Petition Raises Legal Questions about Michigan’s Wolf Hunt

NRC called on to rescind wolf game species order because of false claims

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted a legal petition to Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission demanding that it rescind its order that added wolves to the list of game species, which led to Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades. The petition states that the NRC’s decisions on the wolf hunt were based “on false, deceptive and exaggerated claims--not on principles of sound scientific management as required by law.”

In light of Upper Peninsula farmer John Koski’s recent no-contest plea agreement on charges that he neglected and starved animals given to him by the DNR to deter predators, the petition asks the NRC to permanently remove his farm’s numbers from the overall statistical analysis of wolf/livestock conflicts in the region.  When Koski’s wolf depredation statistics are removed from that evaluation, the actual amount of cattle losses to wolves in the U.P. averages fewer than four per year between 2006 and 2012.  

The NRC designated the wolf a game species on July 11, 2013, claiming a hunt was needed to address wolf conflicts with livestock and complaints about proximity to humans.

“Evidence demonstrates that the NRC unlawfully declared the wolf a game species based on Koski’s skewed statistics and other misinformation,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “The NRC should re-examine and rescind its order adding the wolf to the list of game species and authorizing a hunting season on wolves.”

In addition to the state’s poor handling of the Koski situation, the petition charges the NRC with:

·         Basing its decision on two high-profile claims of wolf-human encounters that never occurred;

·         Violating provisions of the Michigan Wolf Management Plan that call for the “presentation of accurate, unbiased information” to help resolve wolf-related conflicts;

·         Violating the NRC’s legal obligation to involve interested members of the public in decision-making by deleting more than 2,000 email comments on the subject of the wolf hunt, and never opening more than 10,000 others.

In the waning days of the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill to allow the trophy hunting of wolves. In response, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected collected more than 255,000 signatures to correct this mistake and place the wolf hunting law on the statewide ballot. The Legislature then passed a second law to give the power of game species designation to the unelected, politically-appointed Natural Resources Commission, making an end run around the voter referendum because the commission’s decisions are not subject to any voter referendum.

Last August, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected launched a second petition drive to overturn that second law, and on March 13, 2014, turned in another 229,000 signatures from voters in all 83 counties. Those petition signatures have just been certified to place the second referendum on the November 4 ballot.

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


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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