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Referendum campaign will try to block wolf hunts

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

A ballot campaign will launch this week to overturn a new law that allows the state to establish wolf hunting seasons in the Upper Peninsula.

The campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will appear before a state elections board on Thursday to get its petition approved for circulation.

Jill Fritz is the Michigan director for the Humane Society and the leader of the petition drive. She said the gray wolf was only recently removed from the endangered species list.

“There are only 687 wolves in the U.P. They’re not causing anybody any harm. A rancher, or a farmer, or a hunter with dogs are able to shoot wolves that are attacking their animals, so there’s no reason to add a wolf-hunting season to that,” Fritz said.

Wildlife officials say a wolf season could be a useful management tool to preempt problems. They’ve indicated any wolf seasons would likely be small and confined to portions of the western U.P.

Michigan voters overturned a law in 2006 that would have allowed mourning dove hunting.

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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