Wolves have been protected in Michigan for almost 50 years, after being hunted to the brink of extinction. Even after four decades of protection, there are fewer than 650 wolves in the entire state. However, despite the population’s fragile status, some Michigan politicians have rushed to open a trophy hunting season for wolves—opening the door for the same practices that virtually wiped out the wolf population in the first place.
A TROPHY HUNT IS CRUEL AND UNNECESSARY.
Farmers, ranchers and other landowners in Michigan are already allowed to kill wolves to protect their livestock or dogs. Though cases of wolves killing livestock are rare, state law gives property owners the legal authority to protect their livestock. Ranchers are compensated for any livestock losses from wolves. Indiscriminate wolf hunting and trapping would accomplish nothing and would not solve the rare conflicts between property owners and wolves.
NO ONE EATS WOLVES. A WOLF HUNT IN MICHIGAN WOULD BE ALL ABOUT TROPHIES – PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
People do not hunt wolves for food. Allowing the recreational hunting and trapping of wolves is just an attempt by politicians to cater to special interest groups who want a wolf trophy displayed in their living room. We Michiganders value our wolves and do not want to see them slaughtered for pointless trophies.
A TROPHY HUNTING SEASON MAY SUBJECT WOLVES TO EXTREMELY CRUEL, UNSPORTING PRACTICES.
Wolves are often killed using the cruelest and most unsporting methods, including shooting them over bait and using painful steel-jawed leghold traps or snares, in which animals can suffer for hours or even days before being shot or bludgeoned to death. Due to intense public scrutiny and political pressure, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission changed the rules for the 2013 wolf hunt to exclude trapping. However, there is no reason to believe that if this hunt were to continue trapping would not be reinstated.
THE PUBLIC IS SAFE.
There has never been a recorded wolf attack on a human in Michigan. Wolves are afraid of people and do all they can to avoid them. We should not let irrational fear of wolves drive the trophy hunting and trapping of these majestic creatures./p>
WOLVES ARE AN INVALUABLE PART OF MICHIGAN’S ECOSYSTEM.
The Upper Peninsula is a special place—nature at its best. Natural predators like wolves play a significant role in the Upper Peninsula ecosystem by reducing densities of deer, beavers, and other species. Their presence can bring benefits to agriculture, public safety, water quality, and ecosystem health.
THERE IS NO SOUND SCIENCE TO JUSTIFY ANY WOLF HUNT.
Michigan is fortunate to be home to two of the world’s most renowned wolf experts, Drs. Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, who have both submitted detailed scientific reports debunking the justification for a wolf hunt. Unfortunately, politicians and the Natural Resources Commission (a seven-member body of political appointees) recklessly discounted those reports and instead focused on misinformation, myths, fear-mongering, and hysteria. Proponents of a wolf hunt have yet to produce any scientific evidence to support it.
AN EGREGIOUS POWER GRAB
In March of 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted over 250,000 signatures to the Secretary of State to refer a recently-passed law designating the wolf as a game species to a vote of the people. Though this effort was successful and that law was placed on hold pending the November 2014 vote, the legislature, backed by powerful trophy hunting lobbying groups, contemptuously moved to silence the voters. Just two weeks after those signatures were submitted, the legislature introduced and quickly passed a second law, allowing the unelected Natural Resources Commission to name almost any animal to the list of game species without any voter oversight. Not long after that new law took effect, the Natural Resources Commission named the wolf a game species once again, circumventing the citizen vote. But we are fighting back.
NO MORE CHECKS AND BALANCES
The power granted to the unelected Natural Resources Commission (NRC) was previously held only by the legislature, and as such, voters had a voice to make change. Michiganders had the right to lobby the legislature, lobby the Governor and, if the law still passed, the voters had the right to fix that mistake by conducting a referendum petition and referring the law to a vote of the people. Unfortunately, since the legislature granted the NRC the power to designate a species as game, Michigan voters are unable to reverse that decision because it is an act of a regulatory body and not the legislature. This was an appalling move to subvert a democratic process that Michiganders have long held to voice their opinion on wildlife management.
“SCIENTIFIC WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT”?
Authorizing the NRC to list animals as game species will not contribute to a more thorough scientific analysis of wildlife management. None of the seven politically-appointed commissioners have an advanced degree in wildlife management. Instead of relying on input from two of Michigan’s world-renowned wolf experts, both of whom oppose hunting wolves in Michigan, the NRC instead solicited input from big game/trophy hunting organizations like Safari Club International and Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association to promote a proposal to begin the trophy hunting of wolves. The NRC also relies on testimony from the “experts” with the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), but even that has been called into question. For example, DNR Furbearer Specialist Adam Bump has admitted to fabricating a terrifying tale during a radio interview about wolves staring at homeowners through their sliding glass doors and exhibiting no fear. The bottom line is that the Natural Resources Commission is a political body, not a scientific one.
VOTERS DESERVE A VOICE FOR WILDLIFE IN MICHIGAN
Michigan voters deserve to have a voice in how our wildlife is managed. We can’t rely on politicians and bureaucrats to make decisions without voter oversight. We need checks and balances to ensure that our wildlife, which is held in the public trust, will be managed with the best available science.
Fortunately, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is working toward restoring those checks and balances: In the spring of 2014, we successfully placed a referendum of that second law on the ballot, too. So this November there will be two issues before voters Proposal 1, asking if the wolf should be named a game species, and Proposal 2, asking if the NRC should have the power to name any animal, including the wolf, to the list of game species. We must vote NO on both Proposals to restore protections to wolves and the rights of voters to have a meaningful say on wildlife issues.