The Great Michigan Wolf Debate

IMG_0983LANSING, Mich. — For the fourth time in recent years, Michigan lawmakers are moving to authorize wolf hunting — this time after the state Court of Appeals recently declared a 2014 law unconstitutional.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved legislation Thursday that would define wolves as a game species and authorize the Natural Resources Commission to designate game, consistent with sound scientific wildlife management. The bill was sent to the GOP-led House, where a committee quickly approved it and set the stage for a final vote next week — the final one of the two-year term.

Wolf hunting is not allowed in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota under a 2014 federal judge’s ruling that threw out an Obama administration decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list. But the bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba, said the state should have a wolf-hunting law on the books in case Congress addresses the issue.

Michigan had a wolf hunt in 2013.

In 2014, Michigan voters rejected two laws allowing wolf hunts. But the votes were symbolic because majority Republicans had approved a third measure initiated by pro-hunting groups.

 I can understand some of what most Upper Peninsula hunters and sportsmen are saying concerning the reintroduction of wolves to the eco system!  In the area around Marquette where we hunt bear, wolves have been spotted (by us) and we have run across their tracks on occasion.  I say that because the landowners in the area have a long family history of deer camp/hunting.  The last few winters have been hard on the deer heard, but wolf depredation has also cut into the deer population.  So much so that one camp I know of has gone from 4-5 nice bucks a season to just one small spikehorn this year!  The only reason they harvested the spike is it was a grandsons first deer.
It seems to be like that over most of the territory the wolf roams!  They are stealthy killers and have done their share of damage on livestock and family pets. In my opinion the various wolf packs have to be kept in balance with the available food sources (deer) or more livestock and pets will be on their menu!  There is such a thing as “to much of a good thing!” The votes against a wolf hunt mainly come from “down staters” who do not deal with the complex issues of keeping the wolves within an acceptable range, managing the deer herd, livestock restitution payments, or distraught pet owners!  Let those in the Upper Peninsula decide this issue with out the emotional baggage of metropolitan voters downstate!

3 Responses to “The Great Michigan Wolf Debate”

  1. Hunting Sara says:

    Do you have any information about the wold population in that area? I read a bit about a similar situation in Europe where wolfs were pretty much extinct until a few years ago. Hunting them is strictly prohibited to protect the population until it’s grown healthy. What’s the situation like in Michigan?

  2. mikewansel says:

    back in 1974 it is estimated that Michigan had only 6 grey wolves roaming the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources deems the wolf population stable at 618 wolves. The one and only wolf hunt was in 2013 with a quota of 43 wolves, but only 22 were harvested. Michigan voters got in the act in 2014 and through an expensive advertising campaign has been able to stop any hunts since. It is interesting to note that every county in the Upper peninsula voted “for” a wolf hunt, but those downstate (far removed from the issue) are the ones that decided “hands off” the wolves!

  3. Hunting Sara says:

    Thanks for your reply Mike. Pretty interesting. Always enjoy reading about the whole conservation issues regarding hunting.