Wolf Management Legislation Introduced

Congressman Dan Benishek introduced H.R. 3453, the “State Management of Recovered Wolves Act,” in Washington Thursday. The bill will allow states to manage wolf populations in the Great Lakes region.

“After hearing from concerned constituents, farmers, and sportsmen, I have become deeply troubled by the threat wolves pose to First District residents. I see this legislation as an avenue to give Michigan the necessary tools to responsibly address the rising wolf population in our area,” said Benishek, a lifelong resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and avid sportsman.

Benishek stated that the bill would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits to states for conducting lethal and non-lethal control of wolves where the animals are still federally listed as endangered but their population numbers exceed federal recovery goals. Eligible states would include Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Benishek, who serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources, noted that a recent study by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicated a minimum of 687 wolves in Northern Michigan. The goal for wolf recovery in Michigan was slated at 200 wolves.

“I have received letters from families whose pets have been killed in their own backyard by wolves. Hunters in my District feel threatened as they have no recourse against the animals. It worries me that many of my constituents can’t enjoy the outdoors due to an out-of-whack wolf population,” stated Benishek at an October 19, 2011 Congressional hearing on how science is used in policy decisions that are made under the ESA.