Wolf season is new kid on the block this November/Inside the DNR

Fall in the Copper Country is chock full of hunting opportunities of seemingly endless variety, but once November hits, there is one species that moves into primetime for most Upper Peninsula hunters: white-tailed deer.

However, in spite of the usual flurry of activity that accompanies the Nov. 15 firearm deer opener, a new species may take center stage this year when the state’s first-ever wolf hunting season also opens on Nov. 15.

The wolf season, which is a limited, targeted management hunt designed to minimize wolf-related conflicts in specific areas of the U.P., will run from Nov. 15 through Dec. 30, or until the quota of 43 wolves has been reached. Two of the Wolf Management Units (A & B) are found in the western U.P., with a combined quota of 35 wolves. The third hunting area, Unit C in the eastern U.P., has a quota of eight wolves.

Many hunters and interested members of the public have asked how the wolf harvest will be monitored and reported to ensure hunters do not exceed each unit’s quota.

Successful hunters are required to report their harvest by calling 855-345-WOLF before the end of the day when harvest occurred. These reports will be closely monitored on a regular basis by DNR staff, and once the harvest quota is met (or is expected to imminently be met) a unit closure notice will be issued through the wolf hunting call-in system and online at “http://www.michigan.gov/wolves”>www.michigan.gov/wolves. The media and all hunting license retail locations will also receive notification.

Licensed hunters are required to check daily before hunting to determine if any of the units have been closed, either via the call-in system, DNR website, or by visiting or calling a retail license location. Wolf Management Unit closure is effective 24 hours after the closure is announced via the call-in system and DNR website, however, hunters are encouraged to immediately stop hunting in that unit once the closure is announced and move to another unit (if still open).

By utilizing this system, modeled after systems developed by other states with limited wolf hunts, the DNR and hunters will work cooperatively to ensure quotas are met but not exceeded in the three hunting units.

Full details of how the wolf hunting season will be managed, how it was designed, and why it is being used as a management tool in Michigan, can be found in the 2013 Wolf Hunting Digest, available at any DNR office, hunting license retail location, or online at www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Reader question of the month:

Q: What can the public legally do on private land enrolled in the Commercial Forest program?

A: To put it simply, Commercial Forest landowners must provide foot access to the public for the activities of hunting and fishing and nothing more. If members of the public would like to access CF land for activities other than hunting and fishing (hiking, berry picking, bird watching, etc.), they must contact the landowner for permission. Motorized access is also subject to permission from the landowner, as is leaving anything on the land, such as a tree stand or hunting blind. Additional details on the CF program, and the rules landowners and members of the public must follow, can be found online at www.michigan.gov/commercialforest. Thanks for the question!

Additional items of interest for November:

The DNR Fisheries Division is now producing an online quarterly publication that highlights our work on inland lakes and streams. “Reel in Michigan’s Fisheries” is geared toward the interests of the angling public and can be found online at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Dave Cella of L’Anse was recently presented with a Partners in Conservation Award from the DNR and Natural Resources Commission. Cella was honored for his dedication to environmental stewardship and fisheries improvement efforts in the Huron River watershed. Congratulations, Dave!

As of today, the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division has transitioned to a new and improved online reservation system for state campgrounds and harbors. Included in the improvements is the ability to view one or more photos of each campsite prior to making reservations. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks.

Woodcock season closes Monday, Nov. 4; ruffed grouse and archery deer seasons close Thursday, Nov. 14 for the firearm deer season and will reopen on Sunday, Dec. 1; fall turkey season also closes on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Have questions for us? Call in to “Ask the DNR” on WNMU-TV 13 on Thursday, Nov. 7 and Thursday, Dec. 5 to have your question answered live on the air.

Debbie Munson Badini is the DNR’s Deputy Public Information Officer. Have suggestions for future column topics or questions about natural resource management in the UP? Contact her by phone at 906-226-1352, via email at munsonbadinid@michigan.gov, or on Twitter @MichiganDNR.