MARQUETTE - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Friday it plans to hold a series of public meetings across the state next month to provide information on gray wolf management and receive public input on a wolf hunt.
In December, a bill passed the state Legislature reclassifying wolves as a game species and authorizing a wolf hunt.
Any such hunt and its provisions would be determined by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, which is expected to discuss the idea throughout the coming year.
In response to the new law, a petition drive was launched to try to get the measure before voters. The intent of the referendum by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is to reverse the provisions of the new law.
The dates, times and locations for the meetings have not been determined yet.
In addition, the Michigan Wolf Management Advisory Council will meet later this month in St. Ignace.
The session, which is open to the public, will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Little Bear Arena at 275 Marquette St. in St. Ignace.
The Wolf Management Advisory Council - previously known as the Wolf Forum - was included under the new law, which directed the panel to report its recommendations on wolf management annually to the Legislature and the NRC.
Members of the council, set by statute, are gathered from a diverse range of organizations with an interest in wolves and wolf management, including hunting, conservation, tribal government, agriculture and animal advocacy.
At the Feb. 19 meeting, staff from the DNR Wildlife Division will gather input from council members regarding future wolf management activities, including the use of hunting to manage and resolve conflict issues. The 2008 Wolf Management Plan will serve as the guide for these discussions, officials said.
DNR officials said the public is welcome to observe the council's discussions and will have the opportunity to provide written comments at the meeting.
For more information about the meeting, contact the council's DNR liaison Adam Bump at 517-373-1263. To learn more about Michigan's wolf population and Wolf Management Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/wolves.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.