Wolf lethal control requirements (January 2021)

On Nov. 3, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the federal delisting of wolves, which became effective on Jan. 4, 2021. In the fall of 2008, two bills (House Bill No. 5686 and Senate Bill No. 1084) were signed into law; these allow citizens to use lethal control on wolves that are in the act of killing or wounding livestock or a dog. These two bills, known as Public Act 290 and Public Act 318, are available with the recent federal delisting and shall remain available to citizens as long as wolves remain federally delisted. However, wolves are still a protected game species and the taking of a wolf that is not in the act of killing or wounding livestock or a dog is illegal

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 1-800-292-7800 so the appropriate Department of Natural Resources 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, nonlethal and lethal methods. 

Please note there are different sets of requirements for lethal control of wolves that are in the act of killing or wounding livestock or dogs.

Requirements for lethal control of wolves that are in the act of killing or wounding livestock:
A violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor.

  1. The owner of livestock or his or her designated agent may use lethal means to destroy a gray wolf that is in the act of preying upon (killing/injuring) the owner’s livestock.
     
  2. The owner of the livestock or his or her designated agent shall report the taking of a gray wolf by calling the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 1-800-292-7800 no later than 12 hours after the taking.
     
  3. The owner of the livestock or his or her designated agent shall retain possession of a gray wolf taken until a department official is available to take possession of the gray wolf.
     
  4. If lethal means are used to destroy a gray wolf, the DNR prefers that the deceased wolf is not moved or disturbed; however, if normal farming practices would be impeded by leaving the carcass or the presence of livestock would destroy evidence, a person may move the carcass to a secure location but not before photographs are taken of the deceased gray wolf and of the area where lethal means were used to destroy the gray wolf. 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 gray wolf not later than 12 hours after notification.
     
  6. The owner of the livestock or his or her designated agent may report the taking of a gray wolf by utilizing the department’s Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

Requirements for lethal control of wolves that are in the act of killing or wounding a dog:
A violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor.

  1. The owner of a dog or his or her designated agent may use lethal means to destroy a gray wolf that is in the act of preying upon (killing/injuring) the owner’s dog.
     
  2. The owner of the dog or his or her designated agent shall report the taking of a gray wolf by calling the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 1-800-292-7800 no later than 12 hours after the taking.
     
  3. The owner of the dog or his or her designated agent shall retain possession of a gray wolf taken until a department official is available to take possession of the gray wolf.
     
  4. If lethal means are used to destroy a gray wolf, a person shall not move or disturb the deceased gray wolf until a department official is available to take possession of and transfer the gray wolf to the appropriate department personnel. A person shall not disturb the area where lethal means were used to destroy a gray 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 gray 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 gray 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 gray wolf by utilizing the department’s Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

For questions concerning the implementation of these laws or for other wolf information, please contact the DNR Marquette Customer Service Center at 906-228-6561.