Citizens group promoting petitions aimed against anti-hunting efforts

REED CITY  — Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management has been appealing to local sportsmen to sign a petition to present to the state legislature regarding key pro-hunting and fishing issues.

Jane Finnerty, a regional vice president for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) was at the recent Pere Marquette Wild Turkey Hunters Rendezvous at Baldwin, seeking signatures for a petition to reaffirm the Natural Resource Commission’s authority to designate game species using sound science.

The petition also seeks to have the legislature maintain free hunting and fishing licenses for active military members and to appropriate $1 million for rapid responses in case the invasive Asian carp are confirmed in Michigan’s Great Lakes waters.

The group needs to get approximately 258,000 signatures in 180 days to present to the legislature for approval.

“We would like 300,000 to account for mistakes,” Finnerty said. “This will go to the legislature, they would pass it and it basically reaffirms Public Act 21, that was passed last year that gives NRC the sole authority to name a game species in Michigan. A game species is anything we can hunt.”

The petition drive has been a response to anti-wolf hunting efforts by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The petition has to go to the legislature by May 28.

“They have 40 days to pass it after that,” Finnerty said, while expecting to reach the necessary number of signatures. “We are well on our way. We’re very confident.”

Finnerty said two ballot initiatives are set for the November ballot, one would be to stop wolf hunting and the other is to overturn Act 21.

“By taking this to the legislature, we’re going to affirm Act 21 with an appropriation so they can’t do a referendum on it,” she said. “Michigan is this focus, but they are in other states. They’re attacking bear hunting in Maine. There are two or three different states being targeted for anti-hunting proposals. We’re just one of the groups and we’re going to make sure they don’t come back.”

The citizens group said the initiative is to make sure decisions on the fish and wildlife resources in the state are based on biology. Finnerty said persons wanting to participate in this petition drive can do so on the Professional Wildlife Management website at citizenswildlife.org during the process.