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Rebuttal to ‘wolf control needed’

EDITOR:

In the letter, “Wolf control is needed in region” published Jan. 28, Allen Peterson stated he was bringing facts to the woman who wrote “Wolves are not a problem.” Below are the unsubstantiated claims he calls “facts,” along with the facts.

Claim 1. In Hermansville, the deer are almost gone.

Fact: The Upper Peninsula white-tailed deer population has been rebounding following several severe winters. Weather, not wolves, has the greatest impact on deer populations.

Claim 2. Wolves are increasing at an alarming rate.

Fact: According to the Department of Natural Resources, Michigan’s wolf population has remained stable over the past decade, between 600 and 700 individuals.

Claim 3. We have to lower their numbers now or there will be no deer hunting in five years.

Fact: Winter severity will be the biggest factor driving deer population over the next five years. Wolves self-regulate their population, which helps to keep ecosystems in balance.

Claim 4. Deer hunting keeps the Upper Peninsula going with all the revenue it generates. The wolf will end that in five years.

Fact: Over the past 10 years, Upper Peninsula deer hunting revenue has been generated in coexistence with the established, stable wolf population.

Additionally, chronic wasting disease is one of the most serious wildlife diseases in Michigan. Public health officials warn against eating meat from diseased animals. Since animals can have the disease without any outward symptoms, it is difficult for hunters to identify which animals are infected. Hunters should be genuinely concerned about the disease spreading.

To date, only one CWD-positive deer was found in the Upper Peninsula, in Dickinson County. It is not a coincidence that it was in an area with low wolf numbers. Further, there has not been a documented case of bovine tuberculosis, which poses a threat to deer and the cattle industry. This is consistent with research that suggests wolves kill infectious members of the deer herd, which limits the spread of disease.

State-sanctioned recreational wolf hunting/trapping is not necessary. Wolves have done their job in the Upper Peninsula ecosystem extremely well without interference. The presence of wolves naturally leads to stronger, healthier deer herds. Wolves are our ally in preventing human consumption of infected meat.

Karol Miller

Rochester, Mich.

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