Good Morning Commissioners, Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you again about revisions to the Wolf Management Plan.  My name is Steve Dey, and I am calling from Moran this morning where I am on the Board of Directors for the Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club.  First and foremost, I would like to reiterate that no one is calling for the extermination of the Gray Wolf from the UP.  As a pro-wolf individual, my goal is to see a healthy; viable, and sustainable population of wolves in the UP without destroying other wildlife populations. The best way to accomplish this would be to include a hunting and trapping season for the entire UP; along with setting a long-range goal of 300 to 400 animals in the Wolf Management Plan.   I would remind everyone this goal is more than the 200 animals set in the Wolf Management.

  1. Those opposed to a managed Hunting and Trapping Seasons as a tool for population control say there is no science behind it.
    1. One example of science being, in this case, is when the DNR has conducted Winter Wolf Surveys.  Which they have been doing for the past 20 years.  The surveys have shown a steady increase in the wolf population.  In the 1997 Wolf Recovery and Management Plan, a viable population was defined as 200 animals for five consecutive years.  The goal has been achieved!  Their population has grown from 212 in 2000 to 695 in 2020.  Just a reminder these are low numbers.
    1. In this same 20 span, there has been a steady decline in the deer herd and harvest.  You have bird hunters and houndsmen who are concerned about losing their dogs while hunting.  Also, there is an increasing number of residents who are alarmed enough they are hesitant to let their children or pets out in their backyard.  Over the last couple of months, we have shared examples of wolves in St. Ignace.  Recently I saw a video where a wolf was running down a road in Gladstone and the person talking about a nearby school.   Those opposed have said no one has been attacked in Michigan; well we came close last year with Brian Krupla’s experience where a wolf was charging him. Common sense says there are more wolves so they are expanding their territories. 
  2. I am encouraged the DNR has formed the Wolf Management Advisory Council and will begin meeting soon.  The Council needs to incorporate the resolutions passed by MUCC, UPSA, both the Eastern and Western CAC’s, and the petition by the U.P. Trappers Association calling for a Wolf Hunting and Trapping Season across the entire Upper Peninsula with the long-range goal of reducing the population to 300-400 animals. Again this is 100 to 200 more animals than the Wolf Management goal of 200.
  3. The DNR is receiving pressure to implement hunting and trapping season before the end of 2021.  
    1. In a survey conducted by our club last week about Wolf Management; while it is not scientific we were looking to get followers to the opinion on Wolf Management in the U.P.;  One of the questions we asked was:
      1. Do you believe Michigan DNR should change its stance and implement a wolf management hunting and trapping season in 2021?   We had 948 respondents              932  or 98.3% said yes;                       16 or 1.7%  said no. 
      1. Many left comments.  I would like to share one that stood out to me.  ‘Wolves are clearly overpopulated in the Upper Peninsula… a wolf was seen by the Cameron Elementryar school in Gladstone … right in town … and another was killed by the log cabin in Gladstone with is a very busy highway and highly populated area’.  This is the video I referred to earlier.  With just 5 mins I do not have time to read the other well-thought-out comments.
      1.  Are you familiar with the Michigan DNR stance on a 2021 Wolf Season?               424 or 51.3% Are Familiar;     310 or 37.5% are somewhat familiar;   93 or 11.2% are unfamiliar with what is being done.  This points out a communication issue which I am sure will be addressed.
  4. At one of the winter CAC meetings, biologist Brian Roell pointed out that the present plan does incorporate awolf hunt for other than problem wolves under section 6.12.2.  In talking with residents of the U.P. and conducting the survey there is a strong feeling that a wolf season should begin sooner than later.  Since the present Wolf Management Plan is still in effect and does provide for a hunting season a fall 2021 season could be implemented; until the plan, with the new revisions is completed.  This would begin the process of reducing the wolf population; helping the deer herd and other wildlife to recover and address human conflict problems I mentioned before.
  5. In Closing, I hope the Council will do what is right for not only the wolf but all wildlife in the UP and residents of the UP.  I wish you luck and plan to attend these open meetings.  Thank you for your time this morning.

Note 1: Healthy Population – A population is relatively free from diseases like rabies, Parvo, or interbreeding.

Note 2: Viable Population – Is a population size necessary to avoid extinction or put them back on the Endangered Species list.  300-400 animals would do this.

Note 3:                                    7 Pillars Of N. American Wildlife Mgmnt (USFW)

1) Wildlife is a public resource and held in public trust. In the United States, wildlife is considered a public resource, independent of the land or water where wildlife may live. The government at various levels has a role in managing that resource on behalf of all citizens and to ensure the long-term sustainability of wildlife populations.

2) Markets for the game have been eliminated. Government actions making it illegal to buy and sell meat and parts of the game and non-game species have removed a huge threat to the survival of those species. A market in furbearers continues as a highly regulated activity.

3) Allocation of wildlife by law. Wildlife is a public resource managed by the government. As a result, access to wildlife for hunting is through legal mechanisms such as set hunting seasons, bag limits, license requirements, etc.

4) Wildlife can only be killed for a legitimate purpose. Wildlife is a shared resource that must not be wasted. The law prohibits killing wildlife for frivolous reasons.

5) Wildlife species are considered an international resource. Some species, such as migratory birds, cross national boundaries. Treaties such as the Migratory Bird Treaty and CITES recognize a shared responsibility to manage these species across national boundaries.

6) Science is the proper tool for the discharge of wildlife policy. To manage wildlife as a shared resource fairly, objectively, and knowledgeably, decisions must be based on sound science such as annual waterfowl population surveys and the work of professional wildlife biologists.

7) The democracy of hunting and fishing. In keeping with democratic principles, the government allocates access to wildlife without regard for wealth, prestige, or land ownership.

Note 4: Per the 2020 Deer Camp Survey a marked increase in wolf sightings.  Pages 16 & 17

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