LANSING – Opponents of a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula can claim a small victory in the battle over whether hunters should be allowed to kill the gray wolves.
There probably won’t be a wolf hunt this year.
will make it difficult for the Natural Resources Commission to schedule
a hunt this year, even if voters support the two laws that allow the
wolf hunt when they cast ballots on referendums on the laws in November.
NRC will have to wait until the election results are certified in mid-
to late-November, then it’ll have to set a 30-day public comment period
before it could schedule another hunt. By then, the 2014 hunting season
will be almost over. The NRC is meeting Thursday and likely will bring
up the issue.
But while the wolf hunt opponents may have won the battle, winning the war is getting more difficult by the day.
about the hunting of wolves in the Upper Peninsula has gone
particularly smoothly. Come November, voters will have a simple choice
on two ballot proposals concerning the hunt.
A yes vote on
Proposals 1 and 2 will maintain the wolf hunts in three sections of the
western Upper Peninsula. A no vote will repeal the two laws, but only
temporarily put a halt to the hunts.
The state Board of Canvassers
approved the ballot language on the two wolf hunt proposals Thursday
and designated them as Proposal 1 and 2 — referendums on the two laws
that were passed by the Legislature establishing the wolf hunts in 2012
But a third law was enacted last month after a group
supporting the wolf hunts gathered enough signatures to put the issue
before the Legislature. The Legislature, which had already passed two
pro-wolf hunt laws, followed suit and approved the third
citizen-initiated legislation, circumventing the first two wolf hunt
But that third wolf hunt law doesn’t go into
effect until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns in December —
effectively in March 2015. So, if the two laws are repealed by voters, a
wolf hunt allowed by the third law would be delayed until the 2015
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, which gathered
enough signatures twice to try and repeal the two laws passed by the
Legislature, opposes the wolf hunt and has promised to legally challenge
the third law. The group also said it will actively campaign to repeal
the first two laws. “It’s important for citizens to overturn the
two existing laws so that when the courts overturn the initiatives, the
wolves will be protected,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan
The Department of Natural Resources set a wolf
hunt for 2013 with a goal of killing up to 43 of the more than 650
wolves in the UP. Hunters killed 23 in the season, which ran from Nov.
15 through the end of December.