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Michigan biologist discusses wolf facts versus myths

Michigan Wolves

Photo credit: Dreamstime

There’s a fine line between fact and fiction, especially when it comes to as controversial a subject as wolves. Last week, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Wildlife Biologist Brian Roell talked about these distinctions during his presentation entitled, “Michigan Wolves: Myths vs. Facts.” Roell pointed out that there were two clearly divergent sides to the wolf issue: those who want to protect them and those who “want every wolf dead,” The Mining Journal reports.

“Both sides are equally guilty of using facts and myths incorrectly,” said Roell, noting that the MDNR often feels stuck between both sides of the argument.

Roell acknowledged that clearly identifying a wolf can be tricky and it was important to know the differences between a coyote and a wolf. He also pointed out that the current Michigan-based myth of a wolf-coyote super breed and the idea that wolves and coyotes were interbreeding was completely false.

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“Generally, wolves kill coyotes anytime they get a chance,” said Roell, who also briefly touched on the controversial issue of whether wolves should retain federal protections. He also questioned whether the issue of a wolf hunt boiled down to “a recreational opportunity or a conflict resolution of one?”

According to The Mining Journal, the current wolf tally was completed last winter and MDNR wildlife biologists estimate that are roughly 662 wolves within 139 packs across the Upper Peninsula. Last August, a federal judge returned federal protections to the Great Lakes wolves that live within Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota after ruling that the government had acted prematurely when it removed wolves from the endangered species list.

In Michigan, wolves are only allowed to be killed in self-defense.

3 Comments

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Phillip G. - posted 1 week ago on 08-12-2018 08:12:10 am
goHUNT INSIDER

I disagree with the statement that there are "two clearly divergent sides" as to people who want them all dead and the others who want to protect them. All of the hunters I know, many of which have hunted for generations in the U.P., believe there needs to be a regulated hunting season for wolves just like every other type of game that isn't protected by the endangered species act.

It's no secret that deer numbers are in decline in the U.P. and a reduction in the wolf population will help boost their numbers. In addition to the CWD effects and harsh winters, serious and swift thought needs to be taken to protect the longevity of the whitetail in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Gary H. - posted 2 weeks ago on 08-06-2018 10:13:13 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Anyone else hear the story about the wolf that traveled from Michigan to California in less than a week? Happened when they first got re-introduced.

Well...it didn't technically relocate but someone "Removed" its tracking collar and put it on top of a railroad car. I heard the DOW was really thrown for a loop on that one...lol

Duane Z. - posted 2 weeks ago on 08-05-2018 08:36:56 am

With 662 wolves in the UP combined with the hard winters, then its no wonder the deer population is so low.