I attended the Oct. 10 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Iron Mountain.
There, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, an advocate for Michigan's wolf hunt beginning Nov. 15, presented an award to two DNR biologists for their work in planning the hunt.
Problem is, the wolf hunt is heavy on politics and light on science.
It should be common knowledge by now that absent a wolf hunt, Michigan's Wolf Management Plan, since January 2012, allows shooting a wolf/wolves where livestock depredation has taken place (via permit), or a wolf that's in the act of attacking a dog or livestock (no permit required).
Instead of rushing to enact a hunt, the NRC should have allowed time for this plan to work and be evaluated.
Many biologists support, and consider it most effective, to resolve wolf-related conflicts by targeting the wolves responsible.
Another major concern is that the NRC failed to include reasonable restrictions in the wolf hunt. No limits were placed on the amount of bait that can be used, or when baiting can begin. Game animals, namely deer, can be used as bait.
Elevated stands, predator calls, and howling to lure wolves are allowed.
One excuse given for authorizing the wolf hunt is "to instill fear" in wolves. How will that be accomplished, with unlimited, year-round baiting and the use of predator calls?
It is tragic that the killing of 43 of Michigan's wolves, through a hunt, has been sanctioned and will be celebrated this November and December.
It's disturbing that some think it will be fun to kill these intelligent, magnificent, socially-complex animals that have DNA practically identical to the family dog.
The 2013 wolf hunt would not have happened, if not for a power grab by our legislators, who passed SB 288 (PA 21 of 2013). Just what matters do our legislators and governor think voters have the intelligence, and right, to decide?
Hundreds of U.P. voters continue to be opposed to the wolf hunt.
They are joining the current statewide referendum effort, led by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, and signing petitions to reject Public Act 21 of 2013.
May this wolf hunt be Michigan's last.