Jul. 26, 2014 |
state Legislature has a reputation for not just cherry-picking battles,
but choosing winners and losers, as well. We still hold out hope,
however, that lawmakers will do the right thing and sit out the pitched
battle over the hunting of wolves in the Upper Peninsula.
Board of Canvassers on Thursday unanimously approved a third wolf
petition for the November election, teeing up an opportunity for
lawmakers to nullify two other proposals already on the ballot.
third ballot proposal comes courtesy of Citizens for Professional
Wildlife Management, which turned in nearly 300,000 valid signatures,
easily surpassing the required 258,088.
Legislature has 40 days either to pass the initiative, come up with a
competing proposal, reject it, or do nothing. This is one case in which
doing nothing, which our Legislature has been known to do on far more
pressing issues, is the only decent alternative.
the Legislature to pass the initiative — and it’s already voted twice
in the past two years to support a wolf hunt — it automatically becomes
law. If they reject it or do nothing, the initiative will appear on the
November ballot along with two other anti-wolf hunting proposals that
have already been approved for the ballot, leaving the whole issue up to
big fans of making policy through ballot initiatives — a blunt
instrument that rises and falls less on substance or merit than it does
on emotion, and few issues are more emotional — and polarizing — than
the debate over wolf management.
it’s unseemly — and undemocratic — for an elected body to so blatantly
ignore the will of its citizens, particularly absent a compelling public
interest that might justify taking an unpopular stand.
speaking, we do not oppose the hunting of gray wolves. Those who do
have legitimate objections about the haste in which the Legislature
cleared the way for A hunt, basing its decision not on science but on
the discredited ravings of a few zealots whom it seems would like
nothing better than to see the gray wolf again disappear.
Neither are we impressed, however, with anti-hunting crowd’s vitriol
toward those they disparagingly refer to as “trophy hunters,” as though
the only legitimate hunters were those who did so for sustenance and
some spiritual connection to our lost wilderness.
management isn’t romantic nor, for many, is hunting, but hunters play
an integral role in the states’ management of the wild, and those
states, including Michigan, have an excellent track record of managing
other formerly rare species such as deer, elk, mountain lions and black
bears. What's more, wildlife management experts and biologists
understand that wolves are good for the ecosystem and are highly
motivated to see the species succeed. So are we.
hunting. A far greater threat to the future of the gray wolf in North
America is the vicious cultural war that puts this beautiful predator
species — demonized by myth and ignorance — in the middle of a zero-sum
game that marginalizes efforts to educate the public and create
Republican-controlled Legislature’s zeal to appease a vocal minority —
even if it means circumventing voters — only fuels that war.
is no imperative — no pressing public interest — to establish a wolf
hunt, certainly not against the will of the majority of Michigan voters,
all of whom share an equal stake in the preservation of our natural
If lawmakers give a lick about the rights of its citizens and the democratic process, they will let voters decide this issue.