Let experts make wildlife decisions, not out-of-staters

When it comes time to make decisions, we prefer using sound scientific research, not emotion.
Feb 24, 2014


That’s why we have a problem with the lawsuit filed against the State of Michigan by the anti-hunting group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

The lawsuit wants to allow out-of-state petition-gatherers to contribute to the group’s efforts to stop the recently added Michigan wolf hunt.

Two things stand out about the lawsuit:

• First, it suggests that Keep Michigan Wolves Protected lacks the support it needs in Michigan, and has to go elsewhere to find those ready to rally to its cause.

• Secondly, why should the public — especially the public from other states —decide whether or not a wolf hunt is feasible in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?

A year ago, Michigan’s lawmakers handed the responsibility of setting hunting seasons to the state’s Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission.

These groups are made up of scientists who, to the best of their ability, attempt to manage Michigan’s wildlife by opening up hunting seasons when animals are plentiful and curbing the number of permits handed out when numbers of various species are down.

It’s not a perfect system, of course. But in our eyes, we’d rather have experts with our state’s natural resources at heart making decisions — not a bunch of out-of-staters who probably don’t know the difference between Marquette and Muskegon.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.


Former Grandhavenite

Why should a church in Michigan have any say over whether same-sex couples can get married in California? Why should an Oklahoma-based oil refiner get to decide what the corporate income tax rate should be in Michigan? Why should Dick DeVos have any influence over whether or not I'm allowed to join a union in my state? Why should the Attorney General of Michigan have a position on whether or not someone can smoke weed in Boulder, CO?

I agree with the editorial board on the wolf issue but there's a long tradition of outside groups trying to change state and local policies for better and for worse. The motives of outsiders probably deserve more scrutiny compared to those of locals who have a more natural connection to an issue.


Where to start....Ok why is SAFARI INT on the MI WOLF CONTROL BOARD are they homegrown...why did the House,Senate and GOV take control of which animals can be hunted out of the peoples hands and into politicians????First thing you better ask yourself is why less than 3% of the people carry so much political power to deny the other 97% ...and why oh why don't you remember your own article... Nov 7, 2013 - A Michigan senator apologized Thursday for putting false information ... sighting of wolves outside a day care center in his resolution urging Congress......short term memory loss by this paper and these fine people Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand


To answer your first question...Safari Club International is an international organization made up of chapters all over the United States. In Michigan, there are at least 11 local chapters with hundreds of members who live in Michigan. These chapters donate thousands of $$$s each year to help the DNR do the necessary work of protecting habitat and animals. They have members who volunteer to serve in advisory capacities on numerous conservation committees. They have dones this for YEARS!

See here:


and here:


These members have a vested interest in conservation, moreso than the average citizen as the donate countless hours towards achieving scientifically proven methods for maintaining healthy populations of game and non-game animals.

We don't poll residents on which medical proceedure your doctor should use on you. Why should we poll on how a predatory animal is controlled?


Its like a man arrested for child molestation being tried by a jury loaded with child molesters .........GET IT ... SAFARI INT is a hunting club ...they shouldn't be allowed to represent but a very small portion of MI population


You asked if SCI was "home grown" and my response provides the answer. Yes, in fact, they are. Your Logical Fallacy regarding child molesters and those you oppose is duly noted.

But to indulge you in the fallacy, the reasons hunters are involved in these decisions is the same reason the brain surgeon is involved in decisions regarding brain surgery. Would you rather have him involved in your decision, or the guy who cleans the hospital toilets?


This editorial is totally off-base. For one thing, if this lawsuit is successful, it will have absolutely no impact on the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign as the deadline for the petitions is in just a few weeks. Why should the public from other states have a voice? For starters, wolves (and other wildlife) belong to everyone as a public trust. Wolves use federal lands, national refuges supported with federal tax dollars. Not one member of the NRC has a natural resources background and are not required to use sound science.


Ummmm.....this is pathetic tribune board. Do you do any research at all?

Your emphasis on "out of state members of the public" is absurd. Regarding current petitions, out of state members of the public would have their signatures tossed out.

The NRC board now charged with wildlife decisions has but ONE scientist. That ONE scientist disagreed and voted against the wolf becoming a game animal. Politicians NOT scientists are driving this train.

Make that politicians who lie (shock). Lawmakers, including the senator from the UP have admitted to lying about the wolf in order to promote their agenda of killing the wolf for sport.

Adam Bump from the DNR - also caught lying about the wolf in order to be allowed to kill.

The FWS in a number of states is undergoing an internal investigation for creating and promoting falsified science in regard to the grey wolf.

And finally, why one earth would you want a panel of politicians, save the ONE scientist, deciding which animals can be hunted.

Those decisions belong to the people.


Senator says his wolf story was untrue http://www.grandhaventribune.com...

A Michigan senator apologized Thursday for putting false information about the sighting of wolves outside a day care center in his resolution urging Congress to strip gray wolves of endangered species protections.

AP Wire


Nov 8, 2013

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, acknowledged on the Senate floor that his 2011 resolution included fiction.

"I was mistaken, I am accountable, and I am sorry," Casperson said. "Words matter. Accuracy matters. Especially here, with a topic that is so emotional and is so important to so many, especially those whose way of life is being changed in my district."


this is no different than when the out of state groups helped get the voter-passed ban on the use of race-conscious admissions by Michigan's public colleges law passed. People were in a uproar then about out of state groups interfering with Michigans laws. All Keep Michigan Wolves Protected groups is an anti hunting group from Lansing. The only wildlife they ever see down there is when the college kids riot. If you want to be fair about it, just let the people of the Upper Peninsula vote on it. They are the one's affected by the wolves. I believe they would overwhelming approve of the wolf hunt. They have a lot better clue than some downstate anti hunting group.


Already tried that even their Senators Lie....


Regarding "allowing experts to make wildlife decisions": Two of Michigan's (and the nation's) top wolf biologists, who have dedicated decades of their lives to the study of wolves in the UP and Isle Royale, have voiced their opposition to the wolf hunt, but were ignored by the DNR and NRC. Also, out of the 7 (appointed by the Governor) members of the NRC that voted on the wolf issue, only one had a background in wildlife and conservation. That member voted against the wolf hunt. If true experts were allowed to decide on wildlife issues, there wouldn't have been a wolf hunt!


And that one member who voted against the wolf hunt resigned and was replaced by a crony of Russ Mason from out west, with ties to the ranching community. The NRC accepted an opinion of the President of Safari Club International, and Montana "expert" where they estimate wolf populations based on observations of hunters who want to kill them. The NRC did not use one piece of peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Now that the 2013 hunt is over, DNR is claiming 77% of the wolves killed were part of a pack involved in a past conflict but they had to go back 3 years! The is no evidence that a wolf killed in 2013 was responsible for a conflict that happened in 2010, 2011 or 2012 (if they were, it would have continued into 2013 - which it didn't). Prior to the hunt, livestock losses were down 80%.


Regarding "When it comes time to make decisions, we prefer using sound scientific research, not emotion": It is the pro wolf-hunting legislators, backed up by pro wolf-hunting groups, that have failed to use science to justify the killing of wolves and have played with peoples' emotions to push for their trophy hunt. Here's a clear example of that:
-The Michigan myth: How lawmakers turned this true wolf story into fiction (http://www.mlive.com/news/index....)
-Senator says his wolf story was untrue (http://www.grandhaventribune.com...)
-Michigan's wolf hunt: How half truths, falsehoods and one farmer distorted reasons for historic hunt (http://www.mlive.com/news/index....)

Yet another example of the use of manipulative tactics on the pro wolf-hunting side is that they are selling their new petition as "help protect our right to hunt, fish and trap in Michigan" when that right (declared a "valued part of the cultural heritage of this state" that "should be forever preserved" in SB 289, now Public Act 22 of 2013) is NOT at stake and is NOT even included in the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected referendums. To makes things worse, pro wolf-hunting groups have added appropriations to their petition to ensure Michigan voters will NOT have a say on wildlife protection issues ever again. Talking about an assault to Michigan voters' rights and wildlife using emotions and misleading information! I must clarify that not all hunters are participating in this shameful charade. There are truly ethical outdoors men that respect Nature and value democracy.


Looks like this article is simply propagating the pro-wolf hunting hype. The ballot petition drive by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected was executed by Michigan residents and the petitions were signed by registered Michigan voters. Don't see how that now turns into them requiring out-of-state help, after all, like it was mentioned above, if this goes through it will not affect the current petition drive or the previously successful one. That accounts for around a quarter of a million Michigan voters (twice) requesting a say in this issue. The MUCC has funding from plenty of national groups such as Plum Creek and National Wildlife Federation. They are the main proponents driving the request for wolf hunting so by this logic, that would mean that the MUCC wolf hunting agenda was driven by out-of-state interests. If you look at the DNR's report, they had to base the decision for the hunt from scientific input from Wisconsin and Minnesota scientists since the Michigan scientists were against opening a wolf hunting season. I think we need to take a step back and see which side is really driving legislation based one out-of-state support.


Last, but not least, in response to the "Two things that stand out about the lawsuit" pointed out in the editorial above:
1)Besides the over one quarter of a million of Michigan voters who supported the first Keep Michigan Wolves Protected referendum, plus the thousands that support the 2nd referendum as well, here are just a FEW of the Michigan groups, organizations and individuals that endorse and support the campaign to protect wolves.
The Indian Nations in the UP oppose the wolf hunt:
-"Michigan Indian Tribal Leaders Respond to Wolf Hunt Approval": (http://www.nativenewsnetwork.com...)
-"Into the Gray: Tribal vigil protests state-sanctioned wolf hunt" (http://www.cm-life.com/2013/11/1...)
-"On eve of Michigan's first wolf hunt, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe hosts vigil to honor animal called 'brother'" (http://www.mlive.com/news/sagina...)

Top wolf research scientists oppose the wolf hunt:
-"M...ichigan wolf hunt: Rolf Peterson, globally known wolf expert, argues a hunt is ill conceived" (http://www.mlive.com/news/index....)
-“Scientists testify against Michigan wolf harvest” (http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2...)
-“Wolf Hunt Podcast with John Vucetich” (https://soundcloud.com/great-lak...)

Local conservation groups oppose the wolf hunt:
-“Michigan's wolf hunt will do more harm than good” (http://www.mlive.com/opinion/jac...)
-Sierra Club’s testimony against SB 1350 (http://www.house.mi.gov/sessiond...)
-Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve supports Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaigns (http://www.yellowdogwatershed.or...)
-Detroit Audubon Society joins new petition drive to protect wolves (http://www.detroitaudubon.org/me...)

Local animal welfare groups oppose the wolf hunt:
-Michigan Humane Society, which actively participated as a member of the Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable, opposes SB 288 (http://www.michiganhumane.org/si...)
-Humane Society of Huron Valley endorses the "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" campaign (http://www.hshv.org/site/News2?p...)

Clearly, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected does NOT lack the support it needs in Michigan.

2)Allowing people from out of state to collect signatures, as is the intent of the lawsuit, does NOT mean that out-of-staters are making any decisions on our wildlife. After all, only Michigan registered voters are allowed to sign a referendum petition.


The Tribune contributors have it way wrong, I am circulating a petition around for "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" and so are many of my friends. This petition will allow us to put it on the ballot this fall so that Michigan residents can vote whether or not this is the right thing to do. What are some people afraid of, is this not a free Country where the people get to voice their opinion? We are Michigan residents and we are tired of a group of the Governors "picks" get to decide if the wolves live or die? The wolves were on the endangered list until recently, this should still be the case. The DNR was going to let trophy hunters kill the mourning doves until the people got it on the ballot and it was voted down. We are not out of State people, we are your local taxpayers who have had enough of the so called "scientists" from the DNR & Natural Resources Commission making wrong decisions.


It is very perplexing to hear that some U.P. residents believe those that live in the Lower Peninsula should have NO vote about OUR Michigan wildlife. First, the Michigan wildlife belongs to ALL Michigan residents, second we are ONE state and vote on ALL issues, why would this be different? We pay taxes and spend tourist dollars in the U.P. - do they also wish to STOP receiving our money?
Furthermore, as a volunteer for BOTH referendum issues for the wolves, we have worked closely with MANY U.P. volunteers, wildlife specialists, scientists, Native Americans, hunters, even farmers/ranchers that totally support the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign. So STOP suggesting ALL U.P. residents are AGAINST protecting the wolves!
Sound science points repeatedly to the importance of the wolf in the ecosystem.
Should we leave the "sound scientific" decisions to such experts from the U.P. as Senator Tom Casperson, who admitted he did NOT tell the truth on the Senate floor about the U.P. wolves? Or how about the DNR expert, Adam Bump who also admitted that he did NOT tell the truth about incidents related to the wolves in the U.P.? And then there is the honest working Koski rancher who has taken $200,000+ of our Michigan tax dollars FRAUDENTLY by claiming FALSE wolf attacks, pocketing money for fences that he never erected, taking donkeys that died in his care and is currently in court for animal cruelty charges for a 3rd donkey that was in HIS CARE - paid for with OUR tax dollars? Oh yes, these are ethical, trustworthy individuals that should decide the fate of all wolves in the state of Michigan. Wildlife that BELONGS to ALL Michigan residents...I don't think so!
Want to talk about OUT OF STATE interests? Well I am a Michigan resident, the 1/4 of a million registered voters that signed the wolf referendum the first time are ALL Michigan residents, and the Michigan residents that currently are signing the second referendum are ALL Michigan residents, SO that proves there are plenty of MI residents in support of putting this on the ballot for the people of Michigan to vote. However, the current law (Public Act 21) that we are working to repeal will take our voting rights AWAY from us regarding ALL Michigan wildlife. Out of state interests like the NRA, Rocky Mountain Elk group, International Safari Club, to name just a few are INDEED out of state interests along with the MN and WI groups that testified next to us in Lansing to our elected state representatives of Michigan...ALL of us Michigan residents/tax payers/voters....BUT these out of state groups were there testifying and nothing was said about them being OUT OF STATE. Interesting. They had plenty of influence in Lansing, BUT, our own State of MI experts, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, wolf scientists were ignored, along with THOUSANDS of public opinions sent to the NRC. AND we should trust the NRC? They admitted they tossed thousands of letters/emails from Michigan residents/tax payers that did not support a wolf hunt. Never even READ them!
NO THANK YOU! I do NOT trust the "experts" that you think should make decisions about OUR Michigan wildlife. I am a lifetime Michigan resident and taxpayer....I want to vote regarding OUR wildlife.
I do not trust the "experts" you are referring to. They have proven to us that they cannot be trusted.


Proponents of a wolf hunt love to trot out the word "emotional" when referring to people who care deeply about the war we are waging against our wildlife. I am one of thousands of kind souls who are collecting signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to decide whether we should trophy hunt our still recovering wolf population. I talked to thousands of MI voters, turns out the most emotional folks were hunters who swore, threatened and screamed at me that the wolves were killing THEIR deer. During one of these unsolicited outbursts, a young man who was signing my petition calmly pointed out to the visibly emotional hunter, "wolves take the weak, sick and dying, you're probably more interested in killing the trophy buck, which means the wolves are doing a much better job of keeping the deer population healthy than you are".

If having empathy, being a caring, compassionate, informed steward of our planet means I'm emotional, then I'm guilty as charged. Just because I don't want to kill every animal that walks, runs, fly's or swims doesn't mean you can dismiss me as being "emotional". We do our wildlife a huge disservice by being so quick to designate yet another animal to hunt just so a small (but vocal) minority of the population wants a new animal to kill.

This quote by Stephen Jay Gould (evolutionary biologist) should be a humbling reminder that being emotional is a wonderful quality to have.. "We cannot win this battle to save species & environment without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well - for we will not fight to save what we do not love."


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