Hunter becomes hunted if grey wolves delisted

Mike Allan/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry via AP Image ID : 19064623250706 This Feb. 28, 2019, photo provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. National Park Service and the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation shows an Ontario wolf captured at Michipicoten Island in Ontario, Canada.

HOUGHTON — Under current federal law, wolves can only be killed to protect human life.

That could change if the grey wolf is removed the the endangered species list.

“I think it will benefit us,” said Dave Bahrman, director of the Upper Peninsula district of the Michigan Farm Bureau. “It will make it so we have them as an animal that we can still admire and not have to worry about, as long as they’re not attacking our animals.”

Wolves in the western Great Lakes were federally delisted in 2011, returning management authority to the states. A federal court reversed the decision in 2014.

Before that, Michigan held one hunt in 2013, when 23 wolves were killed. Michigan votes overturned wolf hunting laws in 2014.

Ashley McLaren/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry via AP This Feb 27, 2019, photo provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the U.S. National Park Service and the National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation shows an Ontario wolf being processed at the handling station in Wawa, Ontario before being released to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

A Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) wolf management plan approved that year called for the KBIC to bar sport hunting or trapping within its area. The tribe sought to maintain the predator-prey balance and protect the sanctity of wolves, which the Ojibwe consider a sacred companion animal.

The KBIC Natural Resources Department could not be reached for comment Thursday.

After a state appeals court ruled Michigan’s wolf hunting law was unconstitutional in 2016, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law that winter that could allow the hunt to return if wolves are delisted.

The law would allow the state Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species.

In November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to remove endangered species protection in the lower 48 states. The measure did not pass the Senate before the end of the session.

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