MARQUETTE - A Senate committee hearing on establishing a wolf hunting season in Michigan will be streamed live Thursday morning.
The Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee will hear testimony on establishing a hunting season for wolves in Michigan. The committee's chairman is state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, who introduced a senate bill (S.B. 1350) in October that would designate wolves game animals and authorize the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to establish a hunting season.
"Wolves have made a dramatic recovery in Michigan with a current population around 700 animals, with almost all of that population residing in the central and western Upper Peninsula," Casperson said in a news release. "Wolves need to be managed along with other species and management strategies should include the option of a game season."
A House bill (H.B. 5834) similar to Casperson's was introduced by state Rep. Matt Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine.
Casperson said the possible hunt can legally be considered because wolves were removed from the endangered species list for the Great Lakes Region at the beginning of the year. The move places wolf management under jurisdiction of the states. Other states, including Wisconsin and Minnesota, established hunting seasons for wolves this fall.
The Wisconsin season opened Oct. 15. As of Monday, the Wisconsin Department of natural Resources reported 59 wolves had been killed from a quota of 116 set across six hunting zones. The Minnesota hunt opened Saturday and 66 wolves had been killed as of Monday, from a harvest target of 200, according to the Minnesota DNR.
Hunting for wolves in Minnesota is being conducted across three geographic zones. Hunting was closed in the east-central zone, which had the smallest wolf quota of nine animals.
"With wolf numbers far-exceeding population goals, I continue to hear of the impacts they are having on people's lives and businesses," Casperson said. "Residents across the Upper Peninsula have repeatedly asked for a game season to help control the wolf population, reduce livestock and pet depredation and enhance public safety."
The committee will convene at 8 a.m. Thursday in Room 210 of the Farnum Building in Lansing, with simultaneous videoconferencing at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood at 7 a.m. CST. The meeting also will be streamed live on Senate television and can be viewed at senate.michigan.gov/tvschedule/tvlive.htm
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.