has grown nearly 15 percent from 278 animals last
    year.

    “A recent change in the federal classification of wolves improves
    Michigan’s ability to manage the animals,” said Pat Lederle, DNR
    Endangered Species Program Coordinator. “In early April, the federal
    government reclassified wolves from ‘endangered’ status to ‘threatened’
    status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.”

    Federal reclassification provides flexibility in managing the growing wolf
    population in Michigan and Wisconsin by allowing wildlife managers to
    euthanize problem wolves, especially to the livestock industry.

    “Although it is doubtful such actions would be common, the DNR will use
    lethal control if it becomes absolutely necessary,” Lederle said. “The
    majority of our residents have welcomed the increasing wolf population,
    yet we must remain sensitive to human attitudes and not allow the animal’s
    natural activity to cause ill feelings with people, especially in the
    agricultural community.”

    Those experiencing wolf depredation are directed to call the DNR Report
    All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800, instead of the local DNR office.
    The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day.

    Source

    Posted in Uncategorized
    Jun 19

    Bill includes money for wolf control

    Bill includes money for wolf control

    NEWS TRIBUNE

    Legislation that will fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the next
    fiscal year includes more than$1 million for federal wolf control in Great
    Lakes states.

    The $1.05 million will go to federal wolf-control efforts in Minnesota,
    Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

    Those efforts include trapping and killing problem wolves near where
    livestock have been killed. This year, Wisconsin and Michigan have begun
    wolf-control measures after the animal was upgraded from endangered to
    threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Until now, wolves in
    Wisconsin and Michigan had to be trapped and released elsewhere.

    For years, Minnesota wolves have been declared threatened, and about 200
    adult wolves are trapped and destroyed each year near confirmed livestock
    kills.

    Wisconsin 7th District Congressman Dave Obey included the new money this
    week during a bill-writing session by the House Appropriations Agriculture
    Subcommittee. Obey is the Appropriations Committee’s top-ranking Democrat.

    “Today, we got onto first base — a necessary step and a solid start,”
    Obey said. It’s the same amount of money included for wolf management last
    year.

    Minnesota has about 2,600 wolves. Wisconsin and Michigan have more than
    300 each.

    Source

    Posted in Uncategorized
    Jun 19

    Alaska – Governor OKs wolf hunting in planes

    Governor OKs wolf hunting in planes

    HOWL: Such predator control could be used soon, state says.

    The Associated Press

    (Published: June 19, 2003)

    Gov. Frank Murkowski signed a bill Wednesday that could let private
    hunters shoot wolves from airplanes.

    Senate Bill 155 allows private citizens to participate in aerial and
    so-called land-and-shoot hunting in approved state predator-control
    programs. It also makes it easier for the Alaska Board of Game to
    implement such efforts.

    Murkowski had earlier objected that the bill cuts the administration out
    of predator-control decisions. But he concluded that the administration
    retains ultimate authority over predator control in Alaska.

    The Department of Fish and Game can refuse to fund programs and can block
    private hunters from receiving the federal permit needed for aerial
    hunting.

    “The Department of Fish and Game will continue to have significant
    involvement in the predator management process,” Murkowski said in a
    statement. “However, the bill provides a useful tool to the Board of Game
    in using predator control to achieve abundant and healthy game populations
    in Alaska.”

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Seekins, R-Fairbanks, also loosened
    restrictions under which the Game Board can call for predator control.

    Existing law says the board must determine prey population — moose or
    caribou — has fallen below previously established minimum levels before
    enacting a predator control program. Under the new law, the board could
    act regardless of the prey population.

    The Game Board last March listed aerial hunting as its top choice for
    eliminating about 40 wolves in a predator-control program near McGrath.

    The board wanted state Department of Fish and Game employees to shoot them
    from helicopters, but Murkowski wouldn’t allow it, saying he wanted
    McGrath residents to take care of the problem.

    Seekins’ bill may satisfy both Murkowski’s desire to leave wolf control to
    private citizens and hunters’ desire to shoot from the air.

    Aerial wolf hunts could be used soon, but sparingly, said Matt Robus, Fish
    and Game’s director of wildlife conservation. Robus said the department is
    interested in aerial wolf hunting near McGrath, where the state has been
    capturing and removing bears in a predator control experiment this summer.

    But in other areas of the state, predator control may not be effective for
    technological, biological or social reasons, Robus said.

    “It’s not just the wildlife biology that’s tough but how different members
    of the public feel and how that comes to bear on the department,” Robus
    said.

    Opponents of aerial wolf control say the Game Board and department will be
    wise to use the new predator control authority carefully.

    “The state has to analyze the impact of one program on other programs,
    what the national outcry is going be, how much (department) personnel time
    is needed for response. It’s not a low-impact program,” said Joel Bennett,
    a former Game Board member who now represents Defenders of Wildlife.

    The last time the Legislature eased restrictions in the state’s
    land-and-shoot laws, voters overturned the action through a ballot
    referendum. Bennett said opponents of the new law “haven’t decided what to
    do yet.”

    But a national outcry and tourism boycott could result, he said.

    Source

    Posted in Uncategorized