The first gray wolf hunt in Michigan since the species was listed under the Endangered Species Act begins today.
The season will run through December, with a maximum of 43 animals killed. The state Department of Natural Resources estimates the population at 658, all of which live in the Upper Peninsula.
Supporters of the hunt say that the population has reached a stable level and that killing some of the animals is needed to protect cattle, sheep and dogs.
But the opposition argues the damage and danger caused by wolves has been blown out of proportion. Landowners already have the authority to shoot wolves attacking livestock, and only a few farms have problems, they said.
"There is no sound scientific basis to be killing these animals," said Nancy Warren, an Upper Peninsula resident and regional director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
While there has been a disproportionate number of attacks on one farm, the department said 26 attacks at 10 other sites have occurred between 2010 and 2012.
The hunt will "reduce conflicts in areas where our current tools just haven't cut it," said Adam Bump, a DNR animal specialist (John Flesher, AP/Casper [Wyo.] Star-Tribune, Nov. 14).
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