Environment & Science
5:04 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Wolf hunt referendum petitions filed

The campaign to repeal Michigan’s new wolf hunting law filed petitions today to put their challenge on the November ballot.

The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaign says it has 225,000 signatures. That’s well over the 161,305 needed to qualify for the November ballot.

This would be the second hunting referendum on the ballot. The Legislature passed a new hunting law to sidestep an earlier petition drive and referendum.    

“It’s a shame that the Legislature ignored the wishes of the people the first time,” says Jill Fritz, the campaign manager for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “What they should have done is let the people take this issue to the ballot and let them vote on it.”

James Bull of the Detroit Audubon Society says he’s concerned the new law will stop citizens from challenging hunting seasons and other wildlife decisions. He says, for example, the new would have preempted the 2006 referendum on mourning dove hunting.

“We are not anti-hunting, but we do believe there are some species that ought not to be hunted,” says Bull. “There’s no sound reason, no scientific basis for hunting wolves.”

It will probably take about a month for state elections officials to check the signatures and certify the petitions. There is also another petition drive, this one by pro-hunting groups, to pass a law that would preempt the ballot challenge. They say wildlife management should be handled by the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission without being subject to political pressure and elections.