Dec. 02–LANSING — A pro-hunting coalition got the go-ahead this morning to launch a petition drive that would halt two ballot proposals aimed at stopping gray wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula in future years.
The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of a petition today that was submitted by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, which wants the Natural Resources Commission to be the sole decider of what animals can be hunted.
If the group collects at least 258,088 valid signatures in six months, it hopes to submit the petition to the state Legislature. If lawmakers approved the petition, it would automatically become law. If they did nothing or rejected the issue, it would go to a statewide vote in November 2014.
If the measure ends up on the ballot, it would compete with two other hunting proposals being spearheaded by opponents of the wolf hunt. Those proposals would repeal the two laws that gave the green light to the hunt of 43 wolves in the Upper Peninsula, which began on Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 31. So far, the Department of Natural Resources reports 17 wolves have been killed.
Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is a coalition of hunting groups, the National Rifle Association and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Jeff Timmer, a spokesman for the group, said they’ll begin collecting signatures immediately and could used paid circulators to collect the signatures.
The Keep the Wolves Protected group, which opposes the wolf hunt, already has gotten one of its petition drives on the November 2014 ballot, but the Legislature passed another law to circumvent that proposal. The anti-wolf hunt group is currently collecting signatures to repeal the second law passed by the Legislature.