Editorial: Wolf hunting should continue
Wolf hunting has proved successful in Michigan. The Legislature should allow it to continue.
The Michigan Senate approved ongoing wolf hunts, and the House should do the same. The time frame is tight. The House must approve the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act when it meets in its final summer session Aug. 27. Waiting until the Legislature returns in the fall would be too late.
Representatives had 40 days from July 24 — the day state elections officials officially determined its backers collected enough petition signatures to force a vote — to either pass the legislation or let it go to a vote of the people on Nov. 4.
Approval by the Legislature would eliminate the need for the wolf hunting proposal to be on the ballot in November. Because it’s a proposal initiated by citizen signatures, Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature isn’t required, nor can he veto it.
Under the measure, the Natural Resources Commission, made up of citizens appointed by the governor and working with the Department of Natural Resources, is in charge of decisions about what animals will be hunted in Michigan.
Over the years, the DNR has expertly managed deer, elk, turkey and other wild game. So much so that Michigan sportsmen now enjoy some of the best hunting in the Midwest. Its management has ensured a plentiful supply of game while also guaranteeing that herd numbers remain stable. In some cases, the numbers of animals have increased, despite the harvest by hunters.
The pro-hunting ballot effort was put together by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, who argue state natural resources officials and game biologists should decide which animals are designated as game for hunting. Strong support for the measure comes from such reputable groups as the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
The fervor over wolf hunting is unwarranted. The animal is no longer an endangered species and has actually become a threat to livestock in certain parts of the state.
The DNR commission should set hunting policies — it’s done a good job, and should be allowed to keep doing it.