A new ballot campaign seeks to overturn a state law that opens the door to a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will appear before a state elections board Thursday to get its petition approved for circulation.
“There are only 687 wolves in the U.P.,” says Jill Fritz, the Michigan director for the Humane Society and the leader of the petition drive. “They’re not causing anybody any harm. A rancher, or a farmer, or a hunter with dogs are able to shoot wolves that are attacking their animals. So there’s no reason to add a wolf-hunting season to that.”
The gray wolf was only recently removed from the endangered species list.
The challenge comes as wildlife officials are preparing their recommendations on whether to create a wolf-hunting season.
Wildlife officials say a wolf season could be a useful management tool to preempt problems. They’ve indicated any wolf seasons would likely be small and confined to portions of the western U.P.
“We have had consistent depredations over the years where wolves are preying on livestock,” says Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. “We have some occasional issues with wolves preying on hunting dogs, and we have had some human safety issues in some communities in the western U.P.”
Michigan voters overturned a law in 2006 that would have allowed mourning dove hunting.