Michigan House Bill 5834 was introduced Aug. 15, 2012, by Rep. Matt Huuki (who will be succeeded as 110th District Representative by Scott Dianda, who defeated him in the
Nov. 6 election). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation. A similar bill in the Michigan Senate, SB 1350, was introduced Oct. 17, 2012, by Senator Tom Casperson and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes.
Casperson's summary of SB 1350, completed today, Nov. 7, 2012, states that the bill intends to do the following:
- Include wolf in the definition of "game."
- Authorize the establishment of the first open season for wolf, and allow the Natural Resources Commission to establish annual wolf hunting seasons.
- Prohibit an individual from hunting wolf without a wolf hunting license, and establish a license fee of $100 for a resident and $500 for a nonresident.
- Make it a misdemeanor to illegally possess or take wolf, and prescribe penalties.
- Specify legislative findings regarding wildlife management.
In addition, KBIC has a draft Wolf Management Plan, which states that the wolf remains protected under KBIC's Endangered Species and Protected Animals Tribal Code 10.531. It provides a basic framework for future monitoring, research and management of the local wolves and expresses KBIC's commitment to future partnerships with other management agencies at the Federal, State, Tribal and Private levels.
According to this draft plan, "In the event that legislation is approved for a wolf hunt, KBIC will designate no hunting on Tribal lands in L’Anse, Baraga, Marquette and Ontonagon. KBIC will also refuse to accept any state allocated wolf hunt licenses and not provide any Tribal wolf hunt permits to community members. These measures will help to protect wolves and maintain a strong culturally based stance against the killing of wolves."
The management plan also summarizes the cultural significance of the wolf for the tribe: "KBIC Tribal community members have always been spiritually connected to the wolf. According to the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa People) creation story, original man and his brother, Ma'iingan (the wolf), traveled together to name and visit all plants, animals, and places on earth. Later they were instructed by the Creator to walk their separate paths but to experience similar social pressure of being feared, respected and misunderstood. What happens to the Anishinaabe will happen to the wolf by the people that would join them on earth (Benton-Banai 1988). As prophesied in this sacred history with the wolf, the support of tribal members remains essential to the long-term survival of wolves in the state."
The Conclusion of KBIC's draft Wolf Management Plan states, "KBIC will use science-based decisions in management of wolves on and around the Reservation. However, because of the special relationship that the Tribe has with wolves, it is imperative that science-based solutions do not conflict with cultural values. KBIC stands ready to ensure that the gray wolf (Ma’iingan) will exist here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the next seven generations and beyond."*
SB 1350 could come up for a vote as soon as tomorrow, Nov. 8, 2012.
Jessica Koski, KBIC tribal member, urges citizens concerned about wolf protection to contact their State Senator and the Michigan Senate Natural Resources Committee (Email: email@example.com) and ask them to please vote no on proposed Senate Bill 1350.
"Wolf related conflicts range in severity from perceived conflict (i.e. visual presence of a wolf) to actual aggressive or predatory behavior (i.e. witnessed predation of domestic animals on private property)," Koski says. "Wolves are not likely to attack any person who does not deliberately incite aggression (i.e. by provoking or feeding). Education efforts that increase awareness and understanding should be the number one tool used to minimize wolf-human conflict. There are alternative wolf management opportunities and non-lethal methods that could be used where threat of a wolf warrants action, as opposed to an open hunting season."
UPDATE: Click here to go to the KBIC Natural Resources Department and click on the most recent draft of the KBIC Wolf Management Plan.
Email Sen. Casperson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to send him your comments on his Web site.