Pro-hunting group says lawsuit indicates that anti-hunters lack in-state support
LANSING— The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)-financed front group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP) is suing the State of Michigan to allow out-of-state petition gatherers as the anti-hunting group tries to repeal a law that provides free hunting and fishing licences for active military members and authorizes the bipartisan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to designate game species and issue fisheries orders using sound science.
“The anti-hunters wouldn’t be suing the state to allow out-of-state circulators if they had the support of Michigan citizens,” said Drew YoungeDyke, spokesman for Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM), which is circulating a competing petition for a citizen-initiated law that would protect free military licenses, the NRC’s ability to name game species and issue fisheries orders, and establish a $1 million rapid response fund to fight Asian carp and other aquatic invasive species.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has received over $800,000 from the Humane Society of the United States since November. Their current referendum drive to repeal Public Act 21 of 2013 is their second referendum in an attempt to ban wolf hunting, even though the Michigan Wolf Management Plan allows for hunting to address wolf-human conflicts, and Michigan’s professional biologists structured a limited hunt that targeted wolves from problem packs. Their lawsuit alleges that Michigan’s law violates federal law because it prevents a Florida woman from being paid to circulate petitions in Michigan. Under current law, only Michigan residents may circulate petitions, paid or unpaid.
“Why should people from Florida or Washington, D.C. be able to overrule Michigan’s professional biologists and force their radical agenda on Michigan citizens, especially those of us in the U.P. who actually live around wolves, who actually lose pets, hunting dogs and cattle to them, and who have them running through our backyards and circling our treestands?” said Tony Demboski, president of the Upper Peninsula Sportmens’s Alliance.
“Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Michigan citizens support making fish and wildlife management decisions with sound science, not emotional propaganda,” said Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “This is just another attempt by radical out-of-state animal rights activists to force their agenda on the people of Michigan. It’s obvious that they don’t respect Michigan’s laws, citizens or wildlife.”
Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is a coalition of Michigan-based conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping organizations. They need to collect over 258,000 valid signatures by the end of May to place their citizen initiative, called the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, before the state legislature, which will have 40 days to vote on the initiated law. Michigan citizens who want to collect signatures for the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act can request petitions by emailing email@example.com.