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Wolf hunt debate returns to the state capitol this week


The State Senate may vote this week on a proposal that could once again open the door to wolf hunting in Michigan.

Hunting groups collected enough petition signatures on a proposed law giving state wildlife officials total control on which animals will be hunted in Michigan.

Drew YoungeDyke is with Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He insists the hunting groups are not trying to outflank groups opposed to hunting wolves in Michigan.

“This is citizen initiative that from the beginning we were very clear with signers and all our materials that this was designed to go directly to the Legislature,” says YoungeDyke.

Two November ballot questions would repeal state laws authorizing wolf hunts.

Those ballots questions would be rendered moot if the legislature approves the pro-hunt legislation.

If the state senate does not pass the pro-wolf hunting bill on Wednesday, the proposal may also end up as a third question about the issue on the November ballot.

Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters during the state’s first wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. The number of wolves killed was well below the 43 state wildlife officials had set as a target.  

Opponents say the hunt is unnecessary and in fact may endanger the wolf population, which has only recently been removed from the endangered list.

Meanwhile, an official says four hunting dogs have died after two separate reported wolf attacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Debbie Munson-Badini tells MLive.com that the attacks were reported last week in Schoolcraft and Delta counties.

Bill Thome, owner of Kenbuck Resort in Schoolcraft County, near where the dogs were killed, says there have been multiple wolf sightings this summer. Earlier this month, in Dickinson County, MLive.com reports a wolf also killed a cow before a landowner killed the wolf.

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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