Wolf hunting opponents declared victory Tuesday night in Michigan, where voters rejected two separate laws that paved the way for an inaugural season last year.
While the victory was decisive, the impact remains unclear.
To the Journal editor: I am voting no on Proposals 1 and 2 for many reasons.
Michigan has fewer than 650 wolves, only recently removed from the Endangered Species List. It's already legal to kill wolves threatening livestock or dogs. Following a loss, landowners can be issued permits authorizing hunters/trappers to kill wolves.
THE PROPOSALS: Michigan Proposal 1 and Proposal 2 are both referendums on two separate laws. The first law designated wolves as a game species and authorized hunting seasons. The second law gave those same powers to the Natural Resources Commission, which approved the state’s first ever hunt last year. More >>
The future of Michigan wolves is in the voters' hands
On this year’s ballot, the only state-wide proposals that are listed deal with the topic of wolf hunting in Michigan.
In 2013, over 255,000 Michigan voters signed a petition to oppose a wolf hunt and put the issue on the 2014 ballot. Instead, a law passed silencing their voices.
A commission of political appointees would make decisions based on half-truths and misinformation to justify a trophy hunt. Even the Department of Natural Resource’s Wolf Digest states “a wolf attack on a human being has never been documented in Michigan.”
To the Journal editor:
Proponents of wolf hunting in Michigan haven’t made their case for the two statewide ballot proposals. They talk in terms of protecting farmers in the UP. But hunting predatory wolves is already legal. They say a hunting season is needed so that wolves get the message to stay away, but there’s very little evidence that works.
The grey wolf was taken off the federal list of protected species in 2012, having recovered from being nearly hunted to extinction by the mid-twentieth century. A year later, the state of Michigan held its first grey wolf hunt and a total of 22 wolves were killed, about half the permitted quota for the season.
The midterm elections are next week, and they include a number of important ballot proposals, including ones in Michigan that can save wolves from being hunted and let voters decide how animals are treated.