By JOHN FLESHER and STEVE KARNOWSKI Associated Press
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – Ranchers in the western Great Lakes region are eager to take up arms against a longtime enemy: wolves.
The gray wolf comes off the federal endangered species list Friday in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the combined population is 4,400.
Wolves have rebounded strongly there after being hunted to near-extinction. They gained federal protection in 1974.
The three states will allow farmers to shoot wolves caught preying on livestock. They’ll also consider establishing hunting seasons. Minnesota may have a hunt this fall in which 400 wolves would be killed.
Ranchers say they’re glad for the opportunity to defend their animals. Wolf advocates say that’s understandable, but they’ll oppose hunting wolves for sport.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)