WildLife Wednesday: Wolves, Elk, Deer and Bear, Oh MI

Drew YoungeDyke, Field Manager
This past weekend, MUCC held its regional meetings for the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula, or pretty much everything "knuckles north." This is where clubs and individual members present their ideas for MUCC's policy on hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation issues. By the end of the weekend, there were five resolutions going to our Annual Convention where they'll be up for a final vote on whether or not MUCC should adopt them as our policy, which we have a pretty good track record of seeing into implementation in state law or regulation.
A young elk in the Pigeon River Country
A couple of these resolutions were implemented by the MUCC executive committee on an emergency basis because the issues they address could require action before our Annual Convention in June, but the rest are only proposals at this point and are not current MUCC policy; that will require a two-thirds vote at convention on any resolution that would require a law or regulation change. Passage at the regional meeting doesn't necessarily mean that the region supports the resolution, either; often resolutions are passed to convention because they're appropriate subject matter and should be voted up or down by the full statewide delegation at the Annual Convention.
From the Upper Peninsula (Region I), the following resolutions will be moving forward to the Annual Convention:
George Lindquist discusses his resolution Congressional de-listing of Great Lakes wolves George Lindquist discusses his resolution Congressional de-listing of Great Lakes wolves
1. Restoring State Management of the Gray Wolf in the Western Great Lakes
This resolution asks MUCC to call on the United States Congress to re-de-list wolves from the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It was submitted by Statewide Vice President George Lindquist and supported by the Ottawa Sportsmen's Club.
Wolves are recovered in these states; in Michigan alone, their last minimum winter count put their number over triple their original recovery goal of 200, which they've exceeded for over a decade. However, a lone federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered them back on the list in December based on the rule-making process used to de-list them. Similar federal legislation was passed in 2011 to reinstate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's order de-listing wolves in Montana and Idaho. Federal legislation is expected to be introduced tomorrow to de-list them in the western Great Lakes states, which MUCC supports.
This resolution was passed by the MUCC executive committee on an interim basis in January. By passing it at the Region I meeting, it affirms the region's support and it will move on to the convention where the full statewide delegation will vote to affirm it or not. In the meantime, it will be MUCC's policy.
Richard P. Smith submitted two resolutions Richard P. Smith submitted two resolutions
2. Support of Deer Baiting
This resolution was submitted by MUCC Life Member Richard P. Smith to remove MUCC's opposition to deer baiting, which was adopted at our 2007 convention. Current regulations allow for up to two gallons of bait in the non-TB area of the state. This resolution would require a two-thirds majority vote at the Annual Convention to become MUCC policy.
3. Increasing UP Bear License Quotas
This resolution was also submitted by MUCC Life Member Richard P. Smith. It would have MUCC encourage the DNR to raise bear license quotas by bear management unit in the Upper Peninsula. It would require a two-thirds vote at the summer convention in order to become MUCC policy. The DNR is recommending a reduction in bear license quotas in some U.P. bear units after consultation with the Michigan Bear Forum, which included individual bear hunters and bear hunting organizations, including the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, U.P. Bear Houndsmen, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan Bow Hunters and MUCC, among others.
Tim Kobasic submitted a resolution on ORV use in the Hiawatha National Forest Tim Kobasic submitted a resolution on ORV use in the Hiawatha National Forest
4. Support ATV/ORV/OHV Use in the Hiawatha National Forest
This resolution was submitted by MUCC Board Member Tim Kobasic on behalf of our newest affiliate club, the Hiawathaland Trails Association. It would have MUCC encourage national forest managers for the Hiawatha National Forest to consider utilizing trails and routes recommended by the Michigan DNR and trail sponsors, and also to consider adoption of a streamlined use permit process similar that that used by the State of Michigan, so that designated ORV routes are consistent as they pass through state to federal land, with appropriate allowances for restrictions necessary to accommodate wildlife like the Kirtland's warbler.
From the northern Lower Peninsula (Region II), we have the following resolution:
Paul Rose discusses the Elk Management resolution Paul Rose discusses the Elk Management resolution
1. Michigan Elk Management
This interim resolution was submitted by MUCC Past President Paul Rose and adopted by the executive committee in January. It will move on to the annual convention for confirmation, but remains official MUCC policy in the meantime. The resolution asks MUCC to continue support of the 2012 Elk Management Plan and to oppose efforts to provide preferential treatment for the issuance of elk tags based on land ownership or crop loss. The management plan calls for continuation of lottery-based hunting as the primary method of herd management.
As an MUCC member, whether or not these resolutions become policy is up to you. That's what makes us a true grassroots organization. Our professional staff knows how to get it done, but what we work to get done is up to our members. If you're a member of an affiliated conservation club, make sure that your club debates these resolutions and sends a delegate to vote for your club to our summer convention. Make sure you attend the Region III and IV meetings on the weekend of February 21 & 22 to submit and vote on resolutions if your club is in southern Michigan. If you're an individual  member (IM), make sure to vote in the poll that will be sent to you before convention so that your IM representative knows how the members in your region want him or her to vote. And if you're not a member, then join MUCC so that you have a say in what we advocate for, because we're pretty good at getting it done.
Decisions get made by those at the table, and those at the table are the ones who show up. If you're not a member of MUCC or an affiliated conservation club or organization, then you're missing out on the opportunity to guide the direction of the most powerful voice for hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation in the state. If you don't take the opportunity to participate now, then I don't want to hear you complain about what our policy is later. Join today!

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