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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

RMEF Backs Effort to Maintain Michigan Wolf Hunt

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is among a coalition of conservation and hunting groups known as the Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM) that just submitted 374,130 petition signatures to stop an effort to ban Michigan’s wolf hunt. CPWM submitted the signatures to support the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act which reaffirms the ability of the Michigan Natural Resources Council to designate the wolf as a game species and establish a hunting season.

RMEF, which has more than 5,000 members in Michigan, donated $25,000 over the last two years to assist the effort supporting the science-based state management of wolves. There are an estimated 636 wolves in Michigan. Hunters killed 22 wolves during the 45-day hunt that began on November 15, 2013. 

“This initiative will not guarantee a wolf hunt; it will only guarantee that the decision about whether or not to have another wolf hunt, and other hunting and fishing decisions, are based on scientific data and the recommendations of professional biologists,” said Merle Shepard, CPWM chair.

Jeff Powell checks his wolf into the DNR station at Wakefield, Michigan,
in November of 2013.  (Cory Morse | MLive.com)
“The hunt offers managers another tool to resolve wolf-human conflicts, and it can be implemented in an ecologically and biologically safe and appropriate manner,” Adam Bump, bear and furbearer specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resource, told Mlive.com. “The use of new and innovative programs -- especially those that limit the overall impact to wolf populations -- represents the sound application of science and the best balance among the diverse views of Michigan residents.”

Opposing the hunt and the ballot effort is a group funded largely by the Humane Society of the United States, an out-of-state anti-hunting animal rights organization. 

“The out-of-state special interests who oppose our efforts fail to understand what most residents of the Upper Peninsula and 67 percent of Michigan residents overall do – that in some parts of the UP, wolves are killing pets and livestock and entering our communities, without fear, and that sound science should determine the bounds of conservation and protection against such species,” said Senator Tom Casperson. “Management of Michigan wildlife should not be dictated by anti-hunting organizations that care more about raising money than they do about Michigan residents who must live with the policies the radical organizations support.”

If the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certifies the signatures, the state legislature would have 40 days to approve the measure, come up with a different one or place the issue on the statewide November ballot. If voted into law, the measure would nullify any anti-hunting efforts by animal rights groups seeking to overturn it.

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