Wolf Season: Coming Soon?August 20th, 2012
Before the ink was dry on the official (and final) delisting of gray wolves from the Endangered Species List, the question was asked: When will Michigan get a wolf season?
Well, the first step towards that was taken late last week.
House Bill 5834 was introduced Wednesday by Rep. Matt Huuki, a Republican from the Houghton area. The legislation, introduced less than a year after wolves were delisted, would establish the state’s first wolf hunting season.
The legislation will certainly create controversy and a ton of misinformation. In fact, it already has.
A story in the Lansing State Journal stated that the “legislation is likely to face opposition from conservation groups . . .”
Actually, it won’t. See, true conservation groups believe in conservation. The definition of which, of course, is the wise, sustainable use of natural resources. And Michigan’s wolf population is a natural resource. Hunting is one of conservation’s pillars. Without hunting and hunters, conservation would be in big trouble.
The groups that will oppose the wolf hunt aren’t conservation groups at all. They are preservation groups. Organizations that believe man has no place in the natural world. Or worse, the opposing organizations are anti-hunting groups hiding behind the veil of conservation in an effort to raise huge amounts of money to foster their own personal agendas.
Huuki’s bill would give the Natural Resources Commission control over the wolf season. I don’t see any scenario where wolf tags would be available over the counter. The quota will be fairly small and tags limited, which means a license lottery will be held. And I suspect that the number of applicants will be high.
The season has the potential to be a terrific fundraiser for conservation and would go a long way towards making wolves more welcome in the state. The fact is, the vast majority of game animals that are hunted have benefited tremendously from it. Wild turkeys, deer and elk are just a few examples. Once a species is designated as a game animal and a hunting season is held, true wildlife management begins. The populations are monitored and studied. Additional funding comes into play.
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is one of this nation’s greatest success stories and it’s time for that model to be applied to Michigan’s wolf population. And hunting is a very much a part of that model.