July 24–LANSING — A third wolf petition was unanimously approved by the state Board of Canvassers today and is headed to the state Legislature.
Supporters of the wolf hunt needed to collect 258,088 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management turned in 375,475 signatures and the Secretary of State found that 297,051 of those signatures were valid.
The Legislature has 40 days to either pass the initiative — which was spearheaded by a group supportive of the hunting of gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula — come up with a competing proposal, reject it, or do nothing.
If the Legislature passes the initiative, and they’ve already voted twice in the last two years to support a hunt, it automatically becomes law. If they reject it or do nothing, the initiative will appear on the November ballot along with two other anti-wolf hunting proposals which have already been approved for the ballot.
The Legislature is back in session on Aug. 13 and could bring the issue up then.
Activists opposed to the wolf hunt have turned in two petitions. After the first petition was turned in — which would repeal the first law passed by the Legislature in 2012 allowing for a wolf hunt — the Legislature passed another law which circumvented that petition.
The anti-wolf hunt forces turned in a second petition to repeal the second wolf hunt law passed by the Legislature. The third wolf hunt ballot question, which supports the hunt, is meant to pre-empt the second anti-wolf hunt petition.
The pro-wolf hunt initiative would give hunting-related decisions to the Natural Resources Commission, which has already approved and set a wolf hunt for three areas in the Upper Peninsula. The first wolf hunt was held in November and December and had a goal of killing 43 of the Upper Peninsula’s population of more than 650 wolves. The hunt resulted in 23 wolves being killed by hunters.
The anti-wolf hunt forces haven’t ruled out filing a lawsuit on the third petition.