LANSING, Mich., May 8 (UPI) -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Wednesday signed a bill that short-circuited activists' efforts to get a ban on hunting wolves placed on the ballot.
The measure Snyder signed allows the state Natural Resources Commission to vote on whether to hold a wolf hunting season this fall, the Detroit Free Press reported. The commission is to meet Thursday.
"This action helps ensure sound scientific and biological principles guide decisions about management of game in Michigan," Snyder said in a statement after the bill-signing. "Scientifically managed hunts are essential to successful wildlife management and bolstering abundant, healthy and thriving populations."
The Legislature designated the gray wolf as a game species in December, authorizing natural resources commissioners to schedule a hunting season.
That triggered a petition-gathering effort that resulted in more than 250,000 signatures being delivered to the secretary of state in hopes of getting a hunting ban on the ballot in November, the newspaper said.
But the bill Snyder signed takes precedence, rendering the petitions just piles of paper and rankling animal-rights groups, the Free Press said.
The Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a recommendation from the Department of Natural Resources to set a hunt for 43 of the animals this fall.
Michigan's gray wolf population has grown from six in 1973 to 658 today, mostly in the Upper Peninsula. Minnesota and Wisconsin initiated wolf hunts this past year.