Delaying sale of state wolf licenses a wise move

State wildlife managers appear to have made the right move in delaying the sale of licenses for this year’s wolf hunt.

The licenses were set to go on sale Saturday under a first-come, first-served basis.

However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources decided earlier this week to delay the sale of licenses until Sept. 28.

According to the DNR, the postponement was made to allow the department to ensure the sale of the licenses will be handled fairly and smoothly in anticipation of great demand from hunters.

Unlike other limited hunts for such game as bear and elk, there is no application period for the wolf hunt, which is set to begin Nov. 15.

Without the time buffer provided for by the application and drawing process, the DNR feared potential problems could pop-up with the licensing system.

The extra time will enable the department to make sure the equipment can handle the expected rush of hunters, as well as have staff fully prepared for the sale.

What will be available beginning at noon Sept. 28 will be 1,200 wolf hunting licenses, with residents paying $100 for a license and non-residents paying $500.

There are three distinct hunting units, with one in the far western Upper Peninsula, one in roughly the north-central region and the third in the south-eastern portion of the U.P.

Scheduled to run until Dec. 31, the hunt will be canceled when the quota of 43 wolves harvested is reached. Each unit has a quota and a unit will be closed when its number is met.

With the expense, limited area for hunting and low quota, we’re not sure there will be as big a rush to buy licenses as the DNR anticipates.

That said, we also believe there is plenty of time to sell the licenses during the Sept. 28 through Oct. 31 sale period, and it’s wise for the state to make sure the license sale procedure functions properly.