Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Updated: KBIC opposes legislation for wolf hunting season in Michigan

BARAGA -- The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) has expressed its opposition to recent Michigan House and Senate bill proposals which attempt to establish the gray wolf as a game species and authorize the establishment of the first open hunting season for wolf in Michigan.

Photo of gray wolf (Ma’iingan in Ojibwa), taken by a camera of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Department of Natural Resources. (Photo courtesy KBIC)

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.
Stating their intention to preserve the ecological balance of predator-prey and protect the sanctity of the wolf (Ma’iingan) for the Anishinaabe, KBIC passed a resolution (KB-1902-2012) on Nov. 1, 2012, concerning HB 5834 and opposing any change in the law that allows hunting and/or trapping of the gray wolf in Michigan.

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: lmichalak@senate.michigan.gov) 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 sentcasperson@senate.michigan.gov, or click here to send him your comments on his Web site.

6 comments:

Norm Mackey said...

"Specify legislative findings regarding wildlife management." - so they will override Proposal G's (1996) requirement that game be managed according to principles of sound scientific management?

Disgusting that people are hunting these few thousand big shy dogs for sport and pleasure. We don’t usually kill dogs in the US for pleasure and have the state take a cut of the dogfighting profits because we “have to” to pay for managing the 70-80 million domesticated ones, why tolerate it being done to these canines, with double-digit percent larger brains and some abilities to live free without human interference, merely to provide someone with a pelt or a rug symbolizing the grief and loss suffered by the other members of the pack? This has to be the epitome of bad taste - I wouldn't confront the killer, but if he should complain about Michael Vick's alleged acts or similar things I would not be able resist pointing out that they had done worse, and ask them how the family of wolves are currently doing without their "trophy" that once helped provide the others with food, protection, and companionship.

Keweenaw Now said...

Thanks for your comment, Mr. Mackey!

Norm Mackey said...

You are welcome!

Please note your wolf plan link result: The requested page "/sites/default/files/wolfplan_2012_KBICdraft.v3Oct.pdf" could not be found.

Keweenaw Now said...

Thanks again, Mr. Mackey! I just changed the link. It worked the other day but maybe it was revised. I hope it works for you now.

pjnankervis said...

Please note that the KBIC Draft Wolf Management Plan is updated weekly to include suggestions from those reviewing the document. Tribal Council has requested changes and so another version will be posted soon. You may want to let readers know to click on the Natural Resources Department Link in order to find updated versions of the Plan.

Keweenaw Now said...

Thanks. I've changed the link so readers can go to the KBIC Natural Resources Dept. page to find the link to the latest draft of the plan.