In a move that sends a powerful message to anti-hunting groups across the country, the Michigan House yesterday approved a citizen-initiated law that gives sole authority on decisions related to Michigan fishing and gaming to the state’s Natural Resource Commission (NRC).
The Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA) overrides two ballot issues set to appear on Michigan’s November ballot that were introduced by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The ballot issues were an attempt by HSUS to ban the hunting of wolves in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
In the face of yet another challenge from the D.C.-based animal rights group, Michigan’s sportsmen community did not back down. Groups including Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and many others contributed to the creation of this new legislation meant to combat the nonsensical initiatives pushed by HSUS.
The move by the Michigan state legislature to subvert HSUS’s latest attempt to restrict hunting rights garnered strong support from Michigan citizens. The petition to send the bill to the Legislature received over 297,000 signatures, far and away more than HSUS and its front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, received for either of their initiatives.
While the hunting ban proponents relied on their typical animal rights messaging, the support for SFWCA was based on scientific research from state animal biologists, a need to be protected from a potentially dangerous species whose population has increased over the past few decades, and common sense reasoning that a ban on wolf hunting is harmful to citizens as well as the state’s economy.
The intent of the organizations and individuals who support Michigan wolf hunting is not a malicious one. They simply understand that properly regulated wolf hunting protects property, people, and Michigan’s ecological balance. That is why the limits have been maintained at a modest total, 43 in 2013 for example.
Hunting has been one of our nation’s most longstanding traditions. It provides a vast number of jobs and produces millions of dollars that stimulate the economy and fund conservation initiatives across the country. It’s important to remember that wildlife management programs based on science don’t just help protect jobs and property, but they ensure that animals are protected and the proper ecological balance is maintained in wildlife habitats across the country.
That has been the case in Michigan until recently. The wolf population has seen tremendous growth, which spurred the initial decision to remove them from the endangered species list, there. Wolves have been known to be especially aggressive towards cattle, hounds, and various other animals. Attacks on humans have been rare, but such occurrences cannot be ruled out when dealing with an aggressive species like the wolf that must compete with other predators to feed themselves and their offspring.
HSUS’s primary objective in attempting these ballot initiatives all over the United States is to inch closer to their goal of an all-out ban on hunting. With every defeat of these proposals, they lose public support, funding and the ear of public officials. More people begin to see them for their hypocrisy and extremism every single day. Their reputation, which is based on a false image of caring individuals that only seek to help animals, slowly erodes as the reality of their money-hungry ways becomes more apparent.
Never forget this important fact about radical special interest groups: They care more about their radical agenda than who or what may be negatively impacted by it if they succeed. Whether they win or lose, the consequences of their actions don’t affect them; they only affect the citizens of the state they force their agendas on. States, cities, counties and their residents — all just pieces in their giant chess game.
But that is not what’s important here. The important takeaway from the passage of the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act is that sportsmen are an important voice in our society. Like their counterparts across the country, Michigan sportsmen contribute greatly to their state’s quality of life, economy, and conservation efforts. Their victory in Michigan deals yet another blow to HSUS’s legislative agenda and sets an important precedent to secure Michigan conservation efforts that are based on facts and science, while preserving the rights and heritage of sportsmen throughout the state.
Congratulations to Michigan’s sportsmen and its citizens.