HSUS Threatening More Ballot Referendums

You didn’t think they’d just go back to D.C., did you?

Michigan’s hunters, anglers and trappers won a big battle two weeks ago when Gov. Snyder signed Public Acts 21 and 22 of 2013 (SB 288 and 289), making hunting and fishing a right and allowing the Natural Resources Commission to designate game species using sound science, but the war is not over.

If we know one thing about the Humane Society of the United States, it’s this: They don’t accept defeat gracefully.

In 2004, HSUS tried to ban bear hunting in Maine using bait or trapping. Maine voters defeated it, and now HSUS is running an almost identical ballot initiative in Maine for the 2014 ballot. To understand the level of hypocrisy in doing this, remember that HSUS – which was behind the 2006 dove hunting ban here in Michigan – ran television ads claiming that SB 288 was trying to subvert the will of the voters who voted for that ban, even though the bill specifically excluded doves.

If the bear hunting ban HSUS is trying to run in Maine sounds familiar, it should. Anti-hunters funded by the Fund for Animals tried to ban bear hunting with hounds or bait in Michigan in 1996. The national director for the Fund for Animals at that time was Wayne Pacelle – the same Wayne Pacelle who is now executive director for HSUS. Michigan voters soundly rejected the antis in 1996 and instead adopted Proposal G, which mandated that game decisions be made by the Natural Resources Commission using sound science.

Now that we’ve fully implemented scientific wildlife management by passing SB 288, HSUS is threatening another referendum on that bill. HSUS’s front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), which is behind the moot referendum of the bill that designated wolves a game species, said this in an e-mail yesterday:

“We are looking at all options, and are considering another referendum campaign to place S.B. 288 on the ballot in November 2014.”

For context, keep in mind that KMWP paid California-based PCI Consultants more than $300,000 for signature collection in their wolf bill referendum, which would mean another referendum on SB 288 could run their expenses for paying people to collect signatures to over half a million. Further, we’ve heard that HSUS threatened to spend $3 million in negative ads against Governor Snyder for signing SB 288, in addition to the cost of the ads they already ran during primetime lying to people about SB 288 before it was signed.  That is one expensive temper tantrum!

Here’s the thing: HSUS has a lot of money because many people still think they’re somehow associated with their local humane society (they’re not). They use this money to attack hunting rights in states like Michigan, Maine, California and Colorado that allow out-of-state special interests to buy their way onto the ballot.

And they know that they have more money than state-based groups – like MUCC – which protect the rights to hunt, fish and trap in these states because they have a national fundraising base, many of whom think they’re donating to an animal shelter, not the largest anti-hunting organization in the country. The reason they’re going back into Maine to try a do-over of their 2004 defeat is that Maine hunting groups don’t have the financial backing they had in 2004 to fight it.

And now they’re poised to run two ballot referendums in Michigan to repeal the bill that makes sure they won’t be able to spend their way into overruling game decisions that we decided long ago should be made by biology, not politics.

There is something you can do, though. For one, if you haven’t already, write a letter to the editor of your local paper – or to Governor Snyder directly – thanking him for ensuring scientific wildlife management by signing SB 288. Second, if you haven’t already, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs to help us continue to protect the rights to hunt, fish and trap that we’ve fought so hard to earn.

HSUS isn’t going away, because they are committed to ending your rights to hunt, fish and trap, one species at a time, one state at a time. We have to be equally committed to defending those rights, or else we will lose them. It’s that simple.

  • Bruce Welnetz

    This article is not accurate – for one thing, initially doves could be designated as a game species – amendments were adopted to exclude doves. No one is taking away anyone’s right to hunt, fish or trap. There is no science to support a wolf hunting season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/youngedyke Drew YoungeDyke

      The HSUS claimed that the bill was about doves and an attempt to undo the 2006 vote. The fact that doves were removed proves that the bill was never about doves and that HSUS was making stuff up again, like that wolves would be hunted from helicopters.

      • Bruce Welnetz

        HSUS never claimed it was about doves! The original bill would have allowed doves to be hunted & that issue was exposed. All along, it was clear the purpose of this bill was to hunt wolves and take away the right of the people guaranteed by the state constitution – it isn’t over yet – The new proposal removes trapping of wolves.

        • Drew YoungeDyke

          “HSUS never claimed it was about doves” – you mean other than the TV ad and Pacelle’s blog?

          • Bruce Welnetz

            Doves were part of the first bill introduced (but even then it was clear that wolves were the target). We all know why doves were removed from the legislation, it is called political science.

          • Drew YoungeDyke

            The original bill didn’t reference any specific animal – doves, wolves, or otherwise – because it wasn’t about any one species. It’s about how we make wildlife decisions in this state – biology or ballot. Doves were removed as a compromise, as often happens in legislation, but that wouldn’t have been done if there was any specific intent to re-name doves in the first place, as was alleged by the HSUS ads.

          • Bruce Welnetz

            You have your head buried in the sand and you know what that leaves exposed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/john.caretti John Caretti


            The democracy principle is based on the concept of a fully-informed voter making a decision based on facts- not whoever can tell enough people a convincing lie to promote their cause wins. With the lies that the HSUS told people to get them to sign the petitions, they should have to start over. Would you like to hear what those lies were? Of course not- you already know them. But for anyone else reading this, here’s a few:

            HSUS Lie: “The wolf population in the UP is still recovering.”

            Fact: The US Fish and Wildlife Service agreed with the DNR that once the UP had a population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years they would be considered recovered and could be removed from the Endangered Species List. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/aboutwolves/r3wolfrec.htm Michigan met that 5 year goal in the Spring 2004. According to the “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected” website Michigan has 687 wolves.

            HSUS Lie: A “trophy hunt” would put the wolf population back at risk of becoming endangered.

            Fact: According to the DNR there are 658 wolves in Michigan not including this spring’s reproduction. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected says the population is even higher. The quota for Michigan’s Wolf Management Harvest is a maximum of 43 wolves. (<7% of the population). Science tells us that unless the take exceeds 30%, the wolf population will be stable or increasing. http://books.google.com/books?id=_mXHuSSbiGgC&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=human+caused+mortality+on+wolves+population+reduction&source=bl&ots=cOg0-plVh3&sig=dPj2Q7Lmg4E-ffGEvdm-fcn9JBQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6EWtUcb9C6qoyAGLpIGQAw&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=human%20caused%20mortality%20on%20wolves%20population%20reduction&f=false

            HSUS Lie: Allowing a wolf management harvest could have people shooting them out of helicopters.

            Fact: Hunting out of any vehicle is illegal in Michigan unless the hunter is physically disabled. In that instance the vehicle must be stopped prior to a firearm being loaded.

            HSUS Lie: If trapping is allowed the wolves will suffer in cruel traps for days.

            Fact: The rules passed by the NRC required that traps be checked daily and that hunters or trappers would have to check a phone number (also daily) to ensure the season hadn't been closed. Also, the foothold traps used by trappers to take wolves are the same ones the DNR and USF&WS use to capture wolves for radio-collaring, DNA sampling and relocation. If the traps caused injury- these scientists would not be using them to capture wolves they plan to release back into the wild.

            The real questions are:

            1. Do we trust our wildlife professionals to manage our wildlife (including wolves) like we have since 1996 or do we allow out-of-state animal rights activists to tell us how to do it?

            2. Should the people in the Lower Peninsula (or California or Vermont) decide what the people in the UP should have to deal with? If we had wolves in the Detroit Area, Lansing, and Grand Rapids, then perhaps a statewide vote makes sense. But we don't. Support for active wolf management is pervasive in the UP. Both Peninsula's agree wolves have value, but 55% of UP residents indicated that they would purchase a wolf hunting license if given a chance. BTW I live in Warren.

            3. Is it better to spend general tax dollars to manage wolves, or should wolf hunting license sales help cover the cost and the money saved be used for schools, roads, or other programs that provide for the benefit of the general public?


          • Bruce Welnetz

            John, you are confusing facts. There is a big difference between delisting goals and sustainable populations. Wolves have not yet reached the biological carrying capacity. You are correct, the first release from HSUS did mention helicopters because it is permitted in other states, however, the error was caught and aerial shooting was removed from all releases. Please name one species with a population of 658 animals that allows for hunting 43 of them. I looked but could not find one – even elk with their limited habitat are managed at a population of about 900. Yes, I trust wildlife managers, however, wildlife managers are not calling the shots – in the case of wolves, it is being done by political appointees! Wolves belong to all MI residents. I live in the U.P. It is a constitutional right for citizens of MI to challenge legislation. The sale of hunting licenses will not be profitable. DNR has stated that the cost to manage the hunt will exceed the revenue – small population, risk of overharvest, still within the 5 yr period for federal oversight, need to monitor for disease, need 24 hr call in & need registration. Perhaps the license fee should be raised to $500.

          • Drew YoungeDyke

            “they caught the error”? No, they got caught in a lie and we called them on it, but not before they gave those “fact sheets” to their volunteers and paid signature gatherers. There was no basis for any of their claims about methods because in other states, legislatures decide hunting methods. In our state, those decisions are made by the NRC under its sound science mandate. And since you still don’t understand the process, I’ll repeat it, again. The wildlife biologists make recommendations based on sound science to the NRC, which the NRC uses in making its decisions. HSUS was using the “talking points” that their pre-referendum polling told them would resonate best for them among the non-hunting voters of SE Michigan. They admitted that at their kickoff meeting in Ann Arbor. Words like “aerial gunning,” “trophy,” “packs of dogs,” and “snaring,” polled for their side among non-hunters, so they used them without any basis in Michigan conservation policy. Frankly, they weren’t familiar enough with hunting and fishing regulations to make an informed guess as to what regulations would look like, they were just spouting off whatever they thought they could get away with and stopped repeating one of their lies only after we caught them.

          • Bruce Welnetz

            I will tell you again, Drew. This time a little slower so you can understand. But, I suspect, you rather live in a fantasy world than reality. Biologists do not make the recommendations. People like Russ Mason and other political appointees call the shots, and tell the biologists to come up with any science to back the decisions which are then sent to the politically appointed NRC. Got it now? Read the order, it says “may” and “could”, where is the science, please share, I must have missed it. Talk about lies. Did you catch the one about people in Ironwood pounding on glass doors or the one about the dog killed while in a fenced in area? Those lies were promoted by DNR!

          • Drew YoungeDyke

            You’re hanging your conspiracy theory on “may” and “could?” Seriously?

          • Reality22

            Thanks John for getting the word out…. The international environmental organization IUCN lists wolves and Grizzlies as species of “Least Concern” Yet, groups like DOW and HSUS pimp wolves in order to get their “donate now” button pressed. It is disgusting that 75 to 80% of our endangered species resources are spent on JUST two non-endangered animals. Keep up the good fight!

  • Rork1

    ” to repeal the bill that makes sure they won’t be able to spend their way into overruling game decisions”
    It makes those game decisions immune to repeal, and author is spinning that a good thing.

    Is it in conflict with the democracy principal of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation or not?
    Do you agree with that principal?

    • Rork1

      I got my principles switched a bit myself.

    • Drew YoungeDyke

      “Democratic Rule of Law:
      Hunting and fishing laws are created through the public process where everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to develop systems of wildlife conservation and use.” The NRC does use a public process – all meetings are open to the public, they publish their agenda ahead of time, and they take public testimony and comments at every meeting.

      What SB 288 and 289 also ensure are the NAMWC tenants of Public Trust: “In North American, natural resources and wildlife on public lands are managed by government agencies to ensure that current and future generations always have wildlife and wild places to enjoy;” Hunting Opportunity for All: “Every citizen has an opportunity, under the law, to hunt and fish in the United States and Canada;” Non-Frivolous Use: “In North America, individuals may legally kill certain wild animals under strict guidelines for food and fur, self-defense and property protection;” and Scientific Management: “Sound science is essential to managing and sustaining North America’s wildlife and habitats.”

  • Reality22

    Wolf pimps such as you typically fall into one OR MORE of the following categories:

    The ones that benefit from a “Donate Now” button being pressed or a book they have written.

    The ones that are on the Government dole and benefit from the increase tax dollars being spent cleaning up after these vermin or additional funding for studies.

    The ones that benefit from the gross amount of tax dollars being spent on litigation like EAJA dollars we spend on rich environmental lawyers.

    Or, the ones that have a bigoted hate for sportsman, ranchers and/or farmers.

    The HSUS hits all four categories!

    Wayne Pacelle. “Our goal is to get sport hunting in
    the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting” as quoted in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, October 8, 1991.

    Wayne Pacelle, as quoted by the Associated Press in Impassioned Agitator, December 30, 1991 “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.”
    Wolves and Grizzlies waste up to 80% of all Endangered Species resources……Both animals are listed as species of “least concern” by the international environmental organization IUCN…… yet, guys like Wayne continue to pimp the animal because they get the “Donate now” button pressed. 2300 Domestic animals have been maimed and killed by WOLVES since their return to the states of MI & WI……. do they really care about animals?