The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected group gathered enough signatures to put a proposal before voters to overturn a state law allowing gray wolf hunting on the state’s Upper Peninsula.
The ballot proposal is the second that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, The Detroit Free Press reports. The group backing the proposal collected 182,732 valid signatures to get the issue on the ballot, more than 21,000 beyond the 161,305 needed.
The question before voters will be whether a law allowing wolf hunting passed by the Legislature in 2012 should be repealed. Voters will be asked to decide another and possibly a third question regarding the controversial sport, which can involve using steel-jawed leghold traps.
In early 2013, the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected group presented a signature with nearly 230,000 signatures for a Nov. 5 referendum to overturn Public Act 250, a bill designating wolves as a game species and authorizing the Natural Resources Commission to establish an open season. The legislation was approved in a lame duck session of the 2012 Michigan Legislature.
After the signatures were gathered, the Legislature passed Public Act 21 of 2013, which allows the Natural Resources Commission to add animals to list of game species that can be hunted. Michigan voters are unable to reverse those decisions because they are made by a regulatory agency instead of a legislative body.
The other ballot question asks voters if they want to repeal Public Act 21.
A possible third ballot question supports the wolf hunt. Supporters are still gathering signatures for a ballot issue that would authorize the Legislature and the NRC to designate game species. If it garnered more votes than the other two wolf petitions, the anti-wolf results would be negated.
The group circulating that petition – Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management – has until May 28 to gather the 258,088 signatures it needs. The proposal can go to the Legislature, where it can automatically become law with sufficient support. Without it, it would go to the ballot.
All this raises the question:
- Do you support wolf hunting on the Upper Peninsula? Take our poll and tell us what you think in the comments below.