Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Submits Petitions for Second Referendum to Protect Wolves and Restore Voter Rights

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted more than 229,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office to place a second referendum on the November 4 ballot that would protect wolves and restore the right of Michigan voters to weigh in on critical wildlife issues. Michigan voters from all 83 counties have signed petitions on two ballot referendums expressing their support for the protection of Michigan’s fledging wolf population and displeasure with the Legislature’s approval of wolf hunting and taking their voting rights away. The signatures surpass the 161,305 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

“Our message is clear - vote ‘no’ on both ballot measures to stop the needless wolf hunt and stop this abuse of power by the legislature,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “State legislators relied on exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf incidents in authorizing a hunt on the state’s small population of wolves. Their treatment of voters is unacceptable, and the whole cooked-up case against wolves amounts to a power grab by special interests working through politicians and unelected political appointees.”

The signatures were submitted after the group held a press conference at the capitol. Fritz was joined by Nancy Warren, Great Lakes director of the National Wolf Watcher Coalition; Dr. James N. Bull, president of the Detroit Audubon Society; Aaron Winters, executive director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society; and John Coupe, a hunter and Upper Peninsula landowner.

Last March, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted more than 255,000 signatures to overturn a wolf-hunting law (Public Act 520 of 2012) that was approved during the 2012 lame duck session and based on fabricated stories about wolf incidents in the U.P. Public Act 520 will be on the 2014 ballot, and should be rejected with a “no” vote. The Legislature, ignoring the people, then passed a second law (Public Act 21 of 2013) to permit a wolf hunt and to give the political appointees on the Natural Resources Commission the power to choose game species. Public Act 21 will also be on the 2014 ballot, and should be rejected with a “no” vote.

The summary at the top of the petition reads: “A petition for a referendum election to reject Public Act 21 of 2013, which authorizes the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, whose members are appointed by the Governor, to designate animals, such as wolves, as game species.” The Board of State Canvassers has 60 days, with an option of 15 additional days, to determine if the petitions contain 161,305 valid voters’ signatures. If so, Public Act 21 of 2013 will be suspended pending the outcome of the November 2014 vote.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is supported by humane organizations, more than 100 Michigan veterinarians and veterinary hospitals, Native American tribes, conservation groups, faith-based organizations, the Detroit Zoological Society, leading wolf biologists including Michigan Tech professors Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, rank-and-file hunters, and many other concerned Michiganders. Learn more about our coalition at

Michigan’s first wolf trophy hunting season started in late 2013, authorized by legislation based on falsehoods and tall tales about marauding wolves, and resulted in 23 wolves killed out of a statewide population of about 650 wolves.

In an investigative series, ( revealed that false or incomplete data was used to justify the need for a wolf hunt. Lawmakers embellished details of a wolf sighting outside an Upper Peninsula daycare to create an incident that never occurred; the Department of Natural Resources’ furbearer specialist fabricated a story in a radio interview about wolves threatening people outside their homes; the U.P. farmer who reported more than 60 percent of wolf-livestock incidents over the past three years baited wolves using deer and cattle carcasses in violation of state law, and has now been charged with animal neglect; and the Natural Resources Commission asked for public input about the wolf hunt and then deleted or ignored more than 10,000 email comments on the subject.

It is the goal of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected to preserve the longstanding Michigan prohibition on the trophy hunting of this iconic species. After nearly 50 years on the protected list, wolves in Michigan are only now starting to recover.

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Press Releases: Dec 14, 2016

In the 2014 general election, Michigan voters soundly rejected two referendums on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s small population of wolves. But now, the Michigan legislature has rushed through another bill, SB 1187, to once again designate wolves as a game species to be hunted and trapped—in spite of that public rejection of an almost identical measure at the ballot box just two years ago...


Keep Wolves Protected is endorsed by a number of organizations and citizens including:

  • Kalamazoo Humane Society
  • Pamela Graves, DVM
  • Detroit Audubon Society
  • Michigan Animal Shelter Rescue Network
  • Aaron Payment, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Voiceless-MI
  • Humane Society of Huron Valley
  • Detroit Zoological Society


All Endorsements