Wolf licenses go to the first 1200 hunters

Hunters preparing to take part in Michigan's wolf hunting season have a chance to get a license this week.

Hunters preparing to take part in Michigan's wolf hunting season have a chance to get a license this week.

Wolf hunting licenses go on sale Saturday starting at noon through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The licenses will be available through Oct. 31, or until the 1,200 license quota is met. Wolf hunting licenses cost $100 for Michigan residents and $500 for nonresidents.

Licenses will be available online, at any authorized license agent and at the following DNR offices: 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. Also on Aug. 3, DNR wildlife staff members will be available to answer wolf hunting questions at the offices listed above.

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.