Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill on Wednesday that will give the Natural Resources Commission greater authority when adding to Michigan's game species list.
Senate Bill 288, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson, passed the Senate and House of Representatives in April. It will give the NRC the ability to add animals to the game species list without legislative approval. Supporters of the bill used the wolf as an example of letting the NRC have greater control over game species in Michigan.
"This action helps ensure sound scientific and biological principles guide decisions about management of game in Michigan," said Governor Snyder. "Scientifically managed hunts are essential to successful wildlife management and bolstering abundant, healthy and thriving populations."
This bill could result in Michigan's first wolf hunting season since 1974. A wolf hunt in Michigan was proposed but was met with resistance after a group collected over 240,000 petition signatures to push the proposed hunt to a ballot issue. Senate Bill 288 will allow the NRC to go forward with a wolf hunt, despite the signatures gathered.
The NRC could decide in their meeting on Thursday whether to schedule a wolf hunt for this fall. Department of Natural Resources biologists recommended letting hunters take 43 wolves in three parts of the Upper Peninsula.
Additionally, the bill allows members of the military to obtain hunting and fishing licenses free of charge and eliminated a requirement that the military member be stationed outside of the State of Michigan.
Senate Bill 289 was also signed, which guarantees the legal right to hunt and fish in Michigan.
The bills are now identified as Public Acts 21 and 22 of 2013.