Thursday, April 11, 2013

Right to vote threatened by Michigan Senate Bill 288

Photo of wolf © Brandi Nichols and courtesy National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Reprinted with permission.

LANSING -- In a desperate move, State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced in Committee today Senate Bill 288 which, if signed into law, will prevent voters from having a say in what happens to Michigan wildlife.

In a 2006 referendum, Michigan voters overwhelmingly said "no" to the hunting of mourning doves. Last month, the signatures of 253,000 registered Michigan voters were submitted to the Secretary of State, requesting a similar referendum, opposing the designation of the wolf as a game animal.

"The referendum process is the right of citizens to vote to approve or reject new laws passed by legislature," according to Nancy Warren, U.P. resident and Great Lakes Regional Director, National Wolfwatcher Coalition.

Senate Bill 288 would allow the Natural Resources Commission -- an appointed, not elected, decision making body -- to designate any species a game animal and thus a hunted species which cannot be challenged by Michigan voters.

Warren said, "This bill removes the checks and balances currently in place and is an assault against the rights of Michigan citizens."

In a 5-2 vote, SB 288 was approved in Committee today and now moves to the full Senate.* Warren urges Michigan voters to contact their Michigan Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose SB 288. Don’t let your voice be silenced.

If you are not a Michigan resident, please pass this along to a Michigan voter!

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FOR OUT OF STATE WOLFWATCHERS -- If you are interested in being a voice for Michigan wolves, you can help by participating in the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected phone bank. Just send your name, phone number and email address to them and they will provide you with a list of call numbers. Email

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* Editor's Note: The Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes has 5 Republican members and 2 Democrats. State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), who introduced SB 288, is the chair of this committee. Click here for a Detroit News article on that committee's meeting today, Apr. 11.

1 comment:

Norm Mackey said...

So, now the 2013 wolf population count of 658 is announced publicly, about 4% LESS than two years ago when it was 687, when the curve was already flattening out. Bigger packs meaning fewer wolves. This is especially good news, presumably, for people who want few fawns to be eaten in the spring, the larger packs and whole population having few pups to feed. It was good to read in the DNR's wolf hunt proposal that the deer population is thriving where wolves are, though I disagree with the proposal.

So, Senator Casperson's haste had a reason. The wolves, fully protected unless they misbehave, are already controlling their own numbers, just as an apex predator has to, wolf packs getting bigger removing smaller packs and reproducing slowly, 1 litter per bigger pack.

There is a way to make more wolves, of course. Allow a sport hunt. This will reduce the size of the packs and let entire new packs - starting as breeding pairs, maximum breeding rate of 1 pack per two wolves - move into the opened territory the smaller packs free up. It is very simply running the natural wolf population control backwards.

Now, the only excuses left are killing wolves for trophies, pelts, hate, or to get public approbation and votes, so those wanting these will explode with vitriol. Science? Fat chance from them. The fact that the last year's wolf complaints from Ironwood, where they bait wolves into town by allowing feeding deer in city limits, dropped to 7 from 37 the year before and 31 the year before hasn't registered on state Senator Casperson? Or has he realized that it is destroying his hate propaganda? You be the judge.

Of course, left alone the wolf packs might grow to even larger average size, reduce their and their pups' impact on the prey supply even more, and who knows how low a wolf population the wolves might decide is natural and useful to them?