Illinois state Rep. Deborah Mell, D-Chicago, quietly made Illinois history last week.
Animal welfare activists have protested in vain the past couple of years as the federal government dropped the gray wolf from its endangered species list and legislatures in five states, including Wisconsin, now allow hunters to shoot the animals. In Michigan, they’re trying a new tactic: taking their case directly to the voters.
Lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder approved a bill in December that designated the wolf as a game animal – a first step toward allowing hunts. The Natural Resources Commission, a panel appointed by the governor that regulates hunting, fishing and trapping, has the final say. The commission could schedule a hunt as early as this fall in the rural, woodsy Upper Peninsula, where the wolf population is estimated at around 700.