MARQUETTE (WWJ/AP) – Hunters have snapped up most of the licenses for Michigan’s first wolf hunt in November.
But Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ed Golder said Monday that 135 of them remained.
More than 1,000 licenses were sold over the weekend. The hunt starts Nov. 15 and runs through the end of the year.
The Natural Resources Commission is allowing 43 wolves to be killed in seven Upper Peninsula counties.
A wolf license costs $100 for a Michigan resident and $500 for a non-resident.
The hunt comes after Gov. Rick Snyder, in May, signed Senate Bill 288, which gives the commission the responsibility to establish hunting seasons for wild game.
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.
State Representative John Kivala says the hope is the number of wolves can be brought under control.
“If this is the last wolf hunt we have than this has been a success,” said Kivala, “because this is all about a management tool to manage those areas.”
“If we harvest these animals this year; they do the count next year and see that it worked and we kept the population in check, there won’t be another hunt,” he said.
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.
Opponents hoping to stop future hunts are gathering petition signatures for a statewide vote.
(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)