Michigan Technological University professor emeritus and noted wolf researcher Rolf Peterson has joined a group of scientists who have signed a letter opposing the new Michigan law that will allow wolf hunting recently signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
While the letter focuses on the possibility of a wolf hunt, the bill also mandates fisheries to consider sound science, including a $1 million appropriation to fight against aquatic invasive species like Asian carp.
Scientists, including Peterson, state in the letter, “The reasons advanced for wolf hunting have been protection of human safety and livestock. There is no question about the importance of human safety and livestock. However, sound science clearly indicates that wolves are not a threat to human safety and that wolf hunting is not a sensible means of protecting either human safety or livestock, especially given the small number of livestock that are actually killed in a typical year in Michigan. Moreover, the best-available science indicates that alternative methods are effective for protecting livestock.”
The letter from the scientists goes on to state: “SB 1187 is antithetical to the most basic principles of wildlife management because wolf hunting in Michigan violates Proposal G (1996) and the North American model for wildlife conservation. … This model for wildlife conservation is held in high regard by many hunting organizations, (including) The Wildlife Society (the most important society of wildlife professionals in the United States) and by many state wildlife agencies, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.”
In addition to Peterson, the letter was signed by MTU Professor John A Vucetich, plus 39 other scientists from around the United States.
Supporting the new law wer the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan chapters of Safari Club International, the National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, U.P. Bear Houndsmen, Michigan Fox Hunters Association, Michigan State United Coon Hunters Association, Michigan Salmon and Steelhead Fishermen’s Association, Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, U.P. Whitetails, Inc. of Marquette County, Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club, Hammond Bay Area Anglers Association and the Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance.
“Looks like we are going to be able to keep wildlife management in the hands of wildlife managers and not just make it a popularity contest,” said MUCC Vice President George Lindquist.