The political ping-pong match between those who want to hunt wolves, and those who want to stop a hunt continues.
As of today, there is a new challenge to Michigan's most-recent wolf hunting law (Public Act 21 of 2013). Governor Snyder signed it into law this past May after enforcement of a previous law was suspended by a petition drive.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, the group that led the successful petition drive this past March, has started a second drive. They want to stop all wolf hunts in Michigan, believing the wolf population in the state to be “fragile.”
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected describes itself as a coalition of “conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, Native American tribes, wildlife scientists, veterinarians, hunters, farmers, and Michigan citizens.”
In a press release for the second referendum the group launched, Jill Fritz, the director of Keep Michigan Wolves protected, said:
“This second referendum will preserve the impact of our first referendum that has already been certified for the ballot – ensuring Michigan voters have the right to protect wolves and other wildlife matters… Michiganders deserve to have their voices heard on the wolf issue, and we hope they’ll have an opportunity to vote on two ballot measures next year to do just that.”
If they collect enough signatures, there could be two wolf ballot measures in the November 2014 election, according to Jonathan Oosting at MLive:
The old referendum seeks to overturn Public Act 520 of 2012. The new referendum would seek to overturn Public Act 21 of 2013. Both measures could make the ballot, and Fritz said she will encourage voters to reject both laws.
In the meantime, a wolf hunt will take place in these parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula from November 15 through December 31:
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will begin issuing 1,200 hunting licenses on a 'first-come, first-served basis' starting on August 3rd.
MPRN's Rick Pluta reports that the organizers of the petition drive "don’t think they can gather the necessary 161,000 signatures in time to suspend the wolf hunt...but they do hope to make it Michigan’s first and last wolf hunt."
- Julia Field and Mark Brush, Michigan Radio Newsroom