Tom Casperson

Opinion
9:35 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Why hunt wolves?

Lessenberry commentary for 11/26/13

As you probably know by now, Michigan last year declared wolves a game animal, and, for the first time in more than 40 years, is allowing hunters to shoot them in some parts of the Upper Peninsula.

Hunting has become a controversial sport. But I don’t think I’ve seen any hunting issue as controversial as this year’s wolf hunt.

Jill Fritz, the Michigan state director of the Humane Society of the United States, is the informal leader of the anti-hunting forces, but she isn‘t alone. Professor John Vucetich, for example, a forest and environmental expert at Michigan Technological University, says flatly, “There is no scientific evidence to suggest that wolves need to be hunted.” He added, “It’s not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.”

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

At the end of this week, Michigan's controversial wolf hunt will begin

(file photo)
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.

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Environment & Science
12:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Wolf hunt licenses go on sale Saturday, while hunt opponents plan busy weekend too.

Wolf cubs
HSUS

Beginning tomorrow, Michigan hunters will start laying down $100 for a license to hunt wolves in the Upper Peninsula this fall.    

State wildlife officials admit they don’t know if the wolf hunt licenses will sell out.   The licenses will be available for hunters as young as 10 years old and from out of state. 

1,200 licenses are being sold for the wolf hunt which starts November 15.

It’s the first wolf hunt since the gray wolf rebounded from near extinction in the Upper Peninsula.   

But along with people buying wolf hunting licenses, there will be people working this weekend to protect the wolves.

Jill Fritz is with Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.  Her group is collecting signatures on a petition to put a challenge to the wolf hunt law on next year’s ballot.

“We’re encountering an enthusiastic public everywhere we go.  Whether we’re out in front of a library in Marquette or at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids,” says Fritz. 

The Department of Natural Resources has set a goal of killing 43 wolves in this fall’s hunt.  The hunt will take place in 3 separate zones in the Upper Peninsula.

Supporters say the U.P.’s growing wolf population is threatening livestock and household pets. Detractors complain the hunt will indiscriminately kill wolves and may make wolf attacks on livestock more common.

Politics & Government
8:58 am
Wed May 1, 2013

The week in Michigan politics: Senate candidates, wolf hunt and wraparound school grants

cncphotos flickr

The week in Michigan politics interview

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the race for the Senate seat left vacant by Carl Levin, legislation that would allow a wolf hunt despite a petition against it, and Governor Snyder's call for businesses to become more directly involved in schools.

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Politics & Government
8:46 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Commentary: Hunting wolves

Lessenberry commentary for 4/25/2013

I don’t know whether it makes sense to ever allow people to hunt wolves in the Upper Peninsula or not. Nor do I have any strong emotional feeling about this. 

Personally, I don’t see killing things that can’t fight back as a sport. But I have also, years ago, interviewed farmers and ranchers who lost livestock to wolves.

I’m not sure whether it would be more dangerous to be a pen with a wolf or in a room with one of those ranchers if you told him you wanted to outlaw his right to hunt down wolves.

Lots of people, however, do have very strong feelings about this, and about bills now before the legislature that would allow the government to say what species could be hunted.

Not only that, the bill now in the senate would cleverly take away the people’s right to ever repeal this bill, or to designate a protected species, as the voters did with mourning doves a few years ago. That strikes me as unethical and unfair.

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Stateside
4:40 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Setting aside land in Michigan for biodiversity? Casperson says 'check with us first'

The Manistee River flowing through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
USFS

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

The State Department of Natural Resources has been in the planning process of this idea to create what it calls Biodiversity Stewardship Areas.

These areas would include both state and private land.

All the stakeholders were on board in the early planning process - hunting groups, environmentalists - most everyone - until someone became alarmed because the plan could have potentially stopped human access to some areas.

Well, if you even hint that hunters or timber companies can’t have access, you’ve got a problem.

State Senator Tom Casperson (R- Escanaba) has introduced a bill that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from setting aside an area of land specifically for the purpose of maintaining biological diversity.

In part it reads:

THE DEPARTMENT, DIRECTOR, OR COMMISSION SHALL NOT PROMULGATE OR ENFORCE A RULE OR ISSUE OR ENFORCE AN ORDER UNDER THIS ACT THAT DESIGNATES OR CLASSIFIES AN AREA OF LAND SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACHIEVING OR MAINTAINING BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY...

According to Casperson, the MDNR should request approval for each proposal from the State Legislature.

“It’s not that they can’t do it, but it needs oversight,” Casperson said in an interview with Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham.

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The Environment Report
12:54 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Michigan DNR's ability to manage for biodiversity could be at risk

Forestland in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
user {inercia} Flickr

The state Senate passed a controversial bill this week.

Senate Bill 78 would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from setting aside an area of land specifically to maintain biological diversity. Basically, that means protecting the variety of plants and animals that live in an area.

Senator Tom Casperson sponsored the bill. He has argued that the DNR has too much authority to set aside land.

Here's what the bill would do (excerpted from the Senate Fiscal Agency floor summary):

--Prohibit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Commission from promulgating or enforcing a rule or an order that designates or classifies an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity.
-- Delete the conservation of biological diversity from the DNR's duties regarding forest management, and require the Department to balance its forest management activities with economic values.
-- Eliminate a requirement that the DNR manage forests in a manner that promotes restoration.
-- Provide that a State department or agency would not have to designate or classify an area of land specifically for the purpose of achieving or maintaining biological diversity.
-- Delete a legislative finding that most losses of biological diversity are the result of human activity.

Critics of the bill say it could tie the DNR’s hands.

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Roundup
7:39 am
Wed March 6, 2013

What's happening this morning? Detroit's response, anti-biodiversity bill, & Lansing casino stalls

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, March 6, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Detroit Council working on plan to counter emergency manager

The council will meet this morning. The Detroit News reports they want to hear more from Mayor Dave Bing:

The full panel plans to meet at 9 a.m. today to study its options for appealing Gov. Rick Snyder's determination that the city is in a financial emergency, paving the way for an emergency manager.

Council members have asked Bing to come to the table and said they may vote on a response to the governor by Thursday. The city has until Monday to appeal.

Bill aimed at stripping DNRs power to manage for biodiversity clears Senate

Senator Tom Casperson-R (Escanaba) has a victory. His bill, Senate Bill 78, would keep the Michigan Department of natural resources from setting aside land for the purpose of maintaining biological diversity. The Senate passed that bill along a party line vote. 26 Republicans for, 11 Democrats against. You can read more about this legislation from Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams.

Lansing casino project loses court decision

A federal judge has issued an injunction last night against the tribe that wants to build the casino - the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody has been following this story:

U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker granted the state's motion for an injunction pending resolution of the Attorney General's lawsuit. The judge says the tribe cannot apply to the federal government "to have the … property taken into trust unless and until it obtains a written revenue sharing agreement with the other federally-recognized Indian Tribes in Michigan."

Politics & Government
9:18 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Commentary: Saving our species

Here’s a little episode in Michigan history that you probably don’t know, and about which we have reason to be ashamed.

If you could take a time machine back to Petoskey in the spring 1878, you would have seen a stunning sight. An immense flock of passenger pigeons descended from the skies to form the world’s largest recorded wild pigeon roost.

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