Extremely cold weather may have played a part in the damper on hunters’ success in bagging a wolf in the Upper Peninsula. It’s been almost two and a half weeks since a wolf was taken by a hunter.
It was December fifth, to be exact, when the last wolf was bagged. Twenty wolves have been taken so far, and it’s not likely that number will reach the limit of 43 set by state wildlife officials.
“I would definitely say it’s been a little tougher to get these wolves than we thought it would be,” says Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. He says it could be the cold, or it could be that wolves have adapted and learned to avoid hunters.
“Talking to some of these wolf hunters, they say the wolves have definitely changed their behavior and have become very difficult to get once they were hunted,” he says.
Roell says it’s too soon to tell whether that means wolves will stay clear of areas populated by humans and livestock. State wildlife officials say the wolf season will help reduce attacks on pets and livestock. A total of 20 wolves have been killed in the season that began in late November.
Opponents of the wolf season say it’s not necessary so soon after the species was taken off the endangered list. The Humane Society, which opposes the hunting season, says that shows wolves are shy and already avoid human contact. A ballot challenge to the law that allows the wolf hunt is underway.