UPDATE 11/29/2012: The state Senate has passed a bill that declares the gray wolf a game species in Michigan. Under the legislation, state wildlife officials could establish a wolf hunting season. The measure now goes to the state House.
The state Senate is expected to vote as soon as Thursday on legislation that would declare the gray wolf a game species in Michigan. That would allow state wildlife officials to create a wolf hunting season.
It’s estimated there are several hundred wolves in the Upper Peninsula. In some cases, wolves have been found where people live.
“We’ve got them casually walking right into the city of Ironwood,” says state Senator Tom Casperson, a Republican from the Upper Peninsula. “People cite all kinds of reasons why, but clearly, there’s a – we believe an overpopulation of wolves in the western end of the U.P. is suffering because of it.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service killed eight wolves in Ironwood this past spring.
Jill Fritz, with the Humane Society of Michigan, says those problems are no reason to allow open hunting of wolves.
“They use very cruel methods – shooting, trapping, neck snares – and basically there’s no scientific justification for hunting wolves in our state. They were only recently delisted. There are laws already in place that allow for the lethal control of wolves that are already attacking your animals,” Fritz says.
The gray wolf was removed from the U.S. government’s endangered species list in January.
Supporters hope to have the legislation on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk before the end of the year.