Proponents of scientific wildlife management are collecting signatures to again put this issue on the ballot. That became imperative because anti-hunters, particularly the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are trying to stop wolf hunts. Their first ballot attempt last year was defeated by legislation that included an appropriation to implement it. That effectively stopped them in their tracks because appropriations are not subject to the initiative referendum process.
Since then, they gathered enough signatures to put another anti-wolf hunt initiative on the 2014 election ballot.
Thus, the purpose of our latest efforts, is to put a competing proposal on the ballot supporting scientific wildlife management.
Anti-hunters claim that we are trying to prevent voters from making wildlife management decisions. Proposal G, which puts the lie to that claim, was approved by the voters in 1996 by a margin of 71 percent to 29 percent. It mandates that wildlife be managed using sound science to the greatest extent practicable and was a response to Proposal D to ban bear hunting.
Proposal D was defeated by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent. Our efforts to put a competing initiative on the 2014 ballot, is to give voters a choice, which also puts the lie to their claim.
The HSUS makes it clear that their ultimate goal is to end all animal use. Nearly all of the money for this anti-hunting campaign comes from out of state; most of which is from the HSUS. A significant portion of their $160 million-plus annual income is used for anti-hunting ballot initiatives.
They were emboldened by their success in 2008, when they convinced voters to ban dove hunting in Michigan. Likewise, they perceive wolf hunting to be vulnerable to an emotional anti-hunting campaign. If they are successful, they will come after something else. Count on it.
Wildlife management is a science. That’s why colleges and universities teach courses on and award degrees in wildlife management. Because the average citizen lacks this specialized knowledge and expertise, legislatures delegate this authority to state wildlife agencies.
That is not to say that they don’t make mistakes, but by and large, they usually get it right. The abomination that is their wolf management plan, is a glaring exception. Still, I’d rather have the DNR making these decisions than an uninformed and misinformed body politic influenced by dishonest anti-hunting propaganda.