Advocates want statewide vote on wolf hunting

Petition signatures are being gathered seeking a statewide referendum

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A pack of gray wolves in Isle Royale National Park in northern Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Animal welfare activists and Indian tribes are gathering petition signatures seeking a statewide referendum on whether to allow wolf hunting in Michigan.

The Legislature in December designated the wolf as a game animal, a first step toward establishing a hunting season. The final decision will be made by the Natural Resources Commission, which is expecting a recommendation from state wildlife biologists this spring.

Opposition groups say it's too early to start hunting Michigan wolves, which were removed from the federal endangered species list only a year ago. They say state officials seem more interested in pleasing hunters than making a decision based on science.

Sporting groups contend the proposed referendum is being pushed by extremist groups from out of state.

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