To the Editor:
According to the DNR, they are considering another wolf hunt. Why not. It is their responsibility to manage, and the only cost effective way of doing so, is regulated hunting and trapping.
DNR Director Keith Creah correctly pointed out that trapping is controversial; which is probably the reason why the 2013 wolf hunt didn't include trapping. It is also a legitimate method of take. So what if it is not socially acceptable to some people. This is wildlife management, not social science.
An important precedent was set several years ago, when at the request of trappers, the Natural Resources Commission opened up the northern Lower Peninsula to Bobcat trapping. In response, organized dog groups sued to stop this season, claiming that the Bobcat population couldn't sustain the added harvest pressure. The real reason is that they didn't want to share the resource. The DNR prevailed in court and the bobcat season was reinstated.
This Appeals Court decision supported a management perogative that all legitimate user groups should have equal access to the resource. That is referred to as a resource allocation. As long as the regulations are fair and provide for equal opportunity, it's the right thing to do.
Why not for wolves? The department should accomodate both hunters and trappers. The reason they didn't reach their goals last fall, is that they didn't allow trapping.
It seems, that with controversial issues, the DNR resorts to political expediency. As a result, they cling to flawed reasoning and impractical implementation. This management prescription has had unintended consequences. In otherwords, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
One subject missing from this debate, is that aside from intrinsic worth, most game species have economic value. Those that do, have advocates willing to spend time, money and effort on their behalf. For example, Whitetail Deer have a lot of supporters.
The wolf is a furbearer and trophy animal. Potentially, hunters, trappers and the guiding industry have a stake in their welfare. That benefits people and businesses in rural areas.
Hunting and trapping are under siege all over the country. Sound science is the only effective way we have to defend against political and legal challenges like the ballot fight we face in the fall.
Science is the justificationfor regulations that are based on sustainable use - a concept Michigan voters decisively supported in 1996.