MLive.com http://topics.mlive.com/tag/wolf%20hunt/index.html , which showed that state legislators and a DNR official embellished or invented wolf incidents to frighten the public into accepting a wolf hunting season in Michigan for the first time in decades. 

The first Michigan wolf hunting season was based on a series of lies.

Now this? 


Reposted January 9. 2014 from 
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

Please follow them so that we can let folks know what happens to Michigan wolves and help them when we can.

DNR Director Keith CREAGH, in a year-end interview with MIRS, said the hunt evaluation process is underway, and a decision to be made on any future hunts could come later in May or June.

However, Creagh said the trapping of wolves has shown to be more effective than hunting, but wouldn't say for sure if that would happen here in Michigan.
"At this point in time, it's too soon to tell should you integrate trapping into that broader portfolio of tools, but that's always a potential," he said.

The DNR limited the number of wolves to be taken during the roughly six-week season ending Tuesday at 43.

A group organizing to repeal the wolf hunting season through the ballot box, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP) issued a press release today condemning the use of trapping for any future wolf hunts as being "inhumane" and "painful." During the 2013 wolf hunt in Wisconsin, 67 percent of wolves caught were through traps, KMWP claims.

Creagh said a summary report of the hunt could come as soon as the Jan. 9 Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.

"We are convinced that we did not adversely impact the population and the sustainability of the wolf packs," he said. "What is unclear yet is exactly how we influenced the behavior of the animals."

When asked why he thought the wolf hunt attracted so much criticism from opposition groups, Creagh said one reason is that some people disagree with using hunting to manage animal populations.

Citing the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation, he said hunting could be used to sustain and protect animal populations.

"At some point in time, there needs to be check and balance in the system," he said.

KMWP and the Humane Society of the United States have been outspoken opponents of hunting Michigan wolves.

After the Legislature made wolves a game species, the anti-hunting groups gathered enough signatures to trigger a 2014 referendum on the law and put it on hold. But the Legislature passed another law giving the power of designating game species to the NRC.

The anti-hunting groups then started a second petition drive for a referendum on that law. But now a coalition of hunting groups are gathering signatures to put a initiative in front of lawmakers that would protect the NRC's game designation power.

When asked what the DNR and NRC would do if the power to name game species were taken away by referendum, Creagh said, "If our statutory authorities are repealed, we'll work within the statutory authorities that are given to us by the Legislature."

But asked what the larger impact would be, Creagh said, "we fully support the NRC having the ability to name game species, we think that's the appropriate venue and the right scientific rigor to employ for wildlife management in this state."

Creagh said another reason the hunt may have drawn controversy is because the wolves were once protected under the Endangered Species Act.

"In somebody's mind's eye, you were protecting it, so why are you no longer protecting it?" he said.

*Note: This article is available by subscription service at mirsnews.com.

Petitioning Michigan DNR 
Michigan DNR, State Senate, Governor Rick Snyder: 

Petitioning Michigan State Legislature and Governor 
National Wolfwatcher Coalition, 501(c)(3)



If you are a person in Michigan who loves wolves, or know someone who lives in Michigan who would sign for wolves, here is the information needed to sign the big petition to save wolves in Michigan.




Reposted from Keep Michigan Wolves Protected
December 10. 2013

Animal neglect charges have been filed against an Upper Peninsula farmer responsible for more than 60 percent of the state’s wolf-livestock incidents, which were used by state politicians as a major justification for a wolf hunt. According to MLive.com, Matchwood cattle farmer John Koski was charged with the neglect of two donkeys which died on his property in early 2013.

Koski’s poor animal care and allegedly negligent behavior skewed statistics used by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and state legislators to promote the hunting of wolves, including in the area of “Wolf Management Unit B” in Ontonagon and Baraga Counties. Koski received nearly $33,000 in reimbursement from the state over the past three years for the loss of 96 cattle that he alleges was caused by wolves. According to a DNR investigation, Koski failed to use nearly $4,000 of taxpayer-funded non-lethal wolf deterrence methods, including fencing and the three guard donkeys, which the DNR provided to him free of charge.

A DNR investigator and accompanying veterinarian visiting the farm in early 2013 found that Koski allegedly allowed two of the donkeys to die, and a third donkey was removed because of extremely poor health. Michigan’s animal cruelty statute mandates that an owner must provide “sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise, and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state of good health,” with “animal” defined as “any vertebrate other than a human being.” The DNR alleged that Koski failed to provide proper care and water for his own cattle and baited wolves using deer and cattle carcasses in violation of another state law. The violation of Michigan’s penal code regarding animal cruelty is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of not more than $2,000, or up to 300 hours of community service.

The Koski matter was highlighted by an investigative series in MLive.com http://topics.mlive.com/tag/wolf%20hunt/index.html, which showed that state legislators and a DNR official embellished or invented wolf incidents to frighten the public into accepting a wolf hunting season in Michigan for the first time in decades.

“Michigan’s wolf hunt was approved through the use of falsehoods, fear-mongering and the suppression of public opinion by state officials,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “And one irresponsible farmer, who has allegedly violated our state’s animal cruelty law and had been baiting wolves with animal carcasses, was held up as the poster child for Michigan’s wolf hunt. We applaud officials for filing charges against John Koski, and ask that they aggressively prosecute the case and seek a strong sentence.”

Michigan law already allows farmers, ranchers and dog owners to kill wolves attacking their animals. In fact, the DNR has sanctioned the killing of 89 wolves in Michigan over the past decade, including dozens as a result of Koski’s complaints. World-renowned wolf scientists at Michigan Technological University have testified that the killing of random wolves in a trophy hunt is an ineffective and inhumane method of addressing wolf conflicts, and may even make the problem worse by dispersing packs.

In addition to reporting about the Koski farm, the MLive.com series revealed that false or incomplete data was used to justify the need for a wolf hunt. Lawmakers embellished details of a wolf sighting outside an Upper Peninsula daycare to create an incident that never occurred; the DNR’s furbearer specialist fabricated a story in a radio interview about wolves threatening people outside their homes; and the Natural Resources Commission, the unelected, politically-appointed body that formulates policy for the DNR, asked for public input about the wolf hunt and then deleted or ignored more than 10,000 email comments on the subject.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected seeks to restore the protection of wolves enacted by the state decades ago and stop wolf hunting by overturning legislation allowing wolves to be designated as game. Michigan voters are urged to vote ‘no’ on two wolf referendums in the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

In March 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected – a coalition of animal welfare groups, conservationists, veterinarians, business owners, faith leaders and Native American tribes – submitted more than 255,000 signatures of Michigan citizens allowing voters to decide in the November 2014 election if the wolf should be designated as a game animal.

Before the people even had an opportunity to vote on the issue, legislators and the governor hastily approved a second law, PA 21, allowing the Natural Resources Commission to designate the wolf and other protected animals as game species, which would no longer be subject to the voter referendum process. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected launched a second petition drive in August 2013 to overturn PA 21.

Persons interested in volunteering, donating or learning more about the issue can visit KeepWolvesProtected.com.


" I would like to respectfully assert that shooting a random 43 wolves in the U.P. is like going to New York City and arresting a random 43 people to reduce the crime rate. "
Thank you to Keep Wolves Protected 

Source Publication: The Mining Journal
To the Journal editor:

Thank you for your article, "Wolf Hunt Lessons," (Nov. 17, 2013). In the article, Michigan Department of Natural Resources furbearer specialist Adam Bump said, "The hunt is not about managing the number of wolves, but reducing conflicts."

I would like to respectfully assert that shooting a random 43 wolves in the U.P. is like going to New York City and arresting a random 43 people to reduce the crime rate.

Interestingly, at the Midwest Stewards Conference back in April, the DNR arranged for a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks specialist, George Pauley, to address the audience about the patch occupancy model for wolves - a method that relies heavily on an annual hunter survey to count populations of wolves. We were told that this model is expected to improve the state's ability to set hunting quotas once state management of wolves was restored.

As we learned from Dr. Gordon Haber's 43 years of wolf research in the book "Among Wolves," written with Marybeth Holleman, when it comes to wolves, it's not about numbers. It's about its pack. A wolf is a wolf when it's part of an intact, unexploited group capable of complex cooperative behaviors and unique traditions. If a pack is left unexploited, it will develop its own traditions for hunting, pup-rearing, and social behaviors that are finely tuned to its precise environment.

Wolves should not be managed by the simplistic models most commonly used by today's hunter-dominated wildlife agencies. The notion that we can "harvest" a fixed percentage of an existing wolf population that corresponds to natural mortality rates and still maintain a viable population misses the point.

You can't manage wolves by the numbers. You can't just count the numbers of wolves over a particular area and decide whether it's a "healthy" population. That's because the functional unit of wolves is the pack. If we leave wolves alone, they will manage their own numbers in concert with their environment. And, if we leave wolves alone, we will be the ones to benefit - for the presence of wolves brings natural balance to ecosystems.

The credibility of Michigan's DNR and NRC continues to plummet! Don't tell taxpayers that the hunt is all about reducing conflict. It is evident that the DNR and NRC are intent on reducing the population of wolves in the state - something the wolves proved they could do themselves when, this year, their population dipped below last year's count.

November 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm ~ Associated Press

Lansing — At least 10 wolves have been killed during Michigan’s wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.
The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Saturday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.

It’s the first hunt in Michigan since the wolf was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate with firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.
The DNR had estimated the state’s wolf population at 658.

The state Department of Natural Resources says at least 10 wolves have been killed during Michigan's wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula Photos credit: (Gary Kramer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

O November 16. 2013


" Decimating the deer herd? The DNR expects roughly 220,000 deer to 
be taken just in the two week rifle season, let alone the bow and muzzle-loading seasons. "
Comment from pugz



Reposted from Save Our Wolves

November 15, 2013

Take action. Sign the petitions:

This morning, Michiganders marched with their rifles into the wilderness, to hunt wolves. About twelve-hundred of them, if everyone who bought a $100 license (and the one out-of-stater who spent $500) actually makes the trek. And they will do it for the livestock. Because so far this year, a wolf has reportedly killed or injured thirty Michigandan cattle or occasional dog. (These men were also doing it for the children, until the politician who offered that storyline—and helped skirt a petition for a ballot that would’ve likely stopped the hunt—was forced to admit that, no, he was just lying about the endangered kids.)

And so off into the woods these heroes go. For the honor of protecting cattle.(Because we all know that hunters still don’t get it. It’s been said over and over again that wolves are only responsible for not even 2% of cattle loss every year but no, it does not seem to sink in for those people.)

Or for the fk of it. Here are what two men currently huddled up in a tent they call “The Taj Ma-Hal of the North” told the great MLive:

“For me it’s all about the hunt,” said Bob Graves, 52, of Kalamazoo. “The way we hunt we go out one-on-one and try to have a fair chase, if you will. (Yes a fair chase he said. A fair chase !?!?! A fair chase with a gun. That’s pretty fair isn’t it ?) 

“Yes, I’ll take the pelt, but that’s not why. It’s not (being) here to put a trophy on the wall, it’s to experience the outdoors, and to hunt a majestic animal, a beautiful animal.” (Not contradicting his self there. It’s not for trophy but he will take the pelt.)

There is another reason too, adds Mark]Bird, 62, of Kent City. “This might be Michigan’s only wolf hunt. It might be just once in a lifetime opportunity.”

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The hunt has a limit, according to officials: Of the 658 wolves statewide, 43 can be shot dead. (That’s more than one dead for the thirty livestock killed—or, again, just injured—in an attack over this year.) The state also estimates that since wolves are a wily bunch, only three percent of the hunters will actually get what they’re sitting in the woods for; according to the Detroit Free Press, states like Minnesota, which has more than three times as many wolves, had a four-percent rate.

So come one, come twelve-hundred who netted the state about $12,400 for these licenses and instead of pooling that money and lending their time to build some better fences wanted to go out shooting at “beautiful animals” they won’t be able to find. For the honor of tilting at wolves.

Read more: Michigan Kicks Off Meaningless Hunt for Wolves – Esquire



Take action: 

By Nate Hopper on November 8, 2013
For years in Michigan, certain state lawmakers wanted to kill wolves. Problem was, there were too few of them. So few, in fact, that Congress had placed them under the protections of the endangered species list. But undeterred (the population was resurgent), 
http://media.mlive.com/news_impact/photo/13699883-large.jpg one state lawmaker, in a 2011 request to Congress to remove those protections, wrote that it was not just the livestock, hunting dogs, and pheasants threatened by these wolves. It was also the children. Here's how the story read: "Wolves appeared multiple times in the backyard of a daycare center shortly after the children were allowed outside to play. Federal agents disposed of three wolves in that backyard because of the potential danger to children." The result of that tale, which, according to reports, 
became a crux of the argument, is that Michigan will controversially host its first-ever organized wolf hunt in the state.

Except here's the thing: That daycare center story? It's a lie. Sure, there were wolves, on occasion—ones that couldn't be shooed away by yelling—but there were no kids outside, and the three weren't killed in the backyard of the center. The man who wove the lie, State Sen. Tom Casperson (R - Escanaba), had to admit his wrongdoing on the state legislature's floor yesterday, into a microphone, for all the villagers to see. Here's video: http://video-embed.mlive.com/services/player/bcpid2436806291001?bctid=2816278877001&bckey=AQ~~,AAAAQBxUr7k~,PsMaWpexSO0gBGbwp0HC65I60

Now, we here know how "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" ends. Consider us concerned for the safety of Sen. Casperson's flock.


An MLive.com investigation into Michigan’s first managed wolf hunt.
November 3.2013 SUNDAY: Half truths, falsehoods and one farmer’s unique experience.

• See details of more than 300 wolf attacks on more than 500 animals.

• How the investigation was done.

• A Michigan myth: An incident involving a wolf and a pet is twisted into something more - and sent to Congress.

November 4.2013 MONDAY: John Koski, Part 1: Tour the farm with more wolf attacks than anywhere in the Upper Peninsula.

• Con essay: Globally known Michigan wolf biologist argues hunt is unnecessary.
• Pro essay: Top wolf expert with Michigan DNR explains science behind hunt.

Local reports: Genesee County hunter prepares for first-ever wolf hunt.

November 5.2013 TUESDAY: Ironwood: The state's westernmost city is the center of the wolf debate.

• John Koski, Part 2: Wildlife officials crack down. 
Local reports: An Ottawa County cattle farmer knows first-hand about losses to wolves.

November 6.2013 WEDNESDAY: Hundreds of thousands of dollars pour into Michigan over wolf hunt. Who's behind it?

Michigan's Wolf Hunt: A heated debate
Cattle farmer John Koski, who has the state's highest number of reported wolf attacks, supports the wolf hunt. Nancy Warren, the Great Lakes Regional Director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, doesn't believe sound science was used to justify the hunt.
Use this searchable database for details on wolf attacks from 1996 to now.


By John Barnes | jbarnes1@mlive.com 
on November 03, 2013 at 7:00 AM, updated November 04, 2013 at 8:07 AM

It is a mythical animal. Inspiring. Feared. Intelligent. Reviled.
Once on the brink of extinction, the gray wolf’s comeback in Michigan is remarkable.

And now we will hunt them, a historic first in the state.

But an MLive Media Group investigation found that half-truths, falsehoods and a single farmer have distorted reasons for the hunt. Among them:

• When state lawmakers asked Congress to remove wolf protections, they cited an incident in which three wolves were shot outside an Upper Peninsula daycare center where children had just been let out. That never happened, MLive found.

• A leading state wolf specialist said there are cases where wolves have stared at humans through glass doors, ignoring pounding on windows meant to scare them. That never happened as well. The expert now admits he misspoke.

• The Natural Resources Commission received more than 10,000 emails after seeking public comment, but there is no tally of how many were pro or con. The NRC chairman deleted several thousand, many of them identical, from all over the world. Most of the rest went unopened, a department spokesman said. They said anti-hunt groups launched an email blast so extensive the agency was overwhelmed.

• And while attacks on livestock are cited as a reason to reduce wolf numbers, records show one farmer accounted for more cattle killed and injured than all other farmers in the years the DNR reviewed.

The farmer left dead cattle in the field for days, if not longer, a violation of the law and a smorgasbord that attracts wolves. He was given an electric fence by the state. The fence disappeared. He was also given three “guard mules.”
Two died. The other had to be removed in January because it was in such poor condition.

In wolf circles, those problems are known. Lesser known is that they persist. Wildlife officers again in May found dead cattle on his farm, MLive learned under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Visiting reporters in October also saw a months-old cow carcass in an open barn.

The farmer has never been cited. Nor is the state seeking restitution for the fence or mules.
“We’re kind of washing our hands of him,” said Brian Roell, a state Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist in Marquette.

Click here to use this searchable database for details on wolf attacks in areas where you live or visit.

The farmer has received $38,000 from the state to pay for his cattle losses, MLive’s analysis shows, plus $3,000 for the mules and fence. That’s more than all other farmers combined.

Such incidents swirl like muddy water through the raging current of the wolf-hunt debate. Hunt supporters say they are isolated incidents and the hunt is necessary.
“How much exposure do we have to be subjected to before there is a problem? If they eat somebody, does that change the game?” asked Andres Tingstad, chief district judge of Gogebec and Ontonagon counties and a pro-hunt advocate.

Such questions will face voters across the state next November. One referendum, possibly two, will be on the ballot.

Already, more than $13,000 per wolf has been spent in an unsuccessful effort to stop this year’s hunt.
In coming days, MLive will explore the farmer with the most cattle losses, the town at the center of the debate, the daycare incident that is a Michigan myth, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring into the state to make the first hunt the last hunt.

'The smartest dog you ever raised'
Officially, there are a minimum 658 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. That’s well up from three counted in 1989, after bounties and poaching eliminated wolves decades earlier.

Because of their comeback, here and in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the federal government removed protections in January 2012 – opening the door for Michigan’s Nov. 15 hunt.
Licenses sold out in six days, 1,200 in all. Forty-three wolves can be shot in three Upper Peninsula zones where officials say they have caused the most problems.

It is a touchy subject, including in Ironwood, where wolves have entered the city in search of deer and been shot by wildlife officers.
“It’s split pretty much, even here,” said Ralph Ansami, outdoor writer for the Ironwood Daily Globe.

Wolves share a mystique embedded deep in the American soul. They are independent. Packs are rooted in family units. They learn. They survive.
“Wolves are like the smartest dog you ever raised,” said Don Lonsway, a wolf specialist in Ironwood for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services “If they killed on one farm once, they will bypass others to kill there again.”

The first verified attack after wolves disappeared from Michigan was in 1996, when a free-ranging bear dog was killed in Luce County in 1996. Since then, there have been nearly 300 verified attacks on more than 500 livestock and dogs – half in just the past three years.
Calves are usually the target. On May 24, 2012, a cow and calf were both killed in Ontonagon County as the mother was giving birth. That is not the first time.

This wolf was killed on the Ontonagon County cattle farm managed by Duane Kolpack.
Courtesy photo/Tom Dykstra

'Sometimes they're shopping, sometimes they're buying'

Duane Kolpack, of Ontonagon County, says he has lost dozens of cattle to wolves on his 1,200 acres, especially since 2010 when predations picked up.

He’s tried non-lethal deterrents - guard mules, firecracker shells. When wolves were delisted last year, hunters with permits could kill wolves on his property. They’ve taken eight.
He or others can also shoot a wolf attacking cattle. But how do you prove that? he asks.
“It’s like when your wife goes shopping and she’s circling around. Will she buy anything? The wolves are the same. Sometimes they’re just shopping, and sometimes they’re buying.”

But attacks on livestock involve more than cattle:

•Forty 10-week-old Ring-necked pheasants were killed in August 2008 in Luce County.

•Thirty-eight geese and 12 ducks were killed a month later in Ontonagon County.

•Thirty-five chickens were killed in February 2006 in Alger County.


Nancy Warren, who has worked with wolf experts on both sides of the issue as part of the state’s Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable, says the hunt is unnecessary.

Nuisance wolves can already be killed by farmers and wildlife specialists, she said. A random hunt will not necessarily take out problem wolves, but could disrupt stable packs, leading to more problems as new wolves are introduced, she said.

“The facts speak for themselves and it just shows this is all politically motivated and has nothing to do with science,” said Warren, Great Lakes regional director for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
She points to what she calls misrepresentations by some in the DNR , Natural Resources Commmission, and the Legislature.

Adam Bump, the state’s fur bearer specialist, allows he misspoke when he gave an interview to Michigan Radio that was broadcast in May.“You have wolves showing up in backyards, wolves showing up on porches, wolves staring at people through their sliding glass door while they're pounding on it exhibiting no fear,” Bump told the NPR affiliate.

That did not happen, he concedes. But the fear in certain areas is real, Bump said. He also said not making a choice is the same as making a choice, and that the DNR used rigid science to identify areas with problem wolves, leaving other packs alone.
He allows there are no guarantees the hunt will have an impact, and recalls the advice a professor once gave him at Michigan State University.

“Wildlife management is not rocket science,” Bump said. “It’s much harder than that.”

John Koski holds the skull of a dead cow found on his Matchwood Township farm Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. The 68-year-old, who has a second cattle farm in Bessemer, has the highest number of reported wolf attacks in Michigan. Koski supports the upcoming Upper Peninsula wolf hunt.
Cory Morse | MLive.com


Here, in his cattle pasture, John Koski is surrounded by white pine, tamarack and golden aspens that shimmer in the wind. And cattle of course.

Not all of them are alive.

This farm is part boneyard. Cattle rib cages litter his land, pelvises too. Bleached white skulls glimmer in the sunlight on a warm autumn day. A decaying carcass lies in a shed, months after it died.

The bones are not supposed to be here because the law requires the animals to be buried.
They are not supposed to be here because cows should not be wolf bait.
They are not supposed to be here because we have too many wolves, hunting advocates say.

In Michigan’s great debate over whether wolves should be hunted, no farmer is more controversial than this 68-year-old man with blue eyes and a thick Finnish accent.

-- Email statewide projects coordinator John Barnes at jbarnes1@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter.


From Keep Michigan Wolves Protected


November 4.2013
The deer legs in the rusted pickup bed are the first sign this is not an ordinary farm tour on a warm autumn morning.

Scattered like so much tinder, the disembodied hooves point in every direction.

“They shouldn’t have done that,” says John Koski, of the hunters licensed to shoot here. The legs are used for wolf bait.

Nearer the pasture’s gate, several cows have breached the barbed wire fence. They are still contained, but not where they should be.

“C’mon, I’ll open the gate for you. I’ve got to find where you broke down the fence,” he says to the cows.

In Michigan’s great debate over whether wolves should be hunted, no one is more controversial than this 68-year-old man with liquid blue eyes and a thick Finnish accent.

Here, Koski has had more cattle attacks by wolves than almost all other farms combined - 122 verified killed or injured out of 248 statewide since 1996. Most of his losses happened in the past three years.

There is no argument it has been a bloodbath.

Critics, however, say Koski is his own worst enemy. They accuse him of poor animal husbandry, ignoring laws for disposal of dead animals, attracting even more wolves.

That comes from both sides.
Hunt supporters say he does not represent the harsh realities facing better farmers. Those against a hunt say he’s proof next week’s hunt is not needed, that attacks on his cattle are so high they inflate the numbers.

On this day, Koski walks with his hands behind his back on the 625 acres where his herd has been ravaged by “canis lupus,” ancestor of all dogs from poodles to pit bulls.

Walk with him through his farm, surrounded by white pine, dead tamarack, and aspens shimmering in the wind.
Then read tomorrow’s installment, and decide on your own.


On this morning, beneath blue skies and a gentle wind, Koski is spilling a bucket of salt onto the ground. Dozens of cattle approach - Herefords, Angus crosses, and Shorthorns. One cow is in heat, followed by many bulls.

Too often when he arrives, Koski is greeted by the mournful lowing of a cow, her udder full, but no calf to be seen. Or if it is seen, there is not much left of it.

Koski has a smaller farm where he lives in Bessemer, about 45 miles to the west. His family has farmed there for 109 years.Two generations ago, two brothers named Koskiniemi arrived in America. One was renamed Koski, the other Niemi. Their descendants still dot the area.

In 1975, Koski and his mother bought the second farm in Ontonagon County’s Matchwood Township. The unincorporated village of about 115 is named for the Diamond Match Co., which owned most of the pine forest in the area in the late 1800s.

Now it is known for being home to the single-greatest wolf depredation in the state of Michigan.

Riding with visitors to the town, Koski shows photographs of some of the many cattle he has lost. There is little left of them.

He also shows a picture of another dead animal, heavily fanged, shot on his farm.

“Oh, yah, that’s a good wolf,” he says.


One need not ask Koski his opinions on wolves. He has the same bumper sticker on two pickups: “Michigan wolves: Smoke a pack a day.” The white and black block letters are punctuated by eight mock bullet holes.

Koski says he does not hunt.

He takes his visitors on an extended tour of his property. A wood lot at the southern end is a prime entry point for packs on the prowl, or for cattle to enter, and never return.

To the west, short of where thornapple bushes dot the brush red, the green pasture is dotted white.

A skull, another skull. Possibly yearlings. Then a rib cage. “I guess I didn’t take care of that,” Koski says, looking down.

There are pelvises and too many other bleached bones to count. They are the remains of wolf kills, he says. Some suspect they could also be at least partly from natural die-off.

Either way, they are not supposed to be here. State law requires animal remains be buried within 24 hours. Otherwise, they draw wolves to a feast – where generations of pups learn cattle is fair game.

The bones extend to the north, back toward the outbuildings. A three-corner shed, open to the west, is stacked with more bones, more wolf kill, Koski says.

And closer still to the outbuildings, a black-and-white cow that breached the wire fence stands just inside an open-air barn. Behind her, in the shadows, is a figure on the ground.

“Is that a carcass?” the visitor asks.

Koski said it died last winter or spring, becoming mired in muck and manure.

“I know the wolf lovers aren’t going to like this,” he says, “but I’m not as stupid as they think I am.”

He is sweet, even gentle during the visit. He excitedly rattles off the various businesses and neighborhoods that began to disappear in his early years as iron ore became cheaper elsewhere.

He sometimes sees his mother in his dreams. He misses her. She has been gone nine years. Her home is collapsing, next to his trailer

If he’d had children, he said, maybe he’d have some help.

He might need it now. The deer legs in the pickup, the bones afield, the carcass in the barn, may be symptomatic of a bigger problem here.



Saturday, November 2, 2013
Climate Change Is Killing 
The Wolves Of Isle Royale. 
Should The Government Save Them?

By Ashley Woods 
Posted: 10/31/2013

Photo: Isle royale wolves
When it comes to the wilderness of Isle Royale National Park, http://www.nps.gov/isro/index.htm
located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior, the wolves have always had the run of things. Only accessible to humans by boat or seaplane, Isle Royale is the least-visited national park in the continental United States. Last year, only 16,746 visitors made the journey.

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park. The least visited National Park, the population of 1200 moose exceeds the number of people for most of the year. The park preserves 132,018 acres of land-based wilderness. Photo via Getty.

But climate change is threatening the wild wolves who once lived with moose in blissful solitude in this remote preserved land, many say. Ice bridges once connected Isle Royale to Ontario, allowing animals to cross back and forth almost every other year.

Since scientists began keeping records in 1973, ice accumulation in the Great Lakes has declined by 30 percent. 
An ice bridge may only form once every 15 years now. Lake Superior is warming faster than any large lake on the planet. http://www.ibtimes.com/climate-change-causing-lake-superior-warm-faster-any-lake-planet-1427474 With an ice bridge becoming increasingly rare, those wolves have become "critically isolated," the Lansing State Journal reported. http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/interactives/isleroyalewolves.html
As many as 50 once roamed the island, though scientists think 25 is a more reasonable baseline number, according to the Wildlife News.

Only eight adult wolves are left. Two or three pups may have been born this summer.

Wolves Isle Royale

In this photo released by Michigan Technological University, a gray wolf is shown on Isle Royale National Park in northern Michigan, Feb. 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Michigan Technological University, John Vucetich)

The wolves' and moose hunter-hunted relationship is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. http://www.isleroyalewolf.org/overview/overview/at_a_glance.html
The park's research project notes how uncharacteristically warm temperatures can greatly disturb the balance between moose and wolf pack populations on Isle Royale:
Then, a series of very hot summers struck. 

During hot summers moose feed less, as they spent more time resting in the shade. Having fed less, the undernourished moose were less prepared to survive the winters. Warm temperatures also enabled severe outbreaks of moose tick. Weakened by heat and ticks, moose dropped to their lowest observed levels. Wolves took advantage of weakened moose, fueling high rates of predation. During the first decade of the 21st century, the moose population steadily slid to its lowest levels. The wolf population, with 30 individuals living in three packs, had been thriving until 2006. But with moose becoming increasingly rare, capturing food become increasingly difficult. One wolf pack failed after another. By 2011, the population was reduced to 9 wolves living in one pack and another half dozen wolves, the socially disorganized remnants of Middle Pack. DNA analysis of wolf scats collected at kill sites indicates no more than two adult females in the population. If they were to die before giving birth to new females, the wolves would be committed to extinction.

Those wolves who are left are suffering, the Lansing State Journal says. Generations of inbreeding, with no ice bridges to introduce new wolves to the island, have bred genetic deformities in the animals. The deformity gives them misshapen, heavy backs and makes breeding even more difficult. 

Some have called for the National Park Service to introduce new wolves into the dwindling Isle Royale pack.

It would be the first time the National Park Service has ever taken deliberate action determine the fate of a species at one of its parks. Whether that role belongs to the Park Service has ignited debate in the scientific community.

Isle Royale Wolves

A gray wolf is shown on Isle Royale National Park in northern Michigan, Feb. 24, 2006. 
(AP Photo/Michigan Technological University, 
John Vucetich)

"Is it the Park Service's role to feed science if it isn't consistent with managing native species?" wondered the NPCA Park Advocate. http://www.parkadvocate.org/lone-wolves-on-michigans-isle-royale-an-island-dilemma/
Dr. Dave Mech, who previously researched the wolves on Isle Royale, told the Park Advocate he's not convinced the wolves will go extinct and thinks officials should "wait and see." From an evolutionary perspective, moose and wolves are relative newcomers to the island. Many believe nature alone should deliver the fate of the island wolves.

But John Vucetich, a researcher on the island, says that a genetic rescue is critical -- not only for animals, but the entire Isle Royale ecosystem, designated a protected biosphere reserve in 1981 for its pristine lake forest wilderness. "The one thing on which there is universal agreement," Vucetich told the Lansing State Journal, "is that wherever there are large ungulates like moose or deer or elk, there needs to be a top predator to maintain ecosystem integrity."

One Republican Congressman, Sen. Tom Coburn, thinks Isle Royale isn't worth the money spent to keep it open, wolves or no wolves. http://www.freep.com/article/20131030/NEWS06/310300024/
In his report, “Parked: How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures,” he blasted Isle Royale and other remote national parks, like the Upper Peninsula's Keweenaw National Historic Park, 
as some of the “more egregious, wasteful or otherwise questionable expenses” to be found in America. Isle Royale has an annual operating budget of $4.35 million, according to the report.

CORRECTION: The report on Isle Royale wolves was mistakenly attributed to the Detroit Free Press. It was originally published by the Lansing State Journal http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/interactives/isleroyalewolves.html and reprinted by the Detroit Free Press. The post was updated to include additional information about two wolf pups possibly being born in 2013.




September 30, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Gray wolves at Isle Royale National Park in northern Michigan in 2006. (John Vucetich / Michigan Technological University)

Detroit News staff and wire reports

Hunters still can buy a wolf hunting license because about 135 licenses remain for sale, a state Department of Natural Resources spokesman said Monday.

The DNR wants hunters to cull 43 of an estimated 658 wolves in three areas of the Upper Peninsula. The 1,200 licenses cost $100 for residents and $500 for nonresidents.

If the licenses sell out, DNR spokesman Ed Golder said in an email, hunters can keep checking back because some hunters may later cancel their licenses.

The season is Nov. 15 to Dec. 31, but will end whenever 43 wolves have been killed — or when the quota is reached in each of the three U.P. areas. Successful hunters are required to report to area DNR stations within 72 hours.

The hunt aims to modestly reduce growing wolf populations in three areas, or management units, where wolf hunting proponents and the DNR say they’ve been preying on domestic animals. But the licenses have sparked controversy among animal rights activists and conservationists.

Federal officials offered a staunch defense Monday of their proposal to drop legal protections for the gray wolf in most of the country, as opponents rallied Monday in the nation’s capital before the first in a series of public hearings on the plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called for removing the wolf from the endangered species list for the lower 48 states in June, except for a subspecies called the Mexican wolf in the Southwest, which is struggling to survive. Ranching and hunting groups have praised the proposal, while environmentalists have said it is premature.

A final decision will be made within a year, following a scientific analysis of the agency’s proposal and three public hearings.

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe acknowledged the fierce opposition to the wolf plan from many advocacy groups, scientists and members of Congress. They say the predator remains in a tenuous position despite bouncing back from the past century, when trapping, shooting and poisoning encouraged by federal bounties left just a few hundred survivors in Minnesota by the time they were placed on the protected list in 1974.

“There’s certainly no more polarizing issue than wolves,” Ashe said.

But he said the agency’s mission is not to restore an endangered species in every place it once lived. Rather, it is to ensure that a species is established and thriving in enough places that it won’t die out.

“Recovery of the wolf is one of the greatest conservation success stories in the history of our nation … a poster child of what we can achieve through the protections of the Endangered Species Act even for our most imperiled species,” Ashe said.

More than 5,000 gray wolves roam the land, primarily in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and the northern Rockies states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Minnesota officials said in July their population has dropped in the past five years by more than 700 animals — to about 2,200 — with the resumption of hunting and a decline in deer on which they prey.

Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity was among the proposal’s critics who planned to testify at the Washington hearing.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is walking away from recovery even though wolves occupy just a fraction of their former range and face continued persecution,” Hartl said. “Large swaths of the American landscape would benefit from the presence of these top carnivores.”





Should there be genetic rescue (outside wolves brought in) ?


For many years the wolves and moose of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior have shown that wolves do not wipe out their prey. When wolves become abundant enough that the disappearance of prey seems probable, the wolves die back.

On the other hand, when wolves have declined to few in number, the moose population expands and begins to decimate its prey — the moose-edible vegetation of the island.

This rough balance has existed ever since wolves colonized the island one hard winter. In 1949 a pair of wolves walked over to the island on the frozen lake. The pair found an island overrun with moose. The moose themselves had migrated to the island 40 years earlier.

The wolf population expanded, of course, and brought the moose number in check (and more). Then the wolves began to starve off and the cycle began.

The moose prefer aspen, and they do well eating it. However, they mostly wiped that out before the wolves came.  Ever since, they have relied primarily on the less nutritious balsam fir and lichens.

Both the moose and the wolves are also subject to inbreeding. It is especially a problem for the wolves, all of which descended from the original pair. So, in addition to the cyclic malnutrition when the moose population drops too low, the wolves have been seen to suffer from increasing genetic defects. One of these is poor reproduction even when there is enough food.

Down to just 8 wolves, they seem doomed without outside genes from new wolves. There have been up to 50 wolves at a time on the island, although many scientists think a stable number is about 25. It should be noted that there have always been wide fluctuations around this “mean.” The eight wolves seem to have gained a brief reprieve with the birth of 2 or 3 pups in 2013 after several years with none. Nevertheless, it is hard to see how the unaugmented population can survive much longer. It is less and less likely that the lake will freeze and wolves from Minnesota, Michigan or Wisconsin find their way to the island.

The wolves and their relationship to the moose and the vegetation have been studied since 1958. Dr. Rolf Peterson, in particular, is the person most closely associated with the studies. He would like to see some genetic rescue. Dr. Dave Mech, however, who is another avid student of the island’s wolves is reported to want to first let natural events play out.

With the wolf population so low, we would now expect the moose population to be expanding. It is. However, it is increasingly suffering from tick infestation. This is a problem for moose in general during winters, but Isle Royale has seen warmer winters as the climate changes. This makes the effects of the bloodsucking  arachnids more severe.

Rolf Peterson recently sent out the following letter.

The National Park Service is interested to receive your input on the pending decision regarding the future management of wolves on Isle Royale.  Please send your input to the following email address:

ISRO_Wildlife@nps.gov (note the “underscore” between ISRO and Wildlife)

The Park Service is considering three options:  (1) do nothing, even if wolves go extinct; (2) allow wolves to go extinct (if that is what they do), and then introduce a new wolf population; or (3) conserve Isle Royale wolves with an action known as genetic rescue by bringing some wolves to the island to mitigate inbreeding.

While expressing your view, consider providing as much detail on the reasons for your preference, as the Park Service believes the reasons for your view are as important as your view.  If you have any questions on the process or anything relating to providing input, please do not hesitate to ask me.




There’s something rotten in Michigan – and the stench is coming from one rogue farm in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula. Based on state documents obtained through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and an analysis of those documents conducted by the National WolfWatcher Coalition and Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, four-fifths of the livestock killed by wolves in the western management unit (96 animals out of 120) come from this one farm. And the documents make plain that the owner of this farm is engaging in unsound, sloppy, and perhaps even criminally inhumane practices.

The story told in the FOIA documents broke last night in the Marquette Mining Journal, and this morning on Michigan Public Radio. Even though state law already allows the killing of individual wolves threatening livestock or pets, the state senator from this region has shepherded two bills through the Michigan legislature to allow trophy hunting of gray wolves, right after they were removed from the list of federally threatened species. There are only about 650 wolves in the entire state, and that number is down from the wolf census two years ago.

There were 11 farms that reported wolf problems in the western region, with most of them having only a single incident. In an investigation conducted this past winter, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources found that the owner of this farm, James Koski, did not live on the farm and did not provide proper care for his cattle, failing even to remove dead animals – allowing their carcasses to attract predators. The state provided three “guard” donkeys to him for free, yet DNR officials found two of them dead, and the third one was in poor condition. Koski also failed to use fencing as a protective mechanism, even though the state also provided that to him at no cost.

Koski was even paid for the livestock “losses” he sustained, pocketing $33,000 of the $40,000 paid out in the wildlife management unit.

It doesn’t take too much deductive reasoning to figure out what’s at work here: proponents of hunting and trapping wolves for trophies and for their pelts used Koski as a poster child for their hunt, citing enormous losses from wolves. What they didn’t tell you was that the vast majority of all incidents involving wolves occurred on one farm, which was clearly exhibiting the worst management practices and inviting predators or other animals onto the farm by leaving rotting animal carcasses on it. It essentially amounts to a wolf baiting situation, and then crying crocodile tears when the wolves show up for a free meal.

The people who want to kill wolves don’t want to admit that their agenda is driven by an irrational hatred and a lack of understanding of wolves. They try to dress up their policy goal of wolf killing in socially beneficial terms. Specifically, they say the hunt will protect farmers.

The fact is, the state already allows the killing of problem wolves. And the state provides free tools to farmers having wolf conflicts and compensates them for the very infrequent losses that occur. Random killing of wolves in the forests and wilderness won’t do a thing to further mitigate the remote likelihood of a wolf incident. Sound animal husbandry practices are the solution.

Wolves are an economic and ecological boon to the state, driving wildlife-oriented tourism and keeping prey populations in balance, thereby reducing crop losses and automobile collisions involving deer. That’s why The HSUS urges all Michiganders to support two referenda – one to nullify the wolf trophy hunting season set to start in November, and the other to restore the rights of voters to have a say on wildlife management policies and deny the unelected political appointees at the Natural Resources Commission from having all authority to open new hunting and trapping seasons on protected species.

To get involved, go to www.keepwolvesprotected.com


Photo credit: ALAMY


Opponents of Wolf Hunting Hold Meetings
Updated: Aug 10, 2013 7:19 PM MDT

Michigan residents opposed to the hunting of wolves are trying for a second time to stop the practice.

The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" held an organizing meeting Saturday and will hold another Sunday in an attempt to force a referendum that stops the hunt of wolves in Michigan.

The meetings were held in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Dearborn Heights.

The group collected more than 255,000 petition signatures earlier this year for a referendum on a law that designated the wolf as a game species and authorized hunts. However, the Legislature passed another law to make the referendum's outcome null by giving the appointed Natural Resources Commission authority to decide which animals can be hunted.

A news conference will cap off the meetings on Monday in Lansing.

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