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Needed to check facts on wolf hunt column

The Iron Mountain Daily News did a great disservice by not fact-checking a column by Gary Gorniak published Jan. 15.

When Gorniak spoke at the Western CAC meeting earlier this month, he never mentioned wolves in the town of St. Ignace or the young lady who climbed a tree to escape a wolf. This is likely because the Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists who attended the meeting — and record and investigate such events — would have refuted these stories. These claims have not been documented with the DNR.

Gorniak has refused to accept facts presented by biologists at the CAC meeting:

— The wolf population has remained stable for the past 10 years;

— Wolves are not decimating deer or moose populations;

— Wolf predation on livestock and hunting hounds is extremely low.

With wolves federally delisted, a wolf can be killed if in the act of attacking the owner’s livestock or dog. A wolf that is merely present near livestock or a dog does not authorize the use of lethal control. Producers who are experiencing chronic wolf problems can be issued permits by DNR to kill wolves.

A hunting/trapping season is not necessary to “manage” wolves. Consistent with research, wolves self-regulate their population based on available prey and other factors, including disease, pack stability and territoriality. Wolves strengthen deer populations by targeting the easiest to catch: the weak, the old and sick, thus reducing the potential spread of disease.

In the 2014 Michigan general election, Michigan citizens demonstrated strong opposition to the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves. That is a much better indicator of public sentiment than the Facebook push polls promoted by Gorniak.

Decisions regarding wolves must be made based on science, research and facts, not embellished tales, myths and fears promoted by those who simply want to kill wolves.

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