by Jennifer Perez
MARQUETTE — Wolves are one of thetop predators in the Upper Peninsula.
They are a territorial animal, sometimes seen on roads and trails as they travel long distances patrolling over a hundred square miles in territory.
So, how many are in the U.P.
“You got 100, 150 wolves that are producing a liter of 3-5 wolves. Figure a few of those aren’t going to make it, but your size every year just jumps astronomically,” said Sigurd Utych, man on the street.
According to Department of Natural Resources there are at least 636 wolves in the U.P.
Some are tracked with radio collars. The DNR conducts a random survey every other year on 60 percent of the U.P.
“Even though we have radio collars we don’t do a lot of counting from the air. Those radio collars help us separate packs in particular packs close together. So, it’s a lot of on the ground work by trained trackers,” said Brian Roell, Wildlife Biologist, DNR.
So far this year, the DNR says wolves have killed twenty livestock animals and eight hound dogs in the U.P.
DNR officials say they are isolated incidents.
“They are random events. It’s not all wolves that kill dogs. It does seem to be certain packs that are killing dogs. And, we do know if a pack does kill dogs they tend to kill dogs the next year,” Roell said.
Officials say most of the attacks on dogs are a territorial issue.
While the attacks on livestock can be a result of a lack of prey in the woods.
There’s no cases of humans being attacked by a wild healthy wolf in the lower 48 states, as they tend to be skittish around humans.
Officials advise checking the land you will be hunting on beforehand.
“Look for fresh wolf signs. Become familiar with the differences between dog tracks and wolf tracks. Look for wolf scat they do tend to leave their scat just like coyotes as a territorial marking,” Roell said.
You can also check DNR’S website for areas known for wolf attacks.