Michigan voters Tuesday clearly backed not hunting wolves in Michigan, but wolf hunt supporters say the votes mean little, as a hunt has been authorized for March.
One measure removed the wolf from the state endangered list and classified it as a game species. The other empowered the appointed Natural Resources Commission to decide whether wolves should be hunted. The outcome of Tuesday's election voids both laws. But the Legislature passed yet another wolf hunt bill this summer that remains in effect.
Nancy Gibson of the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota says the wolf continues to be controversial but populations have been growing....
"....what is interesting is that in Michigan and Wisconsin, the recovery level of wolves was supposed to be 50 animals. Now in Michigan there has been somewhere between 600-700. So that's a real victory for wolves. If you leave them alone, give them some food they can reproduce and do quite well...."
Gibson says once the abstract arguments are put aside, the reality of the animal comes into clearer focus...
"....the wolves came over from Minnesota, moved through Wisconsin into Michigan. There they have found a fairly good home. They really do add some balance to the eco-systems...."
There was a wolf hunt held in Michigan last fall under the 2013 law. It was the only such hunt in the last 75 years. Michigan DNR sources said hunters killed 23 wolves.
The Wisconsin DNR set a wolf quota for this year's hunt at 156 animals. A website devoted to the hunt says 133 have been taken to date.
More information is on the website wolf.org