By Glen Wunderlich
Lansing, Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- When Michigan voters head to the polls this November, they’ll have an opportunity to vote for principle – and, principle only – as two particular referendums have already been rendered moot.
The reason is that the Michigan House of Representatives passed the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act with a bipartisan vote of 65-43.
This in turn means the seemingly endless wolf hunt controversy is settled and the Department of Natural Resources’ biologists will be able to establish hunting seasons based on science.
Looking back to year 1996, when Proposal G was overwhelmingly approved by a 70-percent margin, Michiganders actually believed science would dictate how we would manage wildlife. Proposal G was a referendum on Public Act 377 of 1996, which amended the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to grant the Natural Resources Commission exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game in this state. The amendment also required the Commission, to the greatest extent practicable, to use principles of sound scientific management in making decisions regarding the taking of game.
Ah, but if enough emotion and money could be leveraged into the mix, anti-hunters found a way to override the intent of Proposal G through referendums designed to trump science in favor of hype. Not anymore!
Sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a Washington, D.C.-based anti-hunting organization, the referendums aimed to repeal two bills that would have allowed a regulated hunting season for wolves in certain areas of the Upper Peninsula where wolves have killed pets and livestock. Because the initiative contains an appropriation ($1 million to protect fisheries from aquatic invasive species), it is not subject to a third referendum by HSUS or its front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.
After the language was adopted, Michigan United Conservatin Clubs’ Drew YoungeDyke was asked if MUCC or Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management planned to campaign for a “yes” vote on the referendums.
“We’re not going to waste resources on it,” he said. “No matter what happens in November, there’s not going to be a 2014 wolf hunt because there isn’t time for the DNR to scientifically craft a season structure for it. And no matter what happens in November, there will be a hunting season in 2015, 2016 and every year thereafter as long as it continues to be supported by sound science.”
Jill Fritz, Michigan director for the Humane Society of the United States and director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, told reporters that they would campaign heavily for a “no” vote on Proposals 1 and 2, including television advertisements. The Humane Society’s Legislative Fund spent $750,000 on “media” for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected in late July, according to campaign finance reports.
She also told reporters that they planned to sue to block the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, although it has not been made clear on what grounds.
Said Representative Jon Bumbstead (R-Newago), “This is about more than wolves. It’s about protecting the rights of our constituents to hunt and fish by managing our fish and wildlife with sound science.”
It’s also about keeping the noses of out-of-state extremists out of our business, just like we thought we were doing 18 years ago.
About Glen Wunderlich Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the third weekend of September each year.