Over 297,000 Michigan voter signed petition to base wildlife decisions on sound science.

LANSING (August 13, 2014)—The Michigan Senate passed the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act on August 13, a citizen initiative brought to the Legislature by the signatures of almost 300,000 registered Michigan voters led by the Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, a coalition of conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping organizations.

“This is a significant step that recognizes the efforts of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters to ensure that sound science is the deciding factor in fish and wildlife conservation decisions,” said Matt Evans, legislative affairs manager for Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “Today, the Senate listened to the will of almost 300,000 of their constituents who exercised their constitutional right to propose legislation to their democratically-elected representatives.”

On July 24, The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified over 297,000 signatures of registered Michigan voters to place the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act before the Legislature. The act would share the authority for naming game species between the Legislature and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), which is required to use sound science in its game decisions. The act also grants the NRC the authority to issue fisheries order, under the same sound science mandate, protects those fisheries with a $1 million rapid response fund for aquatic invasive species, and preserves free hunting and fishing licenses for active military members.

The act also defeats two referendums sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, which is seeking to prevent a regulated hunting season on wolves in certain areas of the Upper Peninsula with high rates of livestock and pet depredation. In the past few weeks, five dogs have been killed by wolves in the Upper Peninsula. The Humane Society of the United States, which recently had its charity rating stripped by Charity Navigator, is also sponsoring anti-hunting initiatives in Maine and at the federal level.

The Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives, which passed a similar measure last summer on a bipartisan basis. Michigan House Representatives have the opportunity to vote on this Act Wednesday, August 27. Please contact your elected state rep and urge them to vote for the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act!

Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management is a coalition of conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping groups and individuals including the Michigan chapters of Safari Club International, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance, U.P. Whitetails, Inc., the U.P. Bear Houndsmen, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The act has also received the endorsement of the National Wildlife Federation, the Michigan Salmon and Steelheader Fishermen’s Association, Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation, The Bass Federation of Michigan, the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association, the Lake St. Clair chapter of Muskies, Inc., and numerous local conservation groups throughout Michigan.

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