As wolf populations have increased recently, so are laws regarding wolf hunting and both sides of the debate are heating up. Although the gray wolf was delisted from the Endangered Species Act of 1974, many anti-hunting activists argue that wolf populations quoted are those by hunters only, and not true. Although a recent count of 650 in Michigan was reported, there is uncertainty as to the valididity of the statistics.
Because of poisoning, shooting and gassing of gray wolves by farmers and ranchers, wolf populations decreased to a scarce number, mainly remaining in Canada. Wolves were reintroduced in 1995 to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming with positive results.
Conservative politicians, lobbyists and pro-hunting groups have legalized hunting in many states, and more will be added to the list as populations grow. The absurdity of hunting an apex predator, one that is at the top of the ecostystem, is clear. The presence of wolves provides more butterflies, more beaver, more wolverines, more flowers, etc. They are essential to preserving the ecosystem on which we nowso heavily rely upon. Many saw wolves as bloodthirsty animals and made people afraid of wolves, and any attacks on cattle or sheep (which were typically gruesome) didn't help their case. The wolf quickly became an enemy to people whose sustenance depended on the survival of their livestock, and the state of Montana began offering bounty rewards for wolf hides as early as 1884 [source: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park].
After trapping, shooting and poisoning by farmers and ranchers essentially pushed the gray wolf out of the northwest United States for most of the 20th century, wolves were placed on the endangered species list in 1974. Although it became officially illegal to hunt and kill wolves in the lower 48 United States, there weren't many to protect after they were systematically hunted out of the country -- the majority of gray wolves inhabited either Canada or Alaska.
Now, most recently, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan has made wolf hunting legal and ignored petitions of thousands of voters to stop. The debate continues to polarize communities on environmental, political and ethical grounds.