Gov. Snyder signs bill that names wolves game animal
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new measure signed by Governor Rick Snyder moves Michigan one step closer to a wolf hunting season, which some farmers have pushing for years.
Animal rights groups made a big push against the State Senate bill that would help allow wolf hunting, but they came up short.
Wolf protection groups lobbied lawmakers to kill the bill in the final days of lame duck session and ultimately Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill.
Despite the passage of the bill, you won't be able to hunt wolves in Michigan, just yet.
There are 636 gray wolves living in Michigan, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which means gray wolves are considered an endangered species.
Ed McBroom, a former state lawmaker and dairy farmer, says gray wolves are wreaking havoc on Michigan’s deer population and farmer's livelihoods.
He said, "You can't even protect your cattle. You can't even protect your pets. That's ridiculous."
We went to straight to the Michigan DNR who said farmers are helpless under current federal law.
Ed Golder, the Public Information Officer for the Michigan DNR, said, “Because the wolf is endangered, if a farmer sees a wolf going after his livestock, his cow or sheep, or if a hunter for the matter sees a wolf going after his hunting dog they can't do anything about it under this law.”
The state law allows the Natural Resources Commission to name the gray wolf a game species.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund said Governor Snyder wants an open season on wolves.
The way the bill is written prevents a ballot proposal turning back the clock.
The governor's spokesperson said that Snyder signed the bill because he believes in regulating hunting based on scientific decisions made by the Natural Resources Commission and that this approach will strengthen natural resources, while protecting residents and livestock.
McBroom said, “These are a part of the farmer's life and livelihood that get destroyed because we are refusing to just managed wolves like we manage other wildlife."
Despite the bill, no one will get to hunt wolves, which will take an act of congress because the gray wolf remains an endangered species.
In 2014, there was a court ruling that put the wolf on the endangered species list in Michigan and in Wisconsin. The Michigan DNR is a participant in the lawsuit to get that court ruling overturned.
The Michigan DNR is also supporting legislation that would return the wolf to state management rather than federal management.