Michigan Convicts Two Wolf Poachers

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Two men have been convicted for shooting wolves in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Department of Natural Resources announced. Both cases stem from last year's firearm deer hunting season, and the individuals arrested were both found guilty of shooting wolves while hunting deer.

Robert Wudzinski, 70, from Richmond, Michigan, appeared on March 13 before Judge Anders B. Tingstad in the 98th District Court in Ontonagon County, where he pleaded guilty to shooting a radio-collared wolf while hunting on Nov. 16, 2006, near Trout Creek. A wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources was patrolling in an airplane tracking radio collar signals on wolves that day when the collar on that particular wolf went into mortality mode. DNR conservation officers were able to locate the carcass of the animal and conduct an investigation, which led to the arrest of Wudzinski. He pleaded guilty to one count of taking a protected animal. Wudzinski paid a total of $2,150 in fines, costs and restitution, was placed on probation for nine months and lost his hunting privileges for the remainder of 2007.

In a separate case brought before Judge Michael Kusz in 98B District Court in Iron Mountain, William Jason Morgan, 28, of Iron Mountain pleaded guilty to shooting another wolf, also on Nov. 16, 2006, near Felch in northern Dickinson County. DNR conservation officers again were able to recover the animal and after evaluating evidence left at the scene of the shooting, arrested Morgan. On April 11, Morgan was ordered to pay $2,385 in fines, costs and restitution, lost his hunting privileges through 2010, was placed on six months probation and ordered to participate in the county's tether program for 30 days, where he was confined to work and his residence only for that time period.

Michigan's wolf population is around 434 animals, located in the Upper Peninsula. Wolves are a protected species in the state, and those found guilty of killing a wolf will be subject to criminal prosecution.