By MEAGAN STILP
HANCOCK - When wolf hunting licenses went on sale Saturday at noon there was already a line formed at Northwoods Sporting Goods in Hancock. In the first five minutes they sold as many licenses, with a tense moment when the system reported that all of the 1,200 licenses allowed were sold out after just three minutes.
"I think what happened (with the system) is there was a big influx right at the get go that overloaded it," said Rick Freeman of Northwoods Sporting Goods. "It should settle down a bit later."
There were still licenses available after 12:03 p.m., but, according to the Associated Press, by Saturday evening more than 1,000 of the allotted 1,200 licenses had been sold.
Hunters holding wolf licenses will be allowed to hunt in three specific zones in the Upper Peninsula with each zone limited to a certain number of wolves for a total of 43 wolves allowed for the 1,200 licenses. Zone A is in the western edge of Gogebic County and has a limit of 16 wolves. Zone B encompasses portions of each of Houghton, Baraga, Ontonagon and Gogebic Counties with a limit of 19 wolves. Zone C covers an area of Mackinac and Luce Counties and has a quota of eight wolves.
"I don't know why they picked those specific areas," Freeman said. "I know in Atlantic Mine they had problems where they took domestic dogs and this area (by Menominee) had a lot of problems but you can't hunt there."
Local hunters are interested in wolf hunting for a number of reasons, including sport, but many are hoping to protect their land.
"We've seen wolves on our property," said Dave Michelson, a hunter from Hancock who was one of the first in line to get his license on Saturday. "There are farms right next to my property and they've been getting cattle."
The wolf hunting season begins November 15 and ends December 31 or when the quota for each zone is fulfilled. Each license is limited to one wolf and any wolf killed must be phoned in to the DNR that day.
"They have a certain number they're taking out of each unit," Freeman said. "When they fill those quotas the hunt stops and it's the hunter's responsibility to call in or check on-line everyday for how many have been taken."
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/dnr.