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Thank you for reading these important updates about Michigan wolves. We appreciate your support as we educate, advocate and participate on behalf of wolves.
Thank you,
Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Director
In This Issue
Proposal G
Next Steps
Upcoming meetings
Other news
Show Your Support for Great Lakes Wolves
About Us

The planned Michigan wolf hunting and trapping season is not only controversial; it is difficult to follow just exactly what is happening.  Headlines such as, "Wolf hunt suspended" only add to the confusion. 


During the lame duck session, Michigan's Governor Snyder signed into law, Public Act 520, designating the wolf as a game animal. The Michigan Constitution allows for most new laws to be challenged through the veto referendum process.

A broad coalition, including the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Indian tribes, and approximately 2000 volunteers launched a referendum drive. Within 67 days, more than 255,000 signatures of registered Michigan voters were submitted to the Board of Canvassers for certification. Last week, the Secretary of State certified the petition and approved the referendum for the November 2014 ballot. This action suspends the implementation of Public Act 520 until voters can decide.

However, lawmakers found a way around the petition drive by passing a second law.  Governor Snyder signed Public Act 21 into effect May 8, 2013.  Under this law, the Natural Resource Commission can designate any species, except mourning doves, domestic animals, and livestock, as a game animal and authorize a hunting/trapping season for that species.

The analysis for the bill states, "the authority to designate game species should be extended to the NRC, whose orders are not subject to the Constitution's referendum provisions."



The purpose of Public Act 21 is to render the referendum process meaningless since decisions by the NRC cannot be challenged by a public vote.  But also, even though citizens will be allowed to vote whether Public Act 520 should be implemented, Public Act 21 circumvents Public Act 520 by granting the NRC the authority to move forward with a wolf hunting/trapping season.




Proposal G 

Photo: Jayne Belsky

Lawmakers argued that with their strong support of Proposal G, Michiganders expressed their desire for natural resource management decisions to be based on sound science. They also demonstrated a belief that the Natural Resources Commission is the appropriate body to make such decisions.  This resonates well with the public.


The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is a seven-member public body whose members are appointed by the Governor and subject to the advice and consent of the Senate


Ironically, Proposal G, which was passed by voters in 1996, grants the NRC the authority to regulate the taking of game.  Public Act 21 grants the NRC the authority to designate a species as game which is vastly different than the intent of Proposal G.


It raises the question, why is the referendum a good process for one issue and not another?  Further, Proposal G requires that the NRC use science only to the "greatest extent practicable." 


(L to R) Dr. Rolf Peterson, Dr. John Vucetich

The NRC, when deliberating about a wolf hunt, discounted the testimony Dr. Rolf Peterson and Dr. John Vucetich, two renowned Michigan Tech wolf researchers, yet invited an officer of Safari Club International and George Pauley, Wildlife Management Chief from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, to speak.   


The NRC voted 6-1 to establish a wolf hunting/trapping season. This includes the trapping of wolves on public lands, which was not recommended by DNR biologists but was added following a suggestion from the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association. This demonstrates the overwhelming control that trapping and trophy hunting groups hold over NRC decisions.    

Next Steps...    
Photo: USFWS, Midwest


We believe the vote of the people on the original referendum in November 2014  should be binding, and that the NRC and the Michigan legislature should heed the will of the state's citizenry.


It is possible that Public Act 21 will also be challenged through the referendum process.


However, the standing Attorney General opinion on the subject says that once a measure is placed on the ballot, the previous law is reinstated. It's not clear how that would work in this case, or if multiple laws on the same issue are put on the ballot.



Upcoming Meetings   



Photo: Wolves of Isle Royale, Michigan Tech University
Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Commission is pushing forward.  During their next monthly meeting, June 13th, they will discuss whether to name the wolf as a game species and finalize the decision and likely authorize the hunting trapping season at the July meeting.  If you would like to address the Commission with a public statement at the meetings, please contact Deb Whipple at 517-373-2352 to register.
  • June 13th - MSU Diagnostic Center, 4125 Beaumont Road, Lansing, MI 48910
  • July 11th -  MSU Diagnostic Center, 4125 Beaumont Road, Lansing, MI 

It is important that you begin sending comments to:

  1. Deb Whipple, executive assistant to the NRC: 517-373-2352
  2. Keith Creagh, Director of the DNR: 517-373-2329    

Suggested talking points:  

  • Urge the NRC to delay designating the wolf a game animal.  Public Act 21 is not just about wolves, it is an assault against the democratic process.
  • The NRC should not intervene and they should allow voters to decide whether the wolf should be hunted and trapped as a game species.



Other news.... 
Wolfwatcher Great Lakes Advocate
Jackie Winkowski


Three dogs were recently killed by wolves in three separate instances in the community of Atlantic Mine, just a few miles from the city of Hancock.  This is quite unusual considering last year eight of the nine dogs killed by wolves were pursuing game.


Two wolves have already been killed under permits issued to a landowner and the DNR is taking action to trap and kill other wolves in the vicinity.  The situation is tragic; however, it was made worse when it was reported by the DNR that the third dog was killed while chained in a fenced yard.


Wolfwatcher Adviser, Jackie Winkowski, sensing something suspicious, made calls and verified with the DNR that the dog was not in a fenced yard. Armed with this new information, she contacted the press.  ABC Ch. 10 issued an update and correction to the story.   


Kudos to Jackie for her persistence!


Show Your Support for Great Lakes Wolves    



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted wolves in the Western Great Lakes as of January, 2012, after multiple previous attempts to delist wolves were struck down by the courts over the course of the last decade.

The decision threatens the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining wolves to a small area in the Great Lakes region - where state wildlife managers have rushed forward with reckless programs that threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place.


Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us!  The purchase of Wolfwatcher's Great Lakes t-shirt will help to fund educational programs and advocacy campaigns in the region that promote peaceful coexistence with wolves and demonstrate our opposition to plans that are not based in science and the democratic principles that should guide decision-making.  



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National Wolfwatcher Coalition is a 501(c)(3)  

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on behalf of  

wolf education, conservation and advocacy.




We advocate for the long term recovery of wolves by informing the public about the challenges to their conservation, supporting measures that promote the acceptance of wolves on the landscape, and educating the public about ways it can participate as an effective voice for scientific decision making in their behalf.  All donations, no matter the amount, will help us to educate, advocate and participate via:

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