Michigan voters rejected two statewide wolf hunting ballot proposals.
Voters were asked to decide two state laws that would allow the hunting of wolves in Michigan. An anti-hunting group known as Keep Michigan Wolves Protected gathered enough signatures to put the laws to referenda, asking voters to vote "no" on Proposal 14-1, the 2012 law, and Proposal 14-2, the 2013 law, which would oppose wolf hunting.
Wolf hunting supporters backed the laws but did not mount a campaign because the Legislature recently approved and Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law another piece of legislation allowing wolf hunting that will take effect in March. So they contend the votes on the ballot proposals are symbolic at best.
There was a wolf hunt held last fall under the 2013 law. It was the only such hunt in the last 75 years. Hunters killed 23 wolves, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The current law is suspended so there will be no wolves hunted this fall.
DNR spokesman Ed Golder said the issue is not about allowing people to hunt wolves for sport.
"The state's highly regarded Wolf Management Plan allowed that hunting could be used as one method of managing wolves," he said. "As described above, the hunt that was held in Michigan in 2013 was designed with specific goals in mind — reducing wolf-human conflicts, while also protecting Michigan's wolf population as a whole."
Melody Baetens contributed.