In Dec. 2012, The Michigan legislature approved a bill, which was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, to designate the wolf as a game species and authorize the Natural Resources Commission to establish a wolf hunting season.
A petition drive has been launched to qualify for the November 2014 ballot and stop trophy hunting of wolves
Wolf hunting may involve especially cruel and unfair practices, such as painful steel-jawed leghold traps, hunting over bait, and even using packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves.
Now a coalition of animal welfare, conservation groups, and Native American tribes is launching a referendum campaign to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, the ballot committee, intends to gather 225,000 signatures of Michigan voters by late March to qualify for the ballot.
Grassroots events are scheduled to be held across the state in the next few weeks to recruit volunteer signature gatherers. The group has also launched this website for volunteers and voters: KeepWolvesProtected.com.
Organizing events are being planned in the next few weeks including the following cities:
· Grand Rapids – Jan. 19, 11 a.m., Grand Rapids Public Library, 2025 Leonard St. NE
· Traverse City – Jan. 19, 6:30 p.m., Park Place Hotel, 300 East State Street
· Marquette – Jan. 20, 4 p.m., Peter While Public Library, 217 N. Front St.
· Saginaw – Jan. 21, 7 p.m., Ramada Inn & Suites, 3325 Davenport Ave.
· Lansing – Jan. 22, 7 p.m., Radisson Hotel, 111 N. Grand Ave.
· Kalamazoo – Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St.
· Flint – Jan. 24, 6 p.m., Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley St.
· Ann Arbor – Jan. 25, 7 p.m., Ann Arbor District Library, 3333 Traverwood Dr.
· Detroit – TBA
“Wolves have been protected in Michigan for nearly 50 years,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for The Humane Society of the United States and director for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “With fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan, it’s not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.”
It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that attack livestock or dogs, making a trophy hunting season unnecessary. People don’t eat wolves, and they would be killed just for fun and trophies. Trophy hunting and fur trapping of this still-recovering species is premature, inhumane, and unnecessary.
"There is no scientific evidence to suggest that wolves need to be hunted,” said John Vucetich, associate professor of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, and director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project. “It's not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.”
“Kalamazoo Humane Society has always opposed gratuitous and inhumane killing of animals,” said Aaron Winters, executive director for Kalamazoo Humane Society. “That’s why we strongly back this referendum to prevent the use of cruel and reckless trapping and trophy hunting of the small population of wolves in our state.”
“The wolf is valuable to the ecosystem,” said Jackie Winkowski, owner of Snowy Plains Kennel, a sled dog business in Marquette. “It’s senseless to ruin the outdoor experience for people who enjoy the beauty of nature, in favor of a segment of the population that enjoys killing for trophies.”
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is supported by the Barry County Humane Society, Dearborn Animal Shelter, Kalamazoo Humane Society, The Humane Society of the United States and other groups. The new coalition is building its endorsements and other official supporters will be announced soon.