Laws aimed at opening the doors for wolf hunting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula were shot down earlier this week.
Despite growing wolf numbers all across the Upper Midwest, two new wolf hunting laws were rejected last night by Michigan voters.
The Michigan Natural Resource Commission had proposed the two laws with hopes that hunters could help control Michigan’s growing wolf population. While their aim was to reduce predatory attacks on livestock and discourage familiarity with humans, it remains to be seen how the vote will impact Michigan’s wolf management policy.
A third law that reaffirms the N.R.C’s authority to name game species and establish seasons is set to go into affect in the spring and the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has vowed to fight against it. Jill Fritz, campaign director for K.M.W.P, was quoted:
The people of Michigan don’t want the NRC setting a wolf hunting season, and they don’t want to give the NRC the authority to open new hunting seasons on protected species.
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Recovery efforts for the grey wolf are working, as seen in the steady population increase all over the region. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, for example, has an estimated 636 wolves, up from just six wolves in the 1970s. While other states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, have already implemented wolf hunting seasons as part of the management strategy, wolf hunting in Michigan remains a hot button issue.
While animal rights groups want to block the N.R.C’s authority to declare the wolf a “game species,” local hunting groups believe that the N.R.C, not the voters, has the authority to determine what animals are classified as a game species and therefore able to be hunted under regulations.