Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

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Michigan voters rejected a pair of referenda on state laws authorizing a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Wolf hunt opponents celebrated tonight.  

“The people of Michigan have shown that they don’t want the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves,” says Jill Fritz with the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

But this may just be a pyrrhic victory for wolf hunting opponents. The results of Tuesday’s vote amount to a non-binding referendum.

Many wolf hunt opponents complain state lawmakers are circumventing November's two referendums.
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.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Senate is back in Lansing tomorrow for one day before resuming its summer recess.

It appears likely the Senate will vote on petition-initiated legislation to allow wolf hunting in Michigan, and give a state commission direct control over decisions on which species may be hunted.

The state House is expected to follow suit later this month.

The initiative is meant to circumvent two referenda on wolf-hunting laws adopted by the Legislature.

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The State Senate may vote this week on a proposal that could once again open the door to wolf hunting in Michigan.

Hunting groups collected enough petition signatures on a proposed law giving state wildlife officials total control on which animals will be hunted in Michigan.

Drew YoungeDyke is with Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He insists the hunting groups are not trying to outflank groups opposed to hunting wolves in Michigan.

The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" gathers signatures.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected / Facebook

A coalition of activist groups is trying to make an issue of the Legislature passing laws to bypass petition drives and ballot measures.

The groups say Republicans at the state Capitol have circumvented voters on questions including the emergency manager law, the minimum wage, and wolf hunting. In each of those cases, the Legislature passed laws that ran contrary to the results of an election or a petition drive.

Danielle Atkinson is with the campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She says the Legislature acted legally, but violated the spirit of the Michigan Constitution’s power to use the ballot to initiate or challenge laws.

“This is not what the drafters of the state constitution intended when they gave people the right to petition their government.”

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After spending months collecting signatures, hunting groups plan to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

The petition is aimed at cementing a wolf hunt in Michigan law.

In November, voters will decide two ballot questions challenging state laws allowing the state to authorize a wolf hunt. Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.

Wolf hunt opponents say the hunt is unnecessary for a species just recently removed from the endangered list.

USFWS Midwest

Michigan hunters are in the final phases of collecting signatures on a statewide petition drive to allow the state’s controversial wolf hunt to continue.

Hunters killed 22 wolves in three specific zones in the Upper Peninsula last year. The hunt was the first after the gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

The 45-day wolf hunting season that began November 15 inflamed passions, both pro and con.

Now that the first-ever wolf hunt is wrapped up, what were the results?

John Barnes explored the impact of the hunt in a recent piece for MLive, which breaks down the ages of the 22 wolves killed over the course of the hunt. He joined us on Stateside today (you can listen to the audio above).

USFWS Midwest

There are fewer wolves living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

State wildlife biologists report a slight dip in the wolf population following last fall’s controversial hunt.

The Department of Natural Resources has just completed a census of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR admits the count is more of an estimate than an accurate head count.

It looks like a referendum on the controversial issue of wolf-hunting is headed to the November ballot – again. This will be the second hunting-related ballot question (and, possibly, not the last) voters will decide in a little less than eight months.

The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaign turned in petition signatures to the state Bureau of Elections just yesterday. It takes 161,305 signatures, and we can reasonably expect the campaign has enough names. Because, after all, they’ve done this before.

Most recently, just last year, when Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed enough signatures to suspend and challenge the first Michigan wolf hunting law adopted after the gray wolf was taken off the federal endangered species list. That is the first referendum challenge and it is already on the November ballot.

But the Legislature, as well as Gov. Rick Snyder, would not be thwarted. They adopted a second law to allow wolf hunting (among other things), and that is the target of this newest referendum campaign.

USFWS Midwest

Wolf hunt opponents plan to be out in force this weekend making a final push to collect signatures for a petition to put the wolf hunt question on the November ballot.

Jill Fritz is the director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign. She admits they don’t know yet how many signatures they’ve collected so far.

“We won’t really know until we start to count them on March 5,” says Fritz. “But we do anticipate turning in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.”

USFWS Midwest

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials say most of the wolves killed in the recent Upper Peninsula hunt probably belonged to packs that have caused problems for people.

Adam Bump of the state Department of Natural Resources tells The Associated Press that 17 of the 23 kills happened in locations within territories of packs with reputations for "conflicts" such as preying repeatedly on livestock.

Bump says those locations typically were within five miles of a farm or other place where conflicts occurred.

USFWS Midwest

It’s been a month since hunters took to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to hunt wolves.

So far, the wolves have been doing better than expected.  

Since the start of the hunt, only about 20 wolves have been killed. That's less than half of the 43 wolves state wildlife officials set as the goal to be killed in the hunt.   The hunt ends December 31st. 

Adam Bump is the Department of Natural Resources’ point man on wolves.  He admits he’s not sure why hunters have had more success bagging wolves in some parts of the U.P. than in other parts.

howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

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.

http://the-wolfs.webs.com/wolfspecies.htm

There could soon be dueling petition drives on opposite sides of the debate over wolf hunting in Michigan.

Next week, a coalition of Michigan hunting groups will ask the Board of State Canvassers to approve the wording of a petition for a new state law.

“The wolf hunting debate alerted us to the need for this type of decision making process,” says Drew YoungeDyke.   He’s with Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - At least 10 wolves have been killed during Michigan's wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Saturday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.

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Hunters have killed six wolves during the first three days of Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Unseasonably warm weather has played a part in the hunt so far.

Debbie Munson-Badini is a spokeswoman with the Department of Natural Resources.    She says snow in the forecast is good news for most hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

Nancy Warren

Opponents of this month’s scheduled wolf hunt are preparing for Friday’s start of the hunt.

The hunt will take place in three specific zones of the Upper Peninsula. State wildlife officials hope hunters will kill 43 wolves during the hunt. There are an estimated 658 wolves in the U.P.

Jill Fritz is the state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

“We’ll just continue to educate the public about this and make sure the people know that this entire wolf hunt that is happening is based on lies, deception and fear mongering,” says Fritz.

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

John Barnes, a reporter at MLive, described the reasons given for characterizing the push for a hunt in that way.

One falsehood he found was a quote given to Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources official last May.

Carmody wanted to know if the town of Ironwood, Michigan really was afraid of wolves, after State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) said the town was "living in fear" of the wolves.

Carmody spoke with Adam Bump, a Bear and Furbearer Speicialist with the MDNR. Here's what Bump said:

Bump now says he misspoke.

Michigan Radio tried to reach Bump for a comment, but he was not available to us.

During an interview on today's Stateside, John Barnes said Bump was confused during the interview.

"He was thinking about a separate incident that did not even occur in Michigan. It occurred in Denver. It had to do with a book he was reading, and he just tripped over his words, he says. And did not mean to infer that wolves are showing no fear of humans. In fact, we checked, and there's no such incident that has been recorded like that in the city of Ironwood. And Adam acknowledges that he made a mistake on that," said Barnes.

One farmer, many wolf kill reports

Barnes also writes about other problems with the argument for a hunt, including the fact that one farmer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula "accounted for more cattle killed and injured than all other farmers in the years the DNR reviewed."

UK Wolf Conservation Trust / Wikimedia

A new poll shows strong support for a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan’s gray wolves have rebounded from near extinction in the U.P.   Last winter, Michigan’s gray wolf population was estimated at 658.  But as the wolf population has grown, so have the number of attacks on livestock and household pets.

Next month, Michigan will hold a limited wolf hunt.

The hunt will take place in three specific zones of the U.P.  The zones have seen the most problems with wolves.  

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