MARQUETTE (WWJ/AP) – At least 11 wolves have been killed so far during the wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula, putting the state on pace to meet the limit for Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades, officials said.

The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Monday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.

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The early part of wolf season coincides with firearms deer hunting season, which runs through Saturday. With a few days to go in the deer gun hunt, reports from deer check stations and the Mackinac Bridge indicate that the number of deer killed so far is down from last year.

Brian Roell, a DNR wildlife biologist in Marquette, told The Mining Journal that effects of a severe winter season in the first few months of 2013, which included cold temperatures and snow, continue to be seen in the numbers and age classes of deer hunters are observing. The effects of that weather, however, also will be seen in the 2014 season.

“Last year’s winter was even harder than we thought it was,” Roell said.

The wolf hunt is the first hunt in Michigan since the animal was placed on the endangered species list nearly 40 years ago. 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.

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A total of 1,200 people are licensed to participate with firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.

Supporters of the state’s new, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in May, say wolves are killing livestock and venturing too close to towns

Opponents say wolves are still recovering and it’s too soon for a hunt. Wolf advocates who accepted the idea of farmers protecting livestock, which is already allowed, but fear game hunting will slash wolf numbers drastically.

Before the hunt, the DNR estimated the state’s wolf population at 658.

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