2014-01-30 / Outdoors

Group circulates petition to preserve NRC powers

LANSING – The New Year brought the end of Michigan’s first regulated public wolf hunt with a total of 23 wolves taken by hunters, well below the maximum harvest quota of 43. Harvest limits and hunting unit boundaries were recommended by Michigan DNR biologists after reviewing wolf depredation complaints, incidents of fearless wolf behavior, radio collar data on pack territories, and scientific literature.

“The season showed that the state’s professional biologists can structure a conservative hunting season that helps achieve wildlife management goals without harming the population of game species,” said Merle Shepard, chair of CPWM.

The group is organizing a petition drive in support of a citizen-initiated law to protect the Natural Resources Commission’s ability to name game species, as well as to establish an Asian carp emergency response fund and provide free licenses to active military members. The group must collect 258,000 valid signatures by late May in order to present the law to the Legislature, which then has 40 days to pass it for it to become law.

Anti-hunting organizations led by the Humane Society of the United States are collecting signatures to repeal the original law that granted the NRC the authority to name game species. The law proposed by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, called the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act, would protect the NRC’s authority and clarify that the NRC can take testimony and recommendations from DNR biologists in support of its duty to use sound science, as they did to name wolves as a game species and establish a regulated hunting season.

“This initiative is about protecting hunting rights, stopping Asian carp, and providing free licenses to active military members,” said Drew YoungeDyke of CPWM. “If we don’t pass this law, then out-ofstate anti-hunters will dictate what species we can hunt by spending millions on misleading advertising. Those decisions should be based on the recommendations of professional wildlife biologists, not TV commercials.”

Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is a ballot committee composed of hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation organizations from across the State of Michigan. Local petitions are available to sign at: Top O’ Lake Sport Shop, Jack Pine Lodge, Big Springs Inn, Linda’s Bread Box, Zephyr and NAPA of Manistique.

Supporters of CPWM include Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance, Upper Peninsula Whitetails Association, U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Michigan chapters of Safari Club International, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Michigan Bow Hunters, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, U.P. Bear Houndsmen Association, the Michigan Council of Quality Deer Management Association, Great Lakes Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Mike Avery’s Outdoor Magazine, Wild Michigan Outdoor Radio, Michigan Outdoor News, numerous local conservation organizations and businesses from around the state, and individuals including former Detroit Tigers great Kirk Gibson and Michigan Out-of-Doors TV host Jimmy Gretzinger.

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