To the Journal editor:
I take issue with how John Hongisto represented the facts in his letter to the editor on Feb. 11 about the Michigan Wolf Roundtable.
Both he and I served on the roundtable, which consisted of individuals representing a broad range of organizations, including U.P. Whitetails Association, Michigan Farm Bureau, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Safari Club, MUCC, Timber Wolf Alliance, Michigan Humane Society and the U.P. Sportsmen Alliance represented by Mr. Hongisto.
Utilizing extensive scientific data as well as the results of attitude surveys received from both Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula residents, the Roundtable developed a set of principles to guide wolf management in Michigan.
Each issue decided by the roundtable was made through consensus. We only accepted the harvest of wolves by licensed hunters and trappers as a possible tool to reduce wolf-related conflicts under specific conditions.
Not one of the 20 groups represented got everything they wanted and everyone, including Mr. Hongisto, signed the document presented to the Michigan DNR. Now, because he wants a recreational wolf hunting/trapping season, he claims, “the DNR stacked the deck” and “this politically motivated rule resulted in a deeply flawed wolf management plan.”
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources convened the Wolf Forum, now known as the Wolf Management Advisory Council in 2011. Some of the same organizations that served on the poundtable, including the U.P. Sportsmen Alliance, serve as a wolf management advisory group to discuss management goals, educational opportunities, conflict resolutions and a potential hunting season to address conflicts.
I believe Mr. Hongisto was incorrect when he implied that the DNR must establish a wolf hunting season. Public Act 520 designated the wolf a game animal and authorized the Natural Resource Commission to establish a wolf hunting season.
However, legislators cannot mandate a wolf hunting season, the NRC has the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and their role is clear, to the greatest extent practicable, they must utilize principles of sound scientific management in making decisions.