To the Journal editor:
As referenced in the Dec. 1 Mining Journal and information being shared statewide, Senator Casperson discusses the Ironwood, Michigan, gray wolves as if they still exist and are a problem.
Eight wolves that frequented the city of Ironwood in pursuit of deer and residents' garbage but threatened no one, were killed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services personnel between March 5 and April 5.
The push to quickly legalize hunting of Michigan's gray wolves (SB 1350/HR 5834) is especially disappointing in light of the comprehensive management plan already in place. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has the authority to remove wolves responsible for depredation as well as issue landowner permits.
Livestock producers and dog owners are authorized to kill a wolf in the act of attacking their livestock or dog. Livestock producers are compensated for losses. Funding is available for non-lethal measures to minimize depredations.
There is no evidence that Michigan's still-fragile wolf population is decimating the deer herd. Research indicates that by eliminating the sick, injured and weak, the deer herd is strengthened. And wolves might eliminate diseases such as chronic wasting disease.
Related but lesser-known Senate Bill 996, currently being considered by the house, will allow for payment to livestock producers for losses with simply a notarized statement from the owner that, "One or more animals are missing and eligible for indemnification."
SB 996 implies that the owner will make his own determination; verify his own alleged predator-caused loss, and is not even required to submit photos to support the claim.
This unnecessary bill will cost the state money and create an atmosphere for fraud and deception at taxpayer expense.