Four wolves were killed during the first weekend of wolf season in Michigan, which opened Friday, November 15. This year marks the first wolf-hunting season for the state since the animal was listed as an endangered species nearly 40 years ago, according to ABC News.
Due to increasing numbers, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lake region over the last several years. Six states have since held wolf hunting seasons.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a target of culling 43 gray wolves before the season ends on December 31. To do so, it has granted 1,200 wolf-hunting licenses, and will stop the season upon reaching the culling goal. The bag limit is one per person for the state of Michigan and the wolf carcass must be presented at a check station within 72 hours of harvest, reports ABC News. Michigan's estimated gray wolf population is 658.
In Wisconsin, 85 wolves were killed in the first six days of the season. However, Wisconsin's culling goals are far larger, with a target of 251 wolves by the season's end in February, reports Wisconsin's Journal Sentinel. In northern parts of the county, ranch owners and farmers claim that they are losing more livestock to wolves due to the increasing population.
In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act all together. If removed, gray wolves would be stripped of nearly all of their protections across the country. Public hearings to debate the issue were scheduled this fall and then cancelled due to the government shutdown. According to Treehugger, hearings in Sacramento, Albuquerque, and Denver have been rescheduled for the coming weeks.
On Sunday, a wolf hunter in Montana killed a pet Malamute.