Many are aware that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is challenging the way Michigan manages its fish and wildlife. In fact it is seeking to get that issue, veiled in wolf hunting, before Michigan voters this fall. Fortunately Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM) was formed to help ensure that wildlife management remains based on sound science, and with professionals. Ducks Unlimited joined in the effort through staff, volunteers and members, and there is much more to do before the fall.
The first challenge for CPWM was to secure and submit the required 258,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office, ensuring that legislation that guarantees future wildlife management will be handled by Michigan conservation professionals. CPWM efforts, with DU's support, resulted in more than 374,000 signatures being submitted, and the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA), will be placed in front of Michigan legislators for passage before this fall's election. DU staff and volunteers showed great commitment, collecting signatures at more than 15 events and major outdoor shows, Cabela's, Bass Pro and other venues. This was a great outpouring of effort, a big "Thank You" to all who helped out!
After the petitions are approved by the board of state canvassers, the legislature has 40 days to make the SFWCA a law. Every DU member and supporter should contact their state senator and representative and ask them to vote YES on the SFWCA. There is only a small window of opportunity to act; the legislature will vote on August 13.
If the legislature doesn't vote in favor of the act as written, it will automatically go on to November's ballot, head to head with the HSUS ballot initiatives. If things get to this point, the challenges will be substantial as we will be forced to battle outside monies that are substantially more than CPWM can predictably generate. The HSUS is currently spending millions of dollars to combat professional wildlife management – attempting to stop hunting and fishing via the ballot box. We must not let that happen!
The SFWCA will ensure that management of our wildlife remains in the hands of professionals at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resource Commission, and will provide free hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses for all of Michigan's active duty service personnel. In addition SFWCA includes a one million dollar appropriation to fight invasive aquatic species such as Asian carp which threaten Michigan waters.
This is why everyone should contact their state representatives and senators for their support on the vote on August 13. It is essential that we make a concerted effort to talk, email, visit, or write Michigan legislators now and throughout the summer.
If you need information on how to contact your legislators or on the legislation, please contact Steve Wyckoff at 616-248-3151 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Aaron Morehead, Kassy Hendricks, or Gildo Tori at the Great Lakes/Atlantic regional office. Thank you!