Legislation that could allow a limited wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula cleared the state House during this last week of the lame duck session. The Legislature has adjourned for the year.
It’s now up to Governor Rick Snyder to sign the bill into law.
“This is an animal that just came off the endangered species list,” says state Representative Jeff Irwin. The Democrat from Ann Arbor voted against the change. “The (wolf) 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.”
“This does not guarantee a wolf hunt,” says proponent Matt Huuki, a representative from the western U.P. “This is making them a game animal, so now the Natural Resources Commission can do the study with scientific data to make sure that they’re going to do it responsibly.
“It’s going to be regional,” he continues. “There won’t be a wolf hunt over the whole state of Michigan. That wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense because, obviously, there’s not a whole lot of wolves below the Mackinac Bridge.”
State wildlife officials say wolf hunts would probably be very limited to deal with local issues – such as wolves chasing pets and livestock, or wandering into heavily populated areas.