LANSING - The Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee will hear testimony next week on establishing a hunting season for wolves in Michigan.
Senate Bill 1350 was introduced in early October by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba. The measure would designate wolves as a game animal and authorize the Natural Resources Commission to establish a game season. A similar measure, House Bill 5834, has also been introduced by Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine.
"Wolves have made a dramatic recovery in Michigan with a current population around 700 animals, with almost all of that population residing in the Central and Western U.P.," said Casperson. "Wolves need to be managed along with other species, and management strategies should include the option of a game season."
The hunt can legally be considered because wolves were removed from the endangered species list for the Great Lakes region at the beginning of the year. The move places wolf management under jurisdiction of the state of Michigan. Other states including Wisconsin and Minnesota have already established game seasons for wolves with their hunts occurring this Fall.
"With wolf numbers far exceeding population goals, I continue to hear of the impacts they are having on people's lives and businesses," Casperson said. "Residents across the Upper Peninsula have repeatedly asked for a game season to help control the wolf population, reduce livestock and pet depredation and enhance public safety.
"The Department of Natural Resources now agrees that a game season is needed as part of the approach to manage wolves. As season parameters are developed, I will help ensure that U.P. residents who actually live where the wolves are at are included and heard."
The Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee, chaired by Casperson, will convene on Thursday at 8 a.m. in Room 210 of the Farnum Building in Lansing, with simultaneous videoconferencing at Gogebic Community College, Room B21 of the Solin Business Center, E-4946 Jackson Road in Ironwood at 7 a.m. CST.
The meeting also will be streamed live on Senate television and can be viewed at senate.michigan.gov/tvschedule/tvlive.htm.