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MI: One Problem Farm Has Most Wolf Livestock Kills

By Bob Allen

One problem farm in the Upper Peninsula appears to exaggerate the problem of wolves killing livestock. A main reason state officials approved a wolf hunting season this year was to prevent such attacks.

Poor Practices

In management unit B, a single cattle ranch accounts for nearly three-fourths of incidents when wolves killed livestock. That’s according to data compiled from Department of Natural Resources reports.

DNR found dead cattle scattered around that ranch last winter. The agency had given the farmer some fencing and three donkeys to ward off encroaching wolves. But a state investigation found the fencing missing and two of the donkeys dead from neglect.

“And this is the farmer that was the poster child, essentially, for the need for a wolf hunting season in Michigan,” says Jill Fritz, head of the Humane Society in Michigan, who is opposed to the wolf hunt.

Not Just One Farm

The DNR says eleven other farms in that area also have had livestock killed since 2010. And the hunting season is a way to reduce the overall number of wolves there.

“If you look at the statistical analysis on this, it’s almost a one to one ratio. You know there’s a high correlation between the number of wolves and livestock depredation,” says DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell.

The DNR wants to reduce the number of wolves in management unit B by nineteen in this fall’s hunt.

Opponents say if you factor out the livestock killed on the one problem farm, the remaining incidents don’t justify a hunt to control predation.