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Guidelines for Lethal Control of Wolves by Livestock and Dog Owners in Michigan

The Michigan Legislature passed two laws in 2008 (Public Act 290 and Public Act 318) to allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture, or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is "in the act of preying upon" (attempting to kill or injure) the owner's livestock* or dog(s)**.

These state laws went into effect upon removal of wolves from the federal endangered species list on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.

*Livestock are defined by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Animal Industry Act, Public Act 466 of 1988) and include, but are not limited to: cattle, sheep, new world camelids, goats, bison, privately owned cervids, ratites, swine, equine, poultry, aquaculture and rabbits.

**Dog includes any domesticated dog.

Livestock owners who use lethal means to destroy a wolf or wolves in the act of preying upon their livestock must observe the following guidelines: A person who violates these subsections is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000, or both, and the costs of prosecution.

  1. The owner of livestock or his/her designated agent may use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is in the act of preying upon (killing/injuring) the owner's livestock.


  2. The owner of the livestock or his/her designated agent shall report the taking of a wolf to a department official as soon as practical, but not later than 12 hours after the taking.


  3. Except as otherwise provided in section (4), the owner of the livestock or his/her designated agent shall retain possession of a lethally taken wolf until a department official is available to take possession of the wolf.


  4. If lethal means are used to destroy a wolf, the DNR prefers that the dead wolf is not moved or disturbed. If normal farming practices would be impeded by leaving the carcass, a person may move the carcass to a secure location after photographs are taken of the dead wolf and of the immediate area of the kill. Copies of the photographs may be requested by the department for examination.


  5. A department official shall respond to the scene where lethal means were used to destroy a wolf not later than 12 hours after notification.


  6. The owner of the livestock or his/her designated agent may report the taking of a wolf by utilizing the department's Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-292-7800.

Dog owners who use lethal means to destroy a wolf or wolves in the act of preying upon their dog must observe the following guidelines: A person who violates these subsections is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000, or both, and the costs of prosecution.

  1. The owner of a dog or his/her designated agent may use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is in the act of preying upon (killing/injuring) the owner's dog.


  2. The owner of the dog or his/her designated agent shall report the taking of a wolf to a department official as soon as practical, but not later than 12 hours after the taking.


  3. The owner of the dog or his/her designated agent shall retain possession of a lethally taken wolf until a department official is available to take possession of the wolf.


  4. If lethal means are used to destroy a wolf, a person shall not move or disturb the dead wolf until a department official is available to take possession of it. A person shall not disturb the area where lethal means were used to destroy a wolf until after an official investigation by the department is complete. If a dog is physically attacked or killed, a person who uses lethal means to destroy a wolf shall produce the dog that was attacked for inspection by department officials.


  5. A department official shall respond to the scene where lethal means were used to destroy a wolf not later than 12 hours after notification.


  6. The owner of the dog or his or her designated agent may report the taking of a wolf by utilizing the department's Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 800-292-7800.

A wolf that is merely present near livestock/dog does not authorize the use of lethal control. In these cases the producer/dog owner should report the wolf activity to the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800 so the appropriate DNR personnel can respond.

The DNR is available to help livestock/dog owners with wolf depredation issues and can aid citizens with a variety of approaches, including technical support, non-lethal and lethal methods. For assistance, please call DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell at the Marquette DNR Operations Service Center: 906-228-6561.

Compensation for Livestock Lost to Wolf Depredation:
Depredation is a predatory attack resulting in the injury or death of a domestic animal. Compensation programs have been designed to assist livestock producers by reimbursing them for losses attributable to wolves. To receive compensation for losses of livestock, the producer must notify the DNR as soon as possible by calling the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800. Compensation is not available for dogs lost to wolf depredation.

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