State Senate panel debates wolf council bill
State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, thinks only U.P. residents should advise the group making the wolf hunting decision.
LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Upper Michigan is home to the state’s entire wolf population, according to the Michigan DNR.
The debate over a wolf hunting season has been ongoing after the animal population rebounded to nearly 700 over the last 30 years.
State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, thinks only U.P. residents should advise the group making the wolf hunting decision. A Senate committee heard testimony on McBroom’s proposal Wednesday.
“Members, I have brought up a bill I have introduced myself,” said McBroom. “Senate Bill 486, you might know that there is a Wolf Management Advisory Council. The panel is made up of persons representing various interests in wolf management.”
The wolf council advises the State Natural Resources Commission as it decides wolf management policy. The council has a director and five people who represent various interests such as tribal and agricultural perspectives.
McBroom said it’s problematic for the council to only have one Yooper.
Attorneys for Animals Representative Bee Friedlander opposed McBroom’s bill.
She said limiting the council to U.P. residents would counter the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that’s been in place for over a century.
“To properly use the model, it’s necessary to consider public opinion,” said Friedlander. “Public opinion means just that. All of the public.”
McBroom suggested the Lower Peninsula should not have a voice on the wolf council right now.
“It would simply change this board to being populated by all persons from the Upper Peninsula unless wolves are discovered downstate,” said McBroom.
“This bill would privilege the opinion of one segment of the state,” countered Friedlander.
The committee voted 4-1, and the bill now goes to the full Senate for further debate.
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