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MDNR Report

The Michigan DNR is busy preparing 91 properties for sale via online auctions in August and early September. The properties, ranging in size from under an acre to 160 acres, are available in more than two dozen counties.

Surplus land sales, a regular part of the DNR’s public land strategy, are key to how the department manages the land it oversees on behalf of the people of Michigan. Auction proceeds will be reinvested in acquiring critical land for the public to help provide future outdoor recreation opportunities in keeping with the DNR’s mission to conserve, protect and manage the state’s natural and cultural resources for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Michigan bear and elkMichigan bear and elk

There were 6,586 bear licenses and 260 elk licenses available for the 2024 fall hunting seasons. Drawing results are now in, and you can check them online at eLicense or on the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app, or call 517-284-9453, to learn if you were successfully drawn. 

Hunters selected in the drawing can buy their license at any license agent or online. Elk hunters drawn for a license will be mailed a packet of information that will include information about the elk hunter orientation.

If you are curious how the drawing process works for bear and elk, watch our videos:

MDNR Report

Michigan WolfMichigan Wolf

The 2024 winter wolf population survey estimate from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources found a minimum of 762 wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This year’s estimate showed an increase of 131 animals compared to the 2022 estimate of 631; however, the results demonstrate a continued trend of statistical stability in Michigan’s wolf population.

“This year’s survey findings are statistically consistent with our wolf population surveys for the past 14 years,” said Brian Roell, the DNR’s large carnivore specialist. “When a wild population reaches this stable point, it is typical to see slight variations from year to year, indicating that gray wolves may have reached their biological carrying capacity in the Upper Peninsula.”

In other words, Michigan’s U.P. wolf population has achieved an equilibrium between availability of habitat and the number of wolves that habitat can support over time.

The survey, completed last winter, found the population distributed among 158 packs in the Upper Peninsula, with an average of 4.8 wolves per pack. This year’s survey represents the highest population estimate since 2012, when the department began doing the semiannual survey. The survey is conducted during the winter because it relies in part on identifying wolf tracks in the snow.

Prior to the winter of 2007, the DNR sought to count wolves throughout the entire Upper Peninsula. However, as the wolf population increased, this peninsulawide survey method became more difficult and time-consuming, especially the process of distinguishing among adjacent packs.

MDNR Report

The Michigan DNR is awarding more than $1.7 million in Fisheries Habitat Grants for conservation projects on lakes and streams statewide. The funds are matched by more than $950,000 in partner contributions, for a total conservation value of about $2.7 million.

“These grants provide critical funding for projects that yield cleaner water, healthier fish populations and better aquatic habitats – all of which make the outdoors safer and more enjoyable for residents,” said Randy Claramunt, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division. “Our natural resources have always been central to Michigan’s appeal as an outdoor recreation destination, and creative, collaborative projects like these make a lasting, positive impact on those resources.”

The projects will rehabilitate and protect valuable fish habitats that provide the foundation for Michigan’s world-class fisheries. Two of them are DNR Priority Habitat Conservation Projects – those proactively identified by the department as important to sustaining healthy habitats, fisheries and aquatic communities – and another four are projects that directly benefit priorities of Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan.

MDNR Report

The Michigan DNR announced today that fisheries staff had to euthanize just over 31,000 Atlantic salmon that were sick with bacterial kidney disease, or BKD.

In early April, routine pre-stocking inspection of fish being reared at the Harrietta State Fish Hatchery, in Wexford County, found bacterial kidney disease was present. Staff at the Michigan State University Aquatic Animal Health Lab noted signs of active disease and confirmed the presence of Renibacterium salmoninarum, the bacterium that causes BKD.

BKD is a bacterial disease known to cause mortality in trout and salmon and is believed to be largely responsible for the decline in Great Lakes Chinook salmon populations in the mid-1980s.

A prescribed 28-day antibiotic treatment was completed May 17, but unfortunately, the treatment was not fully effective in eliminating the infection. Subsequent to completion of the antibiotic treatment, another group of fish was sent to the lab for analysis. During the analysis, internal signs of active disease were still noted.

“The bacteria that causes bacterial kidney disease is listed as a Level 1 restricted pathogen in the Model Program for Fish Health Management in the Great Lakes,” said Ed Eisch, DNR Fisheries Division Assistant Chief Ed Eisch. “Fish that are positive for Level 1 restricted pathogens can be stocked where the pathogen is already known to exist, but only if they are free of signs of disease. This lot of fish still shows signs of active BKD so they cannot be stocked.”

According to Aaron Switzer, DNR Fish Production Program manager, it isn’t overly surprising that this treatment was not fully successful.