T he State of Michigan is getting closer to creating a bill that will allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Natural Resources held a public forum to talk about the proposal. Many of the people who attended today's meeting were avid hunters who were looking for a solution to what they say is a growing problem.
" Even though we ' ve had three to four mild winters back-to-back, where we should be seeing a growth in our deer herd, we are actually seeing the opposite. And about the only thing we're seeing on the property during deer season is coyote tracks and wolf tracks," Hunter Curtis Stone said.
M any of the local hunters at the forum were concerned about the increased number of wolves around the state. The grey wolf has made a drastic rebound since being placed on the endangered species list in the 1970s. There are now nearly 700 around the state.
" Well I would like to see a limited hunt so that people feel there is some regulation on the wolf and that it becomes a fearful of man and we keep its numbers in check so we help the balance out a little bit more," St. Ignace resident Dick Soczek said.
A representative from the DNR says they understand that people are concerned about the wolf population. But they can't do anything until the Legislature is convinced that there is a need for a regulated hunt.
" We have some ideas of what the public ' s going to be looking for us to consider to make that choice of whether we need an additional management tool to manage wolves in the U.P. or whether we don't," DNR representative Adam Bump said.
T he Michigan State Senate has voted to make the gray wolf a game species. But a bill has yet to be signed by the Governor.