Public Opinion May Be Mixed
4:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Michigan Wolf Hunt Begins, Not Without Some Controversy

Michigan’s first wolf hunt has begun.  At least one advocacy group is not happy about it. 

Hunters in Michigan's first wolf hunt will take up to 43 wolves.
Hunters in Michigan's first wolf hunt will take up to 43 wolves.
Credit Caninest via http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4029/4394675343_2e347e32c6.jpg

The National Wolfwatcher Coalition is claiming Michigan DNR officials ignored thousands of emailed comments protesting the state’s wolf hunting plan.  The group’s Great Lakes Section Leader Nancy Warren says about 1200 comments were from Michigan residents, and only 13 supported the plan.

“And 99 percent of them say they did not support a hunt or did not support a portion of the hunt.  Some of them said, not now, it’s too soon after de-listing to have a hunt.”

But DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell  says the comments are not a good measure of public opinion.

“Those are not reflective of what the citizens of Michigan want.  What those are reflective of is how well one group can generate a mass email.”

Roell says the comments were mostly repeats of the same email.  He also points to a 2005 survey of Michigan residents.  It found two thirds of those surveyed favor using hunters to control the state’s wolf population. 

Warren says it’s true many of the comments were form emails, but says many of them contained personalized messages as well.  Warren also says thousands of those form emails were destroyed without being tallied or entered into the public record. 

Michigan’s wolf hunt is restricted to the Upper Peninsula.  The quota this year is 43 wolves.