LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan has postponed the sale of wolf hunting licenses until Sept. 28 to ensure that license-sales technology is able to handle anticipated high demand.

The state Department of Natural Resources announced the postponement on Tuesday. Sales had been scheduled to begin Saturday.

The state’s Natural Resources Commission this month added the gray wolf to the game species list and scheduled a 6-week hunt for Nov. 15 through Dec. 31.

The DNR says 1,200 wolf hunting licenses will be available. Wolf licenses cost $100 for residents and $500 for nonresidents. The commission said up to 43 wolves in seven Upper Peninsula counties could be killed.

This comes after Gov. Rick Snyder, in May, signed Senate Bill 288, which gives the commission the responsibility to establish hunting seasons for wild game.

The new law is a blow to opponents who gathered more than 250,000 petition signatures seeking a statewide referendum on a measure approved in December that designated the wolf as a game species. Now, the vote will be only a symbolic gesture.

Wolf advocates who accepted the idea of farmers protecting livestock, which is already allowed, recoil at talk of hunting and trapping — which they fear will slash wolf numbers drastically.

Michigan is the sixth state to authorize hunting wolves since federal protections were lifted over the past two years in the western Great Lakes and the Northern Rockies.

About 1,100 wolves have already been killed by hunters and trappers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

About 650 wolves are currently believed to roam remote areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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