Score one for the good guys. This week, Michigan’s Governor signed into law Senate Bills 288 and 289. Widely misunderstood and mischaracterized as the wolf hunting bills, the measures extend the Natural Resources Commission’s (NRC) authority and sound science mandate to list game species (the legislature retains this authority as well) and reiterates the legislature’s exclusive authority to remove them. The bill also provides for free licenses for active-duty members of the military.
Score one for the good guys. Not because this means that a season can move forward for wolves, but because we will be reaffirming the need to have science be the key consideration when managing our states natural resources, not the ballot box (or $$$ brought to bear by outside groups). And of course, there’s the welcome change that our active-duty military heroes will now be able to hunt for free.
Since 1996 and the passage of Proposal G, the Natural Resources Commission has had the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game in Michigan. As part of that authority, they are mandated to use principles of sound scientific management in making decisions regarding the taking of such game. SB 288 is a logical extension of that authority. Rather than leaving game decisions up to the political powers that be or to the political winds within the non-profit community, the voters decided (by an overwhelming 2/3 majority) that these decisions should be left up to science.
Some may not like the thought that their “vote” may not be heard on the issue…but the process is stronger rooted in science. Peer reviews, scientific integrity (when’s the last time you heard the words “political” and “integrity” in the same sentence), adaptive management, and collaborations between research institutions, management authorities, and citizen groups are all safeguards and stabilizers that mold the process of game management. The ballot box has no place in that world.
Score one for the good guys.