By Howard Meyerson
Grand Rapids, Mich. – Kevin Swanson believes his biggest challenge as Michigan’s new large-carnivore specialist is likely to be the debate about wolves, but black bears and cougars aren’t far behind. The Ishpeming native recently began his new duties at the Michigan DNR’s Marquette field office.
“The wolf debate is the biggest challenge. I’ll be representing our biologist’s views, assessing all sides of the debate, and bringing those recommendations to the Natural Resources Commission,” said Swanson, who was named Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist of the Year in 2012. His former post was habitat biologist for the 380,000 acre Shingleton state forest unit.
“There are no big changes ahead for the wolf program plan, but it’s important for people to know that it doesn’t preclude having a wolf hunt,” Swanson said. “Bear issues are also very controversial. The houndsmen and bait-hunting groups don’t see things the same way. I’ll be handling the bear program and plan to bring those differing points of view to the table. We’re in the process of making recommendations for the 2015-16 regulation cycle.”
Swanson, who grew up hunting, and still lives in Ishpeming with his wife and three children, was selected for the post from a field of candidates from around the country. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northern Michigan University, and master’s degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University. People who know him say he is a likeable guy. Continue reading