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Wolf hunt one step closer in Michigan, bill on its way to Snyder

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The wolf population in Michigan is now being controlled by the state. In Minnesota, officials are considering a hunting season.

Legislation that could allow a limited wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula cleared the state House Wednesday, and is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder.

The grey wolf was recently removed from the federal endangered species list.

State Representative Jeff Irwin is a Democrat from Ann Arbor. He was one of the “no” votes.

“This is an animal that just came off the endangered species list. The populations are not even healthy or even abundant, and I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about shooting wolves in northern Michigan,” Irwin said.

It would be up to the state Natural Resources Commission to decide whether to allow wolf hunting, and to set the rules of a hunting season.

Some people in U.P. communities say wolves are wandering into populated areas, attacking pets and livestock, and getting into trash.

Republican state Representative Matt Huuki is from the western U.P.

“This does not guarantee a wolf hunt. This is making them a game animal, so now the Natural Resources Commission can do the study with scientific data to make sure that they’re going to do it responsibly. It’s going to be regional. There won’t be a wolf hunt over the whole state of Michigan. That wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense because, obviously, there’s not a whole lot of wolves below the Mackinac Bridge,” said Huuki.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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