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Wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula approved, opponents vow to fight on

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A state board authorized a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula on Thursday.

The decision comes after months of passionate debate.

Carol Smith is one of many people who urged the Natural Resources Commission to reject the proposed wolf hunt in the U.P.

“I really worry about our state’s legacy if we allow wolf hunting,” Smith told the commission.

But there were also people who urged approval of the hunt.  And in the end, the commission voted six to one to authorize it.

“You can tell by the amount of people who come to meetings like this…there’s a lot of people and a lot of interests,” says J. R. Richardson, the commission’s chairman,  “We’re looking forward to going forward.”]

A spokeswoman for a group opposed to the wolf hunt says they are not giving up their fight.

Ellie Hayes is with Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.     She says her group is disappointed by the decision to approve the wolf hunt. 

“We plan to continue with our referendum….We’re not finished fighting yet,” says Hayes. 

The referendum would be on Public Act 520.   That’s the state law passed last year that authorized the wolf hunt.  

But, Governor Snyder signed another law this week which circumvents the referendum effort by wolf hunt opponents.

The six week hunt is scheduled to start November 15th, coinciding with the opening of firearm deer season.  The hunt will be restricted to three specific zones in the Upper Peninsula.   State wildlife officials plan to issue more than a thousand licenses in hopes of killing 43 wolves.

Opponents fear the hunt will end up killing more than 43 wolves.   They also say the hunt will do nothing to decrease the number of wolf attacks on livestock and pets, which is the stated reason for the hunt.   The group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, maintains that the hunt may actually make the problem worse.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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