Pro and anti-wolf hunting groups square off at Michigan's Capitol today

Aug 27, 2014

Many wolf hunt opponents complain state lawmakers are circumventing November's two referendums.
Many wolf hunt opponents complain state lawmakers are circumventing November's two referendums.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People for and against a wolf hunt in Michigan are at the state Capitol today.

Orange-wearing hunters are mixing with people waving signs calling for protecting Michigan’s wolves.

The state House is poised to vote on the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The act would open the door once again to wolf hunting. The state Senate has already voted in favor of the act.  

Jill Fritz is with Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.  The group collected enough signatures to put two wolf hunt referendums on the November ballot. But those referendums will be rendered moot if the House passes the bill today.

Fritz says the fight goes on.

“Because no matter what happens today,” Fritz says, “we’ll continue to challenge this and continue to fight with every resource we have available.”

Hunters wearing orange pass through a crowd of blue-shirted wolf hunt opponents outside the state Capitol in Lansing.
Hunters wearing orange pass through a crowd of blue-shirted wolf hunt opponents outside the state Capitol in Lansing.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hunters at the Capitol say the issue is bigger than the wolves. They say there is a need to make decisions about Michigan’s wildlife based on science.  

The act would also authorize money to combat Asian carp and provide free hunting licenses for active duty military personnel. 

But the focus of the debate has been on the fate of the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula. 

The wolf was on the brink of disappearing a quarter century ago. But conservation efforts have helped the population to grow to more than 600 today.

However, as the population has grown, complaints about the wolves killing livestock and deer have increased in the Upper Peninsula.

Hunters at the state Capitol insist the debate isn't about Michigan's wolves. They say it's about managing the state's wildlife in a scientific way.
Hunters at the state Capitol insist the debate isn't about Michigan's wolves. They say it's about managing the state's wildlife in a scientific way.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last year, 22 wolves were killed in a state-sanctioned wolf hunt.      

If the state House passes the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act today, it's possible the Natural Resources Commission could call for another wolf hunt this fall.