Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – A coalition opposing wolf hunting in Michigan has launched a second petition drive aimed at banning the practice.
The group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is aiming to collect at least 225,000 signatures and submit them to the Secretary of State’s Office in March 2014 to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.
Director Jill Fritz says they don’t feel that will be a problem since they were able to gather more than 255,000 signatures in just 67 days to get their first referendum on the November 2014 ballot and suspended the state’s first wolf hunting law.
That effort was nullified when the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill authorizing the seven-member Natural Resources Commission to designate animals as game species without voter oversight. A regulatory committee’s action cannot be overturned by voter referendum. The second referendum is designed to repeal that law.
The NRC voted last month to designate wolves a game species in the state and allow a hunting season in the Upper Peninsula beginning in mid-November. The hunt will be limited to 43 wolves in three separate areas of the U.P. in an attempt to decrease population in those specific areas.
The DNR says there are an estimated 658 wolves in the Upper Peninsula.