by Matt Evans. Legislative Manager for Michigan United Conservation Clubs
As most of you cheerfully send your kids back to school today, I feel as though it is important to begin debunking some of the lies that have been in the media the last few days regarding a potential 2014 wolf hunt. But first things first, thank you to all of the sportsmen & women of this great state who made the passage of the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA) a possibility last week!
Now I know most of you are thinking, didn’t we just beat HSUS last week with the passage of the SFWCA? And the answer is yes, we overwhelmingly beat them less than a week ago! However, HSUS has already begun to spread lies after their loss. I wish I could say I was surprised, however the way they have conducted themselves in Michigan has made me realize that they will stop at nothing to earn a few dollars, no matter how dishonest they have to be to get it. The same goes for the folks at Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, who have been duped into being the HSUS mouth piece in Michigan.
Mere hours after the Michigan House of Representatives passed the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA), HSUS and keep Michigan wolves protected began spreading two important lies that need to be debunked. First is that the SFWCA guaranteed a 2014 wolf hunt and that despite its passage they will be able to beat us by blocking a wolf hunt for 2014. And second is that our citizen initiated law was somehow unconstitutional. Now I’ll be honest, these two items have me scratching my head for a few reasons.
Despite what HSUS says and what many media outlets have printed, the SFWCA did not guarantee a wolf hunt for 2014. What it did do was guarantee the Natural Resources Commission’s ability to regulate game & fish seasons through the use of sound science and management practices. In fact, the SFWCA does not take effect until 90 days after the legislatures last session day for 2014, which will likely be sometime in March of 2015. To suggest this Act guaranteed a 2014 hunt is ignorant and laughable and any media outlet who prints otherwise should be ashamed.
In addition, HSUS is claiming that they will turn out voters in November to block a 2014 hunt from happening. I say, let them do it and I say this for two reasons. First, the SFWCA will render those two ballot initiatives moot as soon as it takes effect. Like I said earlier, this will not happen until March of 2015 but it still renders them irrelevant regardless of the timing. And second, even if the SFWCA had received immediate effect and been enacted immediately last week, I do not believe that would have been enough time for a 2014 hunting season to have been decided on. The DNR biologists need time to study the data before making recommendations. Asking them to do that at an accelerated pace does not bode well for any of Michigan’s game species, let alone the wolf.
As for the unconstitutional talking point, anyone who has read Article II, Section 9 of the Michigan Constitution can clearly read the answer to that false claim. To suggest otherwise is nothing more than a blatant lie.
So as we all listen to the HSUS lies and read some of the terrible media coverage on the SFWCA, please keep this in mind. The SFWCA does not legally take effect until March of 2015 and the two items on the ballot box for this November; well they don’t matter for two reasons. First, the SFWCA will render those moot as soon as the 90 days is up. And second, we are not trying to rush another hunt because we want that decision to be made using science. To rush it or rubber stamp it would go against everything MUCC has been saying for the last three years on this issue.
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