Wolf - Western Great Lakes
Midwest Region


Map of Region 3 Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan


Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Archived Information - Control of Depredating Wolves in Michigan:

Set of Findings: Michigan DNR Wolf Depredation Permit (May 2006)

PDF of entire document (18 pages)



The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) submitted an application for a permit to take gray wolves in order to conduct various recovery activities for the species. A notice of the application was published in the Federal Register on September 14, 2005. That notice opened a 30-day comment period on the application. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requested written comments on the permit application by October 14, 2005.


A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) was developed by Wildlife Services (WS), a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The USFWS was a cooperating agency, while the MDNR and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission were consulting agencies in the development of the EA. The EA was made available for public review and comment on January 19, 2006. The draft Environmental Assessment examined a range of options for addressing the problem of wolf damage in Michigan, including a preferred alternative that would allow control of wolves that kill or attack livestock and pets. Under the preferred alternative, a permit would be needed to implement an integrated wildlife damage management program allowing removal of depredating wolves.


There were numerous comments received during the comment period for the EA which closed on February 21, 2006. This memorandum constitutes a Set of Findings for processing the application and describes the Service's rationale for making its recommendation to issue a Section 10(a)(1)(A) permit to the applicant. This set of findings is organized, first by the requirements of section 10 of the Endangered Species Act; second by the proposed action and response to comments from the EA; and finally by the issuance criteria of 50 CFR 17.22 (a)(2). Much of the information used in this document is described in detail in the Environmental Assessment and Biological Opinion.


Under the preferred alternative, damage management would be conducted on private or public property in Michigan when the resource owners/managers request assistance to alleviate wolf damage, wolf damage is verified, and agreements have been completed specifying the details of the damage management action. The proposed action anticipates the USFWS issuing a permit for take of wolves under Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act.


WS would act as agents of the MDNR which is the agency requesting a permit for the take of depredating wolves from the USFWS. The types of wolf conflicts that could be addressed include:


1) depredation on livestock,
2) depredation on pets, and
3) potential threats to human health and safety.


Under the preferred alternative, the Integrated Wildlife Damage Management strategy would encompass the use of the full range of legal, practical and effective methods of preventing or reducing damage while minimizing harmful effects of damage management measures on humans, wolves, other species, and the environment. Under this action, WS and the MDNR would provide technical assistance and operational damage management, including non-lethal and lethal management methods selected after applying the WS Decision Model (Slate et al. 1992). When appropriate, best management practices (animal husbandry), frightening devices, and livestock guarding animals could be recommended and utilized to reduce wolf damage.


In situations where non-lethal methods are ineffective or when the damage situation and landowner practices meet USFWS and MDNR requirements, wolves would be removed as humanely as possible using foot-hold traps, foot snares, neck snares, and shooting. In determining the damage management strategy, preference would be given to non-lethal methods when they are deemed practical and effective. Lethal methods would be used to reduce damage after practical and appropriate non-lethal methods have been considered and determined to be ineffective or inappropriate in reducing damage to acceptable levels.


The most appropriate initial response to a wolf damage problem could be a combination of non-lethal and lethal methods, or there could be instances where application of lethal methods alone would be the most appropriate strategy. WS would only use lethal WDM methods with the consent of the MDNR.


Under the Michigan Gray Wolf Recovery and Management Plan (MDNR 1997), lethal control can be used when: 1) there have been documented, confirmed losses at a site, 2) the producer/owner has a signed depredation management plan for the property which includes damage abatement recommendations (exact logistical details of this agreement are currently being reviewed by MDNR). 3) WS Specialists recommend euthanizing, and the MDNR approves. All wolf damage management would be conducted in compliance with appropriate federal, state, and local laws and court-mandated restrictions.


PDF of entire document (18 pages)



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Last updated: September 12, 2016