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Anti-wolf hunt campaign to challenge initiated law

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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 state elections board has approved ballot language for two referendums on state wolf hunting laws. 

Opponents of a wolf hunting season in Michigan say they will launch a full-throttled campaign to win the two questions on the November ballot. “No” votes would overturn two separate wolf hunting laws adopted by the Legislature. But another petition-initiated law recently adopted by the Legislature would allow wolf hunting once it takes effect in March. This third law aims to get around both referendums.

Jill Fritz is with the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign. She says that’s not the final word on the question.

“That issue will soon be in the hands of the courts. We think it’s unconstitutional. And it will not take effect until next spring. So, the courts will be handling that now, but, in the meantime, it’s important to overturn both laws designating the wolf as game.”  

Fritz says that and a court victory would restore Michigan’s ban on wolf hunting.

Drew YoungeDyke is with Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, the group behind the petition drive. He says they don’t intend to actively oppose the referendum questions.

“We’re not going to waste resources on this. The citizen initiative that was passed will take effect in March. What happens in November will really have no effect on whether or not there is a future wolf hunt.”

Michigan had one wolf hunt season last year after the animal was removed from the federal endangered species list. Twenty two wolves were killed.

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