Beginning Wednesday, Michigan hunting groups will start collecting signatures on a petition to allow wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula. Today, the Board of State Canvassers approved wording for the petition.
The pro-hunt petition is intended to counter two petition drives by groups trying to protect the gray wolf.
Since November 15th, at least 17 wolves have been killed in the state’s first ever wolf hunt.
“I would like to clarify that it doesn’t guarantee a wolf hunt,” says Drew YoungeDyke, a spokesman for Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, “All that this would guarantee is that the decision about whether to not to have future wolf hunts are made by biologists…rather than television commercials.”
The “Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act” would direct the Natural Resources Commission to designate game species using “sound science”. That would allow the body to designate what animals should be hunted in Michigan. The act would also allocate a million dollars to the NRC. That appropriation would prevent wolf hunt supporters from launching a referendum petition to challenge the law.
The hunting groups hope to get their petition to the legislature by late Spring
Next November, there will likely be two referendums challenging state laws allowing for a wolf hunt. If the legislature does not act on the hunters’ petition, there could be three referendums on the ballot.
Jill Fritz is with Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. She’s accusing backers of the petition drive of “making an end run around the voters” to get their way on the wolf hunt.
“No matter how many measures they introduce, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will keep working to restore the rights of Michigan voters to have a say on wildlife policy,” says Fritz.