The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would designate the gray wolf as a game species, a possible step toward allowing hunters to kill them.
Senators approved the measure Thursday on a 23-15 vote. It now goes to the House, where a similar measure is pending.
Wolves have long been classified as an endangered species in Michigan. They were hunted to near-extinction in most of the lower 48 states until their placement on state and federal protection lists, which made it illegal to kill them.
The bill gives the Natural Resources Commission authority to decide whether to establish wolf hunting seasons.
Michigan is believed to have about 700 wolves. The neighboring states of Wisconsin and Minnesota began allowing hunts this fall.