LANSING, 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.