MARQUETTE, MI - Tonight, DNR officials are still searching for a suspect in a gray wolf poaching case that happened in Houghton County on Monday. DNR officials say it happened along M-26, a half-mile south of Twin Lakes, between 10 a.m. And 1:30 p.m.
Gray wolves are a federally endangered species and are protected in Michigan.The idea of having a legal wolf hunting season has been a topic of debate in recent years, especially in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan wolf population has rebounded naturally after a DNR attempt to reintroduce wolves in the 1970's failed. The population growth has left scientists at odds with each other on how the species should be handled according to John Pepin, the Deputy Public Information Officer for the DNR
"There's different groups of scientists who believe that the wolf has reached its recovery and not de-listing them and not allowing them to be managed is a detriment to them," said Pepin. "And there are scientists on the other side who think that despite the fact that the wolves have recovered the initial population goals that their population hasn't recovered throughout its entire range."
And this ongoing debate leaves wolf management in the great lakes area at a stalemate.
Pepin continued, "Basically there's nothing that can be done lethally right now to control wolves, including holding a hunt. There can't be a wolf hunt until the wolves are no longer a federally endangered species."
Currently wolves must be managed using non-lethal methods, unless they are threatening human lives. The last time Michigan held a legal wolf hunting season, hunters were only able to harvest 23 wolves in a nearly two month long season.
If you witness or have suspicions of poaching, call the Report All Poaching hotline at 800 292 7800.