The recently enacted "Wolf law," SB 288, is good news because science trumped emotion. This reaffirms the commitment by the people of this state to properly manage our wildlife resources.
Fortunately, we will not repeat the fiasco in which ill informed and uninformed voters, influenced by emotional anti-hunting propaganda, rejected a law that added Michigan to the list of 41 states that allow the hunting of mourning doves.
As for the claim that Michigan voters could forever be deprived of the right to decide on protecting wolves or other animals, that is the purpose of this legislation. The Legislature repealed acts and parts of acts by amending sections in accordance with the provisions of the constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 1996. It mandates that the Natural Resources Commission has the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and that they must be sound scientific management to the greatest extent practicable. What frustrates and infuriates the animal protectionists is that they were outfoxed at their own game. Senator Capserson's strategy was brilliant. Politicians don't operate in a vacuum. They must consider the wishes of a majority of their constituents if they want to by reelected. Tom's bill closed a loophole, where well funded out of state interests like the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, misused our initiative referendum process. Nothing scares demagogues like a principled opponent.
It appears that the bean counters in the DNR underestimated or failed to account for the impact of illegal kills, which seems to be significant. Most likely, that is the major reason why the population leveled off or declined slightly, according to DNR figures. When this agency fails to properly manage a species that has such a large impact on man's activities and economic interests, those affected will do the managing. People will only tolerate so many wolves.
Wolves should be hunted throughout the Upper Peninsula. Hunting pressure will gradually remove the boldest and most aggressive individuals and install in the animals a healthy respect for and fear of humans. They will learn to associate man and his activities with danger and keep their distance. That will reduce conflicts. Wolves are intelligent, resilient and adaptable. It is time to start managing the grey wolf like other game and furbearing animals.
It's called sustainable use.