gray wolf

user metassus / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law yesterday afternoon that will allow a state wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Later today, Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on whether to authorize the hunt. That decision could have an effect on one town on the far western edge of the Upper Peninsula.

Ironwood is about as far west as you can go in the Upper Peninsula.   This town of about 5,000 is a small town with a big wolf problem. 

Nancy Warren

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed SB 288 and 289 this afternoon. The bills pave the way for a limited wolf hunt to take place in the Upper Peninsula this fall. It also goes around a referendum aimed at stopping a wolf hunt.

Al Warren

This week, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on whether to authorize a wolf hunt.

The hunt would take place in three separate zones in the Upper Peninsula

I traveled to the U.P. to talk with people who live near wolves to get their thoughts on the proposed hunt.

For many years, gray wolves were listed as an endangered species in Michigan. That ended last year.  But the battle between the wolves and locals in the Upper Peninsula has been going on for some time.   

Christian Jansky / wikimedia commons

A state House committee is holding a hearing on a measure that would change how hunting is managed in Michigan, and bypass a referendum on wolf hunting if it’s on the ballot next year.

Two questions have dominated the hearing on the bill.

  1. Whether hunting is an appropriate part of plans to manage wolves in the Upper Peninsula
  2. Whether the Legislature should approve a new law to allow wolf hunts before the referendum.

Ellie Mayes circulated petitions to put the referendum on the ballot.

“This is a subversion of democracy. The entire point of the bill is to do an end run around a referendum,” she said.

“It is possible for a minority to be silenced. In this case, the minority is very isolated.”

State Representative Ed McBroom (R-Escanaba) is from the western UP.

He says pets and livestock are endangered in pockets of the UP and how to manage that problem should not be a question that’s voted on by the entire state.

“This issue is isolated to the Upper Peninsula and the people of the UP are at great risk of being totally disenfranchised by the rest of the state of Michigan on an issue that’s critical on the future of our well-being,” said McBroom.

The anti-wolf hunting campaign says the Legislature should not ignore the wishes of 255,000 people who signed petitions to put the question on the ballot.

Petition circulator Judy Brock showed up to oppose the legislation.

“And I’m representing those people who signed the petition who wanted this issue to be put on the ballot. Everyone that signed the petition when we collected knew exactly what this was about, and wanted the opportunity to vote on the issue, and that’s being taken away from us,” she said.

The question would still be on the ballot once the petitions are certified by state elections officials. However, the results of the election would not stop a wolf hunt if a new law is adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

Rick Pluta

The state Senate is poised to vote on a measures that would circumvent a referendum on the law that allows wolf hunting. More than a hundred demonstrators showed up at the state Capitol today to protest the legislation.

It would let an appointed state board determine what species may be hunted.

Julie Baker led the ballot campaign to reverse the 1996 law that allowed hunting of mourning doves.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission meets about a wolf hunt in Michigan.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The referendum effort to stop a wolf hunt in Michigan has been called "a radical agenda" by those opposed to it.

Now, new legislation introduced by State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) seeks to deflate that referendum drive.

The Michigan Legislature listed the wolf as a potential game species late last year. The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" says they collected enough signatures to put the question in front of voters.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

State wildlife officials plan to recommend Thursday that Michigan hold a wolf hunt this Fall in the U.P.

Gray wolves in Michigan were until recently listed as an endangered species. There are about 700 wolves in Michigan. Farmers say the growing wolf population is a threat to livestock.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission will receive a recommendation to kill 47 wolves, as part of a hunt, focused in three parts of the Upper Peninsula. The commission may vote next month to set the dates for a wolf hunt.

There is proof that saving Michigan wolves is indeed an issue that Michiganders feel passionate about.

A proposed wolf hunt in Michigan could soon be put on hold, even though the Legislature approved a wolf-hunting bill during the lame duck session last December.

That's because today the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected delivered more than 250,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State's office.

The petition calls for Public Act 520, the law that designates the wolf as a potential game species, to be postponed until a voter referendum in November 2014.

It was put together by a coalition of conservation, animal welfare groups, and Native American tribes who joined forces.

It wasn't that long ago that the western Great Lakes wolf population was protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

State wildlife experts believe there are now around 700 gray wolves in our state. Some farming and hunting groups say the population is large enough for a state-regulated hunt. They argue it's needed to manage the wolf population.

Opponents of a hunt have rallied, insisting the wolf population is still too small, and a hunt is cruel.

Jill Fritz is the director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

She gives us  perspective on the decision by lawmakers last December to designate the wolf as a potential game species in the state and answers the question "is it really time to control the wolf population in Michigan?"

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People fighting a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan are celebrating a milestone today.

They delivered a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this morning.   The petition calls for a statewide vote on the law authorizing the wolf hunt.

Jill Fritz is the director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign.    She’s optimistic that state officials will validate enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Kevyn Orr leaves salaries for Mayor Bing and City Council intact

The state's new emergency manager law, which goes into effect Thursday, eliminates salaries and benefits for elected municipal officials when an emergency manager is installed.

But as Michigan Radio’s Sarah Hulett reports, an order signed by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will leave the salaries of Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council members intact.

"Salaries range from more than $70,000 for council members to close to $160,000 for Mayor Dave Bing."

State Attorney General Bill Schuette calls for a grand jury investigation into meningitis outbreak

Michigan's attorney general is seeking a criminal investigation into the deaths of 17 residents from contaminated steroids supplied by a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company.

As Rick Pluta explains,

"The grand jury would have the power to compel witnesses to appear and testify, including people from the four Michigan clinics that administered the injections. And it could ask a Massachusetts court to order employees of the pharmacy that made the drug to cooperate."

Wolf hunt in Michigan may be put on hold

A group opposing the hunting of gray wolves is expected to deliver tens of thousands of petition signatures to the Secretary of State's office.

If enough of the signatures are certified, a statewide vote on the proposed wolf hunt will be placed on the ballot in 2014.

Credit John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech

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.

John Vucetich/Rolf Peterson / Michigan Tech

In 1973, there were around a half a dozen wolves in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Today, there are around 700, and some hunters and legislators want to establish a hunting season for the wolves.

Others want to stop that effort.

If the group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" succeeds in collecting enough signatures, you'll be asked to vote on a potential wolf hunt in November 2014.

The group has to collect 161,305 petition signatures by the end of March 27.

With three weeks left, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected says it has already collected more than 100,000 signatures.

Isle Royale wolves
Rolf Peterson, John Vucetich / Michigan Tech

ISLE ROYALE, Mich. (AP) - Isle Royale National Park's gray wolves apparently don't have a gender gap after all.

Scientists reported last year that only nine wolves remained on the Lake Superior island chain - the lowest total in more than 50 years. They said just one was known to be a female, raising doubts about the predator's long-term prospects for survival in the wilderness park.

But Superintendent Phyllis Green said Thursday that genetic analysis of wolf excrement and additional observations suggest that four or five of the animals are females.

Even so, Green says the wolves' situation remains tenuous and experts are studying how climate change may affect them.

Michigan Technological University biologists are conducting their annual winter study at Isle Royale and are expected to release updated wolf and moose numbers next month.

Lawsuit filed to protect Great Lakes wolf population

Feb 12, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr

The Humane Society along with several other groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today to put a stop to gray wolf hunting in the Great Lakes Region.

The lawsuit is against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species List.

If its successful, the lawsuit would place the wolves back under federal protection.

A Michigan DNR conservation officer holding a 100 lb. wolf hit by a car in the Upper Peninsula.
Michigan Whitetail Pursuit / Facebook

This picture is making the rounds on Facebook.

It was posted on the Michigan Whitetail Pursuit page and has been shared more than 3,000 times.

The animal was so big, I wasn't sure if the photo was manipulated. I checked in with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to find the story behind the photo.

It's legit, according to Ed Golder of the MDNR.

"This picture is of one of our conservation officers from Iron County in the Upper Peninsula. The wolf he is holding was hit by a car near Watersmeet in Gogebic County," said Golder.

"Tribal police were the primary responding agency. The wolf will go to an Upper Peninsula tribe so it can be mounted and displayed for educational purposes.

The wolf -- which was healthy and in good shape -- weighed about 100 pounds but looks bigger in the photo because of its full winter coat."

That's a warm winter coat.

- H/T to Sarah Hulett

user metassus / Flickr

The group trying to reverse Michigan’s new law that allows a wolf-hunting season in the Upper Peninsula unveiled its campaign coalition today.

It includes the Humane Society and other animal rights groups, as well as Michigan’s American Indian tribes. The coalition is trying to put a referendum on the 2014 ballot.

Aaron Payment is the chair of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. He said a wolf hunt would be an affront to tribal culture.

“In our tradition, in our culture, we believe that the wolf is our brother. And, I don’t mean this to sound very mystical, but in our long-standing tradition, we believe that what happens to the wolf, eventually happens to us,” said Payment.

Payment said a wolf hunt could also violate a 2007 agreement between Indian tribes and the state of Michigan.

Supporters of the law say state wildlife officials should be allowed to use limited hunting as a wolf-management tool. The gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list in Michigan last year.

www.isleroyalewolf.org

An animal welfare group has the green light to start collecting signatures in its attempt to stop a new law opening Michigan to a wolf hunt.

On Thursday, a state board approved petitions drafted by the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

Michael Hodge is their attorney. He said there is no evidence that wolves are a problem in the Upper Peninsula.

“So it’s a hunting season for trophy hunters who want to kill an animal that just basically reappeared in the state of Michigan in recent years,” said Hodge.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Referendum campaign will try to block wolf hunts

After Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation opening up the doors to a possible wolf hunt in the state, a referendum campaign is trying to block the move. The Detroit News reports,

A petition committee, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, is attempting to gather 225,000 signatures in the next two and a half months for a statewide ballot question that would protect wolves from being hunted as a trophy animal.

Governor Snyder criticizes right to work as Pure Michigan ad

Governor Rick Snyder has criticized a Michigan Economic Development Corporation ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal that touts the new right to work legislation as "Pure Michigan. "Governor Snyder says he would not have singled out right-to-work. Instead, he says he hoped the ad would highlight a broad range of new economic policies," Jake Neher reports.

user metassus / Flickr

A ballot campaign will launch this week to overturn a new law that allows the state to establish wolf hunting seasons in the Upper Peninsula.

The campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will appear before a state elections board on Thursday to get its petition approved for circulation.

Jill Fritz is the Michigan director for the Humane Society and the leader of the petition drive. She said the gray wolf was only recently removed from the endangered species list.

Stateside: What Upper Peninsula wolf hunt means for Michigan

Jan 14, 2013
Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula are a step closer to being hunted this fall.

A new state law designating wolves as game animals in Michigan passed late last year.

Adam Bump of Michigan Department of Natural Resources spoke with Cyndy about the implications of hunting wolves.

“The focus was to give the DNR the full range of options for wolf management," said Bump.

Bump noted the conflicts the wolves created.

“There certainly is a lot of conflict that exists surrounding wolves. We’ve had consistent depredations where wolves are praying on livestock.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula are a step closer to being hunted this fall.

For many years, the Gray Wolf was on the endangered species list.   Now, there are an estimated 687 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. That’s far more than is needed for the wolves to have a viable population, according to state wildlife biologists.

“When you look at 687, it’s probably not the appropriate number to look at in context of ‘Do we need public harvest to resolve conflicts?’” says Adam Bump, a specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Michigan natural resources officials will start the new year considering a possible wolf hunt in the state.

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed a bill that establishes the gray wolf as a game species.

But that doesn’t mean there will be a wolf hunt in the state. That will be up to the state wildlife commission.

Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Ed Golder said the commission will start looking into the issue in January.

Legislature stays up late, passes flood of lame-duck bills

Dec 14, 2012
user Steve & Christine from USA / Wikipedia

More than a few Michigan legislators are probably feeling a little fuzzy today, asking themselves the all-important question, “What happened last night?”

That’s because lawmakers were up until 4:30 a.m. this morning as part of an all-night legislative binge that saw the passage of a bundle of bills.

And as MLive reports, not everyone is happy about the way it happened:

user metassus / Flickr

Legislation that could allow a limited wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula cleared the state House Wednesday, and is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder.

The grey wolf was recently removed from the federal endangered species list.

State Representative Jeff Irwin is a Democrat from Ann Arbor. He was one of the “no” votes.

“This is an animal that just came off the endangered species list. The populations are not even healthy or even abundant, and I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about shooting wolves in northern Michigan,” Irwin said.

Don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the current lame duck session of the legislature is trying to do about as much as lawmakers normally do in about ten years. Now I am sure that’s an exaggeration, but it doesn’t feel like one.

Consider this. In a single day, the governor and the Republican majority pushed through the most momentous labor legislation in years, taking the once inconceivable step of outlawing the union shop and making Michigan a so-called right to work state.

They aren’t stopping there, however: The governor is going to have to make a decision on four bills, or parts of bills aimed at making it harder for women to get abortions in Michigan.

For the last two years, lots of people have believed that Rick Snyder may be a pro-business fiscal conservative, but that he was really a moderate on social issues. Well, now we are about to find out.

USFWS Midwest

The Michigan Legislature is moving closer to allowing a hunting season for gray wolves.  The state Senate voted last week to make the wolf a game species.  Now, the bill goes to the House.

There are around 700 wolves in Michigan, mostly in the western Upper Peninsula.

If the Legislature makes the wolf a game species, then wildlife officials will still have to justify that a hunt is necessary and that it won’t harm wolf recovery. 

Under state law, there can’t be a recreational wolf hunt for any old reason.

State Senate passes bill that could lead to gray wolf hunting season

Nov 30, 2012
USFWS

A controversial piece of legislation that would make the gray wolf a game species has passed the Michigan Senate.

The bill, introduced by Escanaba Republican Tom Casperson, paves the way for a possible hunting and trapping seasons for wolves.

If the bill becomes law, the state’s Natural Resources Commission would be allowed to determine if a hunt were needed.

There are nearly 700 wolves in Michigan today, up from under 300 just a decade ago. The wolves, removed from the endangered species list this past January, are concentrated in the western Upper Peninsula.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

State-run health exchange rejected in House

Action on a state-run exchange for people to shop for health coverage was rejected in the state House Thursday. As the Lansing State Journal reports,

"Gov. Rick Snyder prefers a state-run program, but his administration this month applied for a federal grant as a first step toward the fallback position of teaming with the federal department. States have the option of creating their own exchange, teaming up with the federal government or having a federal system. . . Some Democrats opposed the legislation because it was linked to bills that would prohibit qualified health plans offered through a state exchange from providing coverage for elective abortion but would allow people to buy optional supplemental coverage for elective abortion outside the exchange."

Bills move forward to make gray wolf a game species

The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would designate the gray wolf as a game species. The bill gives the Natural Resources Commission authority to decide whether to establish wolf hunting seasons. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"The wolves were removed from the endangered species list in January, but only the DNR is allowed to manage the wolf population, which has begun to encroach upon U.P. towns, according to residents. The animals also are having a big impact on the U.P.'s deer population, killing between 17,000 and 29,000 deer every year, according to a report from the DNR."

State threatens to sue Troy over special election

"The state is threatening to sue the city of Troy over plans for a special election to replace recalled Mayor Janice Daniels. The Michigan Department of Elections says state law requires an election in February. Troy officials want to wait until next November. The state sent a letter to city leaders giving them until 1pm Friday to comply with the directive, and avoid litigation," Chris Zollars reports.

USFWS Midwest

We reported last week that Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation to make gray wolves a game species (State Representative Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine) introduced HB 5834. Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced a similar bill (SB 1350) in the state Senate). These bills would make it possible to have a hunting and trapping season for wolves. 

SB 1350 cleared a Senate committee late last week.  It now moves to the full Senate. 

But a number of tribes in Michigan are opposed to a wolf hunt and that could hold the process up. 

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region came off the endangered species list this past January.  There are about 700 wolves in Michigan now.  A decade ago, there were just under 300. 

Now, state lawmakers are considering legislation to make gray wolves a game species in Michigan. That would open the door to a possible hunting and trapping season for wolves.

Adam Bump is the Bear and Furbearer Specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  He says most of the wolves are in the western Upper Peninsula and that’s causing some conflicts with people.

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