Act Now for Michigan Wolves!
September 15, 2012
The Michigan Wolf Management Plan
The Michigan Wolf Roundtable, consisting of 20 agencies/organization representing a diversity of Michigan interests including hunting, trapping, livestock producers, public safety, tourism, tribes and wolf education and protection groups, reached consensus in the development of the guiding principles of the Michigan Wolf Management Plan. This plan which was signed July 10, 2008 by DNR Director, Rebecca Humphries, strikes a balance between protecting the wolf and resolving conflicts. The plan strongly emphasizes the use of non-lethal controls, the valuable role of wolf education and the need for ongoing research.
Although members of the Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable reached consensus on every other issue, they did not reach agreement on whether a regulated wolf hunting/trapping season should be provided specifically for recreational or utilitarian purposes.
- There is no evidence to support the need for a recreational hunting season.
- A small vocal minority support the recreational hunting of wolves. A 2011 survey conducted in the 15 Upper Peninsula counties and 8 counties in the Northern Lower Peninsula showed strong support for wolves in Michigan. 65% of respondents support funding wolf management and monitoring through the sale of a license plate and 53% support expanding types of sporting goods taxed to fund wildlife restoration. Only hunters were asked if the wolf was designated a game species, would they purchase a hunting license, 59% responded no.
- As acknowledged by the Plan, the public harvest of wolves is biologically complex. The effects of a hunting season on a wolf population are determined by “a suite of factors, including population size, age and sex structure, immigration and emigration rates, birth rates, and natural and human-induced mortality rates.”
- Monies from a federal grant are available to assist landowners with non-lethal control of wolves.
- With the delisting of the wolf, the Michigan Wolf Management Plan can now be fully implemented including the issuance of landowner permits when non-lethal measures are ineffective.
- Legislation was enacted to allow livestock and pet owners to kill wolves in the act of attacking their livestock or dogs.
- Overall, wolf depredation in Michigan is low. Between 1996 & 2012, there have been less than 250 depredation events. Wolf-related conflicts are often caused by the behavior of a few individual wolves, and management at small scales can often address problems effectively.
- Livestock producers are compensated for verified losses caused by wolves.
- The Michigan DNR has a variety of tools available to manage wolf conflicts.
- Section 6.12.1, paragraph 2 of the plan states, “Some situations may warrant consideration of reducing wolf numbers in localized areas as a means to reduce the risk of negative interactions. Such consideration could be necessary if a high density 0f wolves in area, rather than the behavior of individual wolves, was determined to be responsible for problems that could not otherwise be addressed through non-lethal or individually directed lethal methods. As of this writing, a situation of this type has not occurred in Michigan.
Attention! Just Added to this Post: Please Read and SIGN this important PETITION for MICHIGAN’S WOLVES!
By Tuesday, 9/18, contact the members of the House Natural Resource Committee; urge them to vote no on HB 5834. Ask them to allow the approved Wolf Management Plan adequate time to be fully implemented before designating the wolf a game animal. You do not need to be a Michigan resident to comment. Wolves utilize national forests and belong to all of us.
NWC’s Official Statement:
House Committee Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation
Chair Frank Foster(R) 517-373-2629 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clerk Dave Mead 517 373 2013 email@example.com
Vice Chair Matt Huuki (R) 517 373 0850 MattHuuki@house.mi.gov
Wayne Schmidt (R) 517 373 1766 WayneSchmidt@house.mi.gov
Kurt Damrow (R) 517 373 0476 KurtDamrow@house.mi.gov
Holly Hughes (R) 517 373 3436 HollyHughes@house.mi.gov
Joel Johnson (R) 517 373 8962 JoelJohnson@house.mi.gov
Peter Pettalia (R) 517 373 0833 PeterPettalia@house.mi.gov
Harold Haugh (D) 517 373 0854 firstname.lastname@example.org
Maureen Stapleton (D) 517 373 1 008 email@example.com
Timothy Bledsoe (D) 517 373 0154 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dian Slavens (D) 517 373 2575 email@example.com
Link to the Bill HB 5834
On August 15, 2012, Representative Matt Huuki introduced HB 5834. This bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation and designates the wolf a game animal. The bill establishes the first open season for the wolf and sets the fee for a resident wolf hunting license at $100 ($500 for non-resident) and a non-refundable application fee not to exceed $4.00 for each person who applies.
The committee has a meeting scheduled for 9/19. The first notice stated that the agenda was “TO BE DETERMINED”, however, we learned through a contact with Representative Foster’s office that testimony would be taken on HB 5834. On Friday 9/14, a revised notice was issued:
Time: 8:30 AM
Place: Room 308, House Office Building, Lansing, MI
Agenda: HB 5673, HB 5674, HB 5675, HB 5676, HB 5897
To view text of the legislation go to: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/mileg.aspx?page=CommitteeBillRecord
Individuals who wish to bring written testimony need to supply a minimum of thirty copies for distribution.
Although HB 5834 is not on the agenda, the Chair can modify the agenda and add any bills for consideration and is only required to post notice 18 hours in advance. So, we may not know until late Tuesday afternoon whether HB 5834 will be on Wednesday’s agenda.
If not the 19th, it is just a matter of time that this bill will be taken up in committee.
Michigan legislature does not have the authority to establish rules and regulations for the hunting of game animals. In Michigan, the Commission of Natural Resources has the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and to the greatest extent practicable, utilize principles of sound scientific management in making decisions regarding the taking of game. There must also be a public meeting and an opportunity for public input.
DNR has stated publicly that they support the classification of the wolf as a game animal with a very limited hunting season, though no specific details have been released.