Wolf - Western Great Lakes
Midwest Region


Map of Region 3 Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan


Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Summary of the Michigan DNR Wolf Management Plan Dated (Dec. 15, 1997)

pdf version


Numerical Targets


BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  The plan calls for a "minimum sustainable population" of 200 wolves in the Upper Peninsula.


BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  Habitat, prey, land-use analysis showed that the Upper Peninsula can support at least 800 wolves.


BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  No upper population limit is specified, but an upper limit referred to as the cultural carrying capacity will be determined by public reaction.


BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  The plan acknowledges that in the future "some degree of wolf population stabilization and control" may be needed and that "some wolves will likely need to be killed under controlled conditions."


State Reclassification/Delisting/Relisting Criteria

BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  Reclassify to state-threatened after 100 in WI-MI for five consecutive years

BulletSquiggle.gif (270 bytes)  State-delist after 200 in Michigan for five consecutive years


Will be high priority for 5 years post-Federal delisting and until population reaches 200. Periodic surveys to be done after 200 wolves achieved, but frequency and methods are not specified. Monitoring will be to estimate numbers, range, territory locations, locate den and rendezvous sites, identify dispersal corridors and dispersal rates and directions, estimate productivity and mortality, and determine any special management needs. Methods will include radio telemetry (goal is at least one collared wolf per pack), winter tracking, and wolf observation reports by DNR personnel.


Habitat Protection

Den/rendezvous sites (occupied within the last two years) will be protected by a two-ring protective zones, whether on private or public land. The inner ring, 100 meters in radius, will be a zone of no land use activity at any time. No new roads or trails should be constructed, and existing forest roads and trails should be obliterated. Recreational use of the area will not be discouraged. In the second zone, out to ½ mile from the home site, most land use activities will be allowed during the August though February period. Clear-cutting is allowed, as long as travel corridors from the home site to adjacent standing timber are maintained. No new permanent roads or trails should be constructed, and temporary road (e.g., for timber harvest) should be closed or obliterated after their need has passed.


If current road densities are at or below 1 mi. per sq. mi., they should be kept at that level. [Presumably this applies only to areas of the UP that are currently suitable wolf habitat, as shown by Figure of the Plan. The plan also implies that areas with higher densities should have some roads closed to achieve this lowered density but note the discussion on p 26 indicating reduction of road densities may not be important "if people are...tolerant". Road closure specifically for wolves was an issue during scoping for the state wolf plan, at public meetings, state officials emphasized there would be no road closure or wide spread access restriction just for wolves.] Temporary roads should be closed when their purpose has been achieved. The plan notes recent evidence that wolves may be able to recolonize areas of higher road and human density than previously believed provided "people are generally tolerant of wolves". Reduction of existing road densities may not be as important as avoiding an increase in road density.


Linkage zones, or regional habitat corridors, should be identified and preserved to connect wolf populations in MN, WI, MI, and Ontario. All natural resource agencies and potentially affected landowners should be involved in their identification and protection. "Sanctuaries" or large areas of wilderness do not need to be set aside for wolves.Existing deer habitat improvement and maintenance programs by the DNR and national forests will be adequate to maintain a sufficient deer population to support a viable wolf population. No additional deer habitat management, or habitat management to increase the population of any other prey species, is considered necessary specifically to benefit wolves.


Depredation Control
If verified as wolf depredation, trapping, radio-collaring, and translocation to unoccupied area will occur while Federally listed as endangered. "Limited lethal control may be done" when Federally reclassified to threatened or delisted. No other details given. Cooperative efforts to reduce depredation problems, involving the DNR and livestock producers, are encouraged.MI DNR does not pay compensation for wildlife-caused losses of any kind, but will work to develop a private funding source for wolf depredation compensation. [The plan does not mention that the Michigan Department of Agriculture currently administers a limited wolf depredation compensation program.]


Population Management
Population management, except for depredation control is not addressed beyond statements that the wolf population may need to be controlled by lethal means as some future time, when the cultural carrying capacity is reached or approached.


Law Enforcement
MI DNR will have the primary responsibility for LE actions, but these must be carried out in close cooperation with Federal, tribal, and local LE authorities. The closing of the coyote hunting season on the UP during the first half on November (deer gun season) should be continued. Other appropriate regulations should be developed, as necessary, to achieve wolf management goals.


Identified research needs include wolf monitoring (population, range, health, etc.), human attitudes, modeling to simulate population growth and habitat interactions. Other research needs are expected to develop.


Information and Education
A coordinated long-range I&E plan should be developed, involving Federal, state, tribal, and local agencies, TWIN, TWA, IWC, MUCC, and others. Education materials and programs intended for various target audiences will be developed. A "code of conduct" for all individuals/organizations interested in observing wolves is recommended for development.

This summary was developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3, Division of Endangered Species, Ft. Snelling, MN, with the assistance of the East Lansing, MI, Ecological Services Field Office.


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Last updated: September 12, 2016