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      Expected high demand for wolf hunting licenses postpones sales

      DNR officials announced Tuesday that they are postponing the sale of wolf hunting licenses until Sept. 28. The hunting licenses were supposed to be sold beginning Aug. 3.

      The Department of Natural Resources is holding off on selling wolf hunting licenses.

      DNR officials announced Tuesday that they are postponing the sale of wolf hunting licenses until Sept. 28. The hunting licenses were supposed to be sold beginning Aug. 3.

      The DNR decided to postpone the wolf hunting license sales to ensure the offices computers are able to handle the expected high demand.

      "We anticipate that there will be a lot of people trying to buy a very limited number of licenses in a short timeframe," said Adam Bump, DNR bear and furbearer specialist. "This is a first-come, first-served purchase, unlike other limited-license hunts that require an application and drawing process, so it presents a new challenge for our retail sales system. We want to make sure the system is equipped for the high volume so sales go smoothly and everyone has an equal chance to get a wolf license."

      Bump said that, in addition to ensuring that technology is up to speed, the DNR is working to put adequate Saturday staffing in place to make the license-buying process as fair and efficient as possible.

      Licenses will be available online , at any authorized license agent and at the following DNR offices on Sept. 28: Baraga Customer Service Center, Bay City Customer Service Center, Cadillac Customer Service Center, Crystal Falls Field Office, Escanaba Field Office, Gaylord Customer Service Center, Marquette Customer Service Center, Naubinway Field Office, Newberry Customer Service Center, Norway Field Office, Plainwell Customer Service Center, Roscommon Customer Service Center, Rose Lake Field Office, Sault Ste. Marie Field Office, Southfield Customer Service Center and Traverse City Field Office.

      DNR offices will be open Saturday from 11:30am-5pm, but may close earlier if wolf licenses sell out.

      For more information regarding hunting dates, regulations and the required wolf call-in system, please check the 2013 Wolf Hunting Digest .

      The Michigan Natural Resources Commission named the wolf a game species in the state, approving a limited public wolf harvest in the Upper Peninsula on July 11.

      The Department of Natural Resources says the state's wolf population has grown significantly since 2000, with a current minimum population of 658. Officials say the target harvest is not expected to affect the overall wolf population.

      "This decision was a culmination of a long and thorough process by the NRC," said Keith Creagh, DNR Director. "The DNR will continue to work closely with the commission to be certain that Michigan's wolf population is managed according to the principles of sound science."

      Michigan's wolf hunting season is controversial. The group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed language with the Secretary of State to launch a second referendum campaign to stop the hunting wolves on July 2.

      "This second referendum will preserve the impact of our first referendum that has already been certified for the ballot - ensuring Michigan voters have the right to protect wolves and other wildlife matters," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. "Michiganders deserve to have their voices heard on the wolf issue, and we hope they'll have an opportunity to vote on two ballot measures next year to do just that."

      Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is aiming to collect at least 225,000 signatures to qualify for the Nov. 2014 ballot.

      The 2013 wolf hunting season will open on Nov. 15 and will run until the harvest is met, but no later than Dec. 31. The bag limit is one wolf per person per year and trapping will not be allowed. Firearm, crossbow and bow-and-arrow hunting will be allowed on public and private lands.

      A total of 1,200 wolf licenses will be available for purchase beginning Sept. 28 at noon until Oct. 31, or until the license quota is met. Wolf licenses cost $100 for residents and $500 for nonresidents.