Environment & Science
3:31 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Wolf hunt opponents plan to deliver petition signatures calling for statewide vote

Tomorrow, Michigan may move a little closer to having a statewide vote on a possible wolf hunt.

Members of the group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, are expected to deliver nearly a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office.

The petition drive calls for a referendum on a new state law authorizing a gray wolf hunt.

Once endangered, the wolf population has grown in recent years. State wildlife experts believe there are around 700 gray wolves in Michigan.

Farming and hunting groups say an organized hunt is needed to control the wolf population, especially in parts of the western Upper Peninsula.   But wolf hunt opponents say the animal’s population is still too small and a hunt is unnecessary.

If enough petition signatures are certified, the state law calling for a hunt will be put on hold until the public vote in 2014.    According to a spokesman from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, the state Board of Canvassers has 60 days to review the signatures.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is expected to receive a report next month on whether a wolf hunt is warranted. The commission could vote in May on whether to authorize a wolf hunt.